How Dangerous Is Strep Throat During Pregnancy?

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Strep Throat During Pregnancy

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by streptococcal (strep) bacteria affecting throat and the tonsils. The throat gets irritated and inflamed, causing a sudden, severe sore throat. Some cause more serious illness than others. Allergies and other infections can easily cause inflammation and irritation that may lead to sore throat. A sore throat is always misled as a strep throat. If sore throat is accompanied with fever consult a doctor immediately. A “strep test” is generally conducted to determine whether it is a strep infection or not. Sometimes sore throat may be accompanied by sneezing and running nose which may due to bacterial infection which is different from strep throat.


Strep Throat versus Group B

Group B streptococcus is a type of infection which affects the vaginal or rectal area that allows the mother to pass the baby during delivery. Mostly women, whose pregnancy is between the 35th and 37th week are affected by this infection.

It is a common infection usually not passed to the child. Group B streptococcus is not related to the bacteria that causes strep throat. So if you get affected by about strep throat, there are less chance to get affected by Group B.

Symptoms of strep throat during pregnancy

Symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Headache
  • The white spots in the throat or tonsils
  • Weakness and fatigue, lack of energy
  • Difficulty while eating and swallowing
  • Swelling around the neck
  • Inflammation of the throat
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough, nausea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Abdominal pain

Treating Strep Throat During Pregnancy

Strep throat is treated using antibiotics in order to kill the bacteria causing the infection. The common antibiotics used are cephalexin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Overdose of antibiotics can be harmful to both mother and the baby and insufficient intake of antibiotics may lead to recurrent infections.


Cephalexin, included in the pregnancy category B, does not impair fertility or cause harm to the fetus. Cephalexin cross the placenta and get distributed to fetal tissues and must be used only if needed.

Penicillin, included in pregnancy category B has shown no negative impact on pregnancy in women free of penicillin allergy. Diarrhea is a common side effect with antibiotic usage. If diarrhea appears to contain blood or lasts for more than a few days, it is required to contact the physician as this could be a sign of an allergy to penicillin. Penicillin passes into breast milk in small amounts and there are no negative side effects reported so far.

Amoxicillin, assigned to pregnancy category B has no adverse fetal effects reported so far. And it is only recommended during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk.

Strep throat and Home Remedies

It is always better to try home remedies for managing strep throat and to relieve the symptoms during pregnancy. Moderate quantity of paracetamol is considered safe during pregnancy and is widely used as an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). However, avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen as they are considered to be not safe during pregnancy.


Gargling with warm salt water and adding a pinch of turmeric to hot water relieves the symptoms of sore throat during pregnancy. Caffeine free herbal teas such as green tea, chamomile tea, lemon tea with cinnamon, may work as natural painkillers and help to reduce the soreness of the throat.

Preventing Strep Throat While Pregnant

Stay hydrated and wash regularly as it reduces the risk of infections during pregnancy. However take necessary measures to prevent throat infections during pregnancy.