Group B Strep – Why should I care?

Why do you need to know about Group B Strep?

Group B Strep is something most expectant moms don’t think about or even know about until after they get the results of their test.  If it is negative, they don’t think anymore about it, if it is positive there are a number of choices to make.

I have a friend who was told she was GBS positive with her second baby.  Her first birth had gone quickly, so her OB was stressing her out about getting to the hospital early enough to have 2 rounds of antibiotics.  The OB made her feel like her baby would be at high risk of death if this didn’t happen.  I shared some of the following links and reassured her if she was not in a high risk category that her baby would most likely be just fine if she didn’t get both doses AND that there were certain symptoms they could watch for in the baby, that would alert her if there were issues.

You have options before even choosing to take the test!  Why does this matter?  Well, if you test positive it can create a bit of stress.   Some OBs want you to come to the hospital right away when your birth starts so you get 2 rounds of antibiotics before the baby is born.  If you share studies with them showing that other countries use hibeclens with similar results of antibiotics, with less risk to mom and baby, they don’t really seem to care.

I have gathered a group of links to help you do some research before and/or after the test.  (bonus points for you if you research before the test!!!)

  • Some basic facts about GBS this is a great link to start with. I love how she points out that despite one of the risk factors of GBS infections for infants going up after the water breaks, most OBs don’t hesitate to break a moms water.  I had that exact experience at the last induction I was at.  OB broke moms water and then later was talking about how the risk for the baby goes up when water has been broken so they better get that baby out soon.  WHY did you break moms water and did you tell her about the risks before you did so???
  • No evidence that antibiotics work. – so why do we keep using it?
  • Here is a great link talking about using Hibiclens if you are GBS positive.
  • GBS part 1 Goes over 10 reasons NOT to do a GBS test and 10 ways GBS can affect newborns.
  • GBS part 2 Goes over options you have if you choose to test.

Just like any other choice regarding birth.  Do your research and choose what is best for you and your baby. If you are in a high risk category then antibiotics might be the best choice.   If you are not, know you have some options.  At least know you don’t have to be scared about GBS.   You do need to be informed about it, but not scared.

A note on my friend. She did have her second baby quickly and only had a chance to get one round of antibiotics

If she hadn’t done some research, she may have felt very scared about that, if she had only listened to her OBs scare tactics.  Instead she knew that her baby was very low risk of getting an infection and she just kept a close eye on her baby.  She would have alerted her doctor if the baby showed any signs of sickness.    Her baby is healthy and mom is very happy she did some research.

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7 thoughts on “Group B Strep – Why should I care?”

  1. I agree with that fact, that they seem to “forget” a mom can test negative earlier but be positive during birth. OR test positive but be negative during birth. It seems to me it would make more sense to tell moms what warning signs to look for in the baby.

  2. Vanessa the Pittsburgh Doula

    It is an interesting subject. I have always declined this test because the methodology seemed more than suspect. Even if I had tested negative at 36 weeks, I could still be positive when my baby was born. And if they aren’t concerned enough to test me in my birthing time… then why are they testing to begin with?

    I personally am allergic to most antibiotics. There is a short list of three that I can take. In order to have them actually work for me when I need them, I have to be selective about the situations in which I take them. This one did not seem rational.

  3. This is a wonderful post, not to mention link post! (visiting from 31DBBB)

    During my first birth i researched group b and decided if I was positive I would not be getting antibiotics unless symptoms or risk factors presented themselves.

    My first birth went pretty terribly and I did end up being on antibiotics because my water was broken for more than 48 hours. It’s hard to refuse because if they don’t do it to me, they’re going to Lord it over my baby at birth or threaten me with CPS.

    Not a big fan of the medical birth industry.

  4. This is such a great informational link post! I would have loved to have found posts such as this when I was pregnant. Fabulous job on today’s task!

  5. The risk of having a term baby who gets sick from GBS is very, very small. We still have the same number of babies dying from GBS disease as we did before the introduction of antibiotics, only now we also have antibiotic resistant ecoli and a host of other negative consequences resulting from babies being born with a stream of antibiotics flowing through their bodies. The whole treatment is a mass experiment in my mind, and we really are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in when so many women and babies are given antibiotic in labor. My friend Mary Lou Singleton wrote a great piece about this in Midwifery Today a few years ago.

  6. Thanks for that information. I was wondering if the antibiotics had made any changes in the outcomes. Indeed it does sounds like a giant experiment.

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