July is Cord Blood Awareness Month and International Group B Strep Awareness Month

07.14.2017 | By Jeannie Peng Mansyur

San Jacinto College nursing professor offers advice on the topics that relate to labor and delivery

PASADENA, Texas – The month of July highlights Cord Blood Awareness and International Group B Strep Awareness, two health topics that relate to new mothers and their babies.

Group B Strep, found in 25 percent of all adult women, and cord blood collection and storage are labor and delivery topics often left undiscussed during the excitement of welcoming a new life into the world.

Diana Seekely, nursing professor at San Jacinto College, has worked as a registered nurse since 1996. During that time, she spent 10 years working as a labor and delivery nurse. She holds a master’s degree in nursing, specializing in education.

Seekely provided the following information and advice on July’s Cord Blood Awareness Month and International Group B Strep Awareness Month.

International Group B Strep Awareness Month

What is Group B strep?
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a naturally occurring type of bacterial infection that can be found in pregnant women and is a different type of bacterial infection than Group A streptococcus.

What are the symptoms?
The GBS bacteria can be found in about 25 percent of all healthy, adult women. It is not a sexually transmitted disease. Most women will not have any symptoms of the GBS bacteria, which can be passed to the baby during delivery. GBS affects about one in every 2,000 babies born in the United States. 

How is it detected?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all pregnant women go through routine screening for GBS. This test is done between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy and is performed in the physician’s/midwife’s office.

How is it treated?
If the pregnant woman is positive for GBS, she will receive IV antibiotics during labor. If she is not treated during labor with antibiotics, her newborn may develop signs and symptoms after birth.

More information can be found at www.groupbstrepinternational.org.

Cord Blood Awareness Month

What is cord blood?
Cord blood is part of the blood in the baby’s umbilical cord.  The cord contains stem cells that can grow into viable tissue to be used in the future. It can be collected at birth and stored for future use if the need arises.

Why is cord blood stored?
One of the benefits of storing cord blood is that cord blood is a rich source of blood stem cells.  These cells can be used to repair tissues, organs and blood vessels.  One instance of possible use for cord blood would be if the newborn develops leukemia later in life, the physicians can use the cord blood that was stored to help treat the current disease.

How is cord blood collected and stored?
The cord blood collection and storing needs to be decided well in advance of delivery of the newborn. The future parents need to contact a blood storing company during pregnancy so the company can communicate with the future parents the process of collection and storing the cord blood. 

The procedure for collecting cord blood is very simple. After the newborn is delivered, the cord is clamped and cut to free the newborn from the placenta. This is when the physician or midwife will collect cord blood from the detached placenta to be sent off to the storage blood bank.

What additional information do parents need to know about the collecting and storing of cord blood?
Storing cord blood is operated by private companies which charge a processing fee, annual storage fee and courier transport fee. Before a woman delivers the newborn, she will receive a cord blood kit to be taken to the hospital with them during labor. There are additional costs that include transport fees and annual storage fees.

More information can be found at www.savethecordfoundation.org.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.