Northwick Park will be the first hospital trust in the country to pilot a test that could save babies from potentially life threatening conditions picked up during delivery.
Group B strep (GBS) is a bacterial infection babies can catch from their mother during childbirth and can lead to complications like pneumonia, meningitis, or sepsis.
The hospital is one of 80 NHS sites to take part in the 12 month national trial which will involve more than a quarter-of-a-million pregnant women.
One-in-four women carry GBS in their gut and/or genital tract and will be offered a swab test 3-5 weeks before their due date.
A positive result will be flagged in their medical notes with midwives offering to administer an antibiotic which greatly reduces the risk of passing the infection to the baby during delivery.
GBS screening is routinely used in other countries but the National Institute for Health Research wants to analysis the pilot’s study before considering it as a statutory screening programme.