Yesterday morning Ted and I found out that I am Group B Strep positive. I took a test for a bladder infection and they found not only a bladder infection but that I was GBS+. Clinics usually do a screening between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy, but because of the bladder infection test, they found this out a lot sooner for me. I am so grateful.
What is GBS?
Group B streptococcus is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This bacteria is normally found in the vagina and/or lower intestine of 15% to 40% of all healthy, adult women.
Those women who test positive for GBS are said to be colonized. A mother can pass GBS to her baby during delivery. GBS is responsible for affecting about 1 in every 2,000 babies in the United States. Not every baby who is born to a mother who tests positive for GBS will become ill.
Although GBS is rare in pregnant women, the outcome can be severe, and therefore physicians include testing as a routine part of prenatal care.
How does someone get group B strep?
The bacteria that causes group B strep normally lives in the intestine, vagina, or rectal areas. Group B strep colonization is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Approximately 15-40% of all healthy women carry group B strep bacteria. For most women there are no symptoms of carrying the GBS bacteria.
Now that I have tested positive for Group B Strep infection…
If you test positive for GBS this simply means that you are a carrier. Not every baby who is born to a mother who tests positive for GBS will become ill. Approximately one of every 100 to 200 babies whose mothers carry GBS will develop signs and symptoms of GBS disease. There are, however, symptoms that may indicate that you are at a higher risk of delivering a baby with GBS. These symptoms include:
Labor or rupture of membrane before 37 weeks
Rupture of membrane 18 hours or more before delivery
Fever during labor
A urinary tract infection as a result of GBS during your pregnancy
A previous baby with GBS disease
In this case your physician will want to use antibiotics for prevention and protection.
According to the CDC, if you have tested positive and are not in the high risk category, then your chances of delivering a baby with GBS are:
1 in 200 if antibiotics are not given
1 in 4000 if antibiotics are given
How can I protect my baby from Group B Strep infection?
If you test positive for GBS and meet the high risk criteria, then your physician will recommend giving you antibiotics through IV during your delivery to prevent your baby from becoming ill. Taking antibiotics greatly decreases the chances of your baby becoming ill.
For women who are group B strep carriers, antibiotics before labor starts are not a good way to get rid of group B strep bacteria. Since they naturally live in the gastrointestinal tract (guts), the bacteria can come back after antibiotics. A woman may test positive at certain times and not at others. That’s why it is important for all pregnant women to be tested for group B strep between 35 to 37 weeks of every pregnancy.
How does Group B Strep infection affect a newborn baby?
Babies may experience early or late-onset of GBS.
The signs and symptoms of early onset GBS include:
Signs and symptoms occurring within hours of delivery
Breathing problems, heart and blood pressure instability
Gastrointestinal and kidney problems
Sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis are the most common complications
Newborns with early-onset are treated the same as the mothers, which is through intravenous antibiotics.
The signs and symptoms of late-onset GBS include:
Signs and symptoms occurring within a week or a few months of delivery
Meningitis is the most common symptom
Late-onset GBS is not as common as early-onset
Late-onset of GBS could be a result of delivery, or the baby may have contracted it by coming into contact with someone who has GBS.
The information from above is taken from the link at the bottom of this blog.
Jami speaking now:
Of course I hoped for a healthy pregnancy, and this doesn’t mean I still can’t have that. I was a mess yesterday, I ended up making myself sick and I even got my second migraine (of my life) from the stress and the crying. I slept the afternoon away, trying to calm myself down for the baby’s sake. I am asking for your prayers, because I am very up and down about this. I am afraid, I won’t lie. I think the hardest part for me is feeling to helpless in this. I have 15 weeks until our baby will come and until then it’s just waiting this out, once labor hits I will get an IV with antibiotics every 4 hours during delivery, in order to protect the baby from GBS. So that hard part is the waiting for the day of delivery, and waiting to see if my baby will have GBS or not. Please pray for our baby’s safety!
Our plans for a home birth, as of right now, are put on hold. We’ve been advised to have the baby at the hospital, so I can be hooked to an IV with antibiotics, and just in case the baby is born with GBS they can take fast action. As you all know, my heart’s desire was to have a home birth, but my greatest heart’s desire is to have our baby safe and healthy.
If you know of anyone who has had this or if you have had this while pregnant, please talk to me! I want to hear a bit more about this, and just how serious or not serious this could be.
Thanks for listening & thank you for praying for our baby!