So, you’re positive, and in this case, we’re not just talking about your overall outlook on life. Like so many mamas, you took the Group B Strep test in pregnancy and your results were positive for the presence of the bacteria. Maybe you immediately wondered what you “did wrong,” or if there was anything you could do to prevent it.
I know I did.
I’ve had three births – one where I tested GBS+ and received an intervention, one where I tested GBS+ and did not, and one where I did something differently and did not test GBS+. I learned a lot along the way.
Today I’m going to share my personal process in deciding whether to receive IV antibiotics, a chlorahexadine wash, or no intervention at each birth. Please keep in mind that – as I wrote in my post on the Vitamin K shot – “Best Boo-Boo Kisser South Of Puckett’s Gas Station” is about as official as things get for me professionally. I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, and your decision is completely up to you. If you need some convincing on this, read my full disclaimer where I say it over and over again. Okay, let’s jump in!
- What is Group B Strep?
- What are the risks of GBS infection in newborns?
- How likely is it that I will be GBS+?
- Does every baby born to a GBS+ mother develop an infection?
- What factors increase the chances of actual infection?
- What are the symptoms of GBS infection?
- Can a mother develop GBS antibodies that protect her baby?
- Are GBS tests accurate?
- What are the recommended treatment options?
- How does water birth affect Group B Strep?
- What about late onset GBS?
- Are there any natural treatments for Group B Strep?
- What should I do?
- What I did with my three children
- Want to learn how to have an awesome birth without leaving your couch?
What is Group B Strep? ^
Sometimes called GBS, Group B streptococcus is a common bacteria that is often found in the digestive tract and lower genital tract. It is considered a normal part of our microbiome and most people have no symptoms related to its presence. (source) However, newborns affected by it are at risk for developing Group B strep disease, a potentially serious illness.
There are two forms of Group B strep disease in babies: early-onset and late-onset. About 80% of cases are early-onset, which means the illness occurs within seven days of birth, usually within the first 24 hours of life. (source)
The remaining 20% happen between seven days and three months of age – this is referred to as late-onset. “Late-onset GBS infection is more complex and has not been convincingly tied to the GBS status of the mother.” (source) In other words, babies who develop late GBS may have acquired it from their environment.
What are the risks of GBS infection in newborns? ^
Most newborns who become infected with GBS will make a full recovery, but it can cause “life-threatening complications, such as:
- blood poisoning (septicaemia)
- infection of the lung (pneumonia)
- infection of the lining of the brain (meningitis)” (source)
In addition, some babies who are infected will experience problems such as “cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness and serious learning difficulties.” (source)
How likely is it that I will be GBS+? ^
GBS is present in the vagina and/or rectum of 10-30% of all pregnant women. (source)
Does every baby born to a GBS+ mother develop an infection? ^
NO. Even without intervention many GBS+ women will give birth to babies that do not experience any complications. (source) In one Canadian study, 19.5% of women tested at 36 weeks were positive for GBS. Left untreated, about 50% of those women passed GBS on to their babies, but 48-49% percent of the children who were colonized with GBS had no symptoms and 1-2% developed early-onset Group B strep disease. (source)
What factors increase the chances of actual infection? ^
The three most significant factors for early-onset GBS are:
- fever during labor
- the woman’s water breaks 18 hours or more before delivery (this is also known as prolonged rupture of membranes, or PROM)
- preterm birth (before 37 weeks) or broken water before 37 weeks gestation (source 1, source 2)
Other factors include low birth weight, the presence of GBS in your urine at any time during your pregnancy (this means that you may be heavily colonized), a history of giving birth to a child who experienced GBS infection, chorioamnionitis, allowing membranes to be stripped, and frequent vaginal exams during labor. (source) The last two factors are listed because membrane stripping and frequent vaginal exams may introduce GBS infection or encourage upward movement of vaginal fluid already containing GBS bacteria. (source)
Steps that may reduce the risk of early-onset GBS infection:
- “Refuse vaginal exams
- Avoid internal fetal monitoring
- Refuse membrane stripping or sweeping
- Avoid induction of labor or application of cervical ripeners
- Do not permit artificial rupture of membranes” (source)
- Birthing in water (more on this later)
What are the symptoms of GBS infection? ^
Symptoms may include any of the following:
- fever or abnormally low body temperature
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- poor feeding
- vomiting, seizures
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the abdomen
- bloody stools (source)
Of course, any of the above symptoms can also be a sign of a sick newborn who does not have a bacterial infection. Newborns with any of these symptoms should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional.” (source)
Can a mother develop GBS antibodies that protect her baby? ^
YES. In this landmark study that the CDC draws many of its GBS recommendations from, researchers concluded that “Sufficient amounts of GBS capsular polysaccharide type-specific serum IgG in mothers have been shown to protect against invasive disease in their infants.” In plain English, this means that women who have developed an immunity to GBS bacteria pass immunity on to their children.
On the other hand, low antibody levels in the mother put baby at an increased risk for early-onset GBS. Why is that? Some people believe that the women who were found to have low antibody levels either had compromised immune function, a genetic inability to make GBS antibodies, or a recent exposure to GBS that they had not yet built an immunity to, and therefore could not pass on. (source)
Are GBS tests accurate? ^
Results can vary slightly depending on specimen collection and culturing techniques. In addition, most GBS tests are performed between 36-37 weeks gestation so that the results are known before labor begins. Unfortunately, a woman who tests positive at 36 weeks may be negative during labor, and vice versa.
In this study, women were screened for GBS using a culture test once at 35/36 weeks gestation and once during labor. “Of the women who screened negative for GBS at 35-36 weeks, 91% were still GBS-negative when the gold standard test was done during labor. The other 9% became GBS positive. These 9% were ‘missed’ GBS cases, meaning that these women had GBS, but most (41 out of 42) did not receive antibiotics.
Of the women who screened positive for GBS at 35-36 weeks, 84% were still GBS positive when the gold standard test was done during labor. However, 16% of the GBS-positive women became GBS-negative by the time they went into labor. These 16% received unnecessary antibiotics.” (Source: Evidence-Based Birth)
Another study found that 61% of early-onset GBS cases occurred in babies whose mom’s tested negative for GBS. (source 1, source 2) It’s not clear why this is, but it may be because, as mentioned above:
- the mom’s infection was recent (after the test done at 35-36 weeks) and mom hadn’t fully developed immunity
- the mom was immune-compromised
- the mom had a genetic inability to make GBS antibodies
Another possibility is that the baby acquired GBS from a non-maternal source. Hospital-acquired GBS cases are documented. (source)
What are the recommended treatment options? ^
Because some moms want to avoid IV antibiotics, rinsing the birth canal with a chlorahexadine/Hibiclens antiseptic to kill bacteria is sometimes recommended as an alternative.
We used to think that babies are 100% bacteria free in the womb, and that their first encounter with GBS would be in the birth canal. Given that scenario, the antiseptic wash makes sense.
HOWEVER, three things ought to be considered when weighing the risks/benefits of this method:
1. New research indicates that babies are not sterile. Dr. Madan, who serves as assistant professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, has examined the stool of newborn babies whom had not yet eaten their first meal. He found a variety of bacteria in the stool collected from both full-term and premature babies. (source1, source2) Based on his research, some experts now believe that a baby could already be colonized (which is the term used if they remain healthy) or infected with GBS before they descend into the birth canal.
2. It may not work well (if at all). “Even though women who used vaginal chlorhexadine reduced their infants’ risk of being colonized with GBS by 28%, there was no difference in rates of early GBS infection between women who used the chlorhexadine and those who did not.” (source) In other words, there were fewer “colonizations” – introduction of GBS in which the baby remained healthy – and the same amount of illnesses that resulted. We’ll discuss why this might be in the next section on antibiotics.
3. The microbiome needs to be considered. Passing through the birth canal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a child to inherit our microbiome. It’s difficult to overstate how important this may prove to be for lifelong health.
“Scientists are only just beginning to understand the microbiome – the unique colony of microbial organisms that populates every human – and they’re looking into the role it plays, not just in birth, but in every aspect of our mental and physical health. So cutting edge is this field that some refer to the microbiome as a ‘newly discovered organ’, and believe that further understanding of it may throw light on some major areas of humanity: disease, personality, life expectancy, and more.
As a baby is born vaginally, the colonisation of the microbiome begins. In fact, studies of the birth canal have shown that in the time before labour starts, the make up of vaginal bacteria changes, for example to include extra Lactobacillus, a bacteria that aids in the digestion of milk. Studies comparing the microbiomes of vaginally born babies with those born via caesarean have shown differences in their gut bacteria as much as seven years after delivery.
There is much we don’t yet understand about why or how much these differences may matter. But scientists are beginning to explore connections between the microbiome of caesarean born babies, and the rising cases of health problems such as obesity, asthma, eczema, and type 1 diabetes.” (source)
You can find a more technical discussion on microbiomes and birth here, or you can watch the fun video below.
Is an antiseptic rinse better than nothing if antibiotics are not an option/not wanted? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to discuss the risk and benefits of antibiotics.
IV Antibiotics for GBS+ Mothers
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) both recommend that all women who test positive for Group B Strep receive IV antibiotics during labor. However, critics say that in at least some cases, there is no clear benefit to that approach. Here’s why:
A Cochrane analysis found that antibiotics do not affect GBS death rates
According to a Cochrane Review, the death rate from GBS remains the same whether or not antibiotics are administered. There was a reduction of babies who became ill, but mortality rates were not affected when IV antibiotics were administered.
Furthermore, the Cochrane Review concluded that very few women who are GBS+ give birth to babies who become infected with Group B strep disease, and “antibiotics can have harmful effects such as severe maternal allergic reactions, increase in drug‐resistant organisms and exposure of newborn infants to resistant bacteria, and postnatal maternal and neonatal yeast infections. This review finds that giving antibiotics is not supported by conclusive evidence.”
Antibiotics may make babies more vulnerable to superbugs
Why is it that both the chlorahexadine wash and IV antibiotics seem to reduce the rate of GBS colonization (and in some studies illness) but not deaths? One theory is that while these methods do kill most GBS bacteria, a certain number may have mutated in a way that makes them resistant to antibiotics. When these strains are left behind, they band together to form a superbug – an infection that is resistant to one or more antibiotics.
Essentially, the idea is that you take a relatively harmless colony – something like a small town with cooks, bakers, schoolteachers, etc. – and through antibiotic administration eliminate everyone but the soldiers. Obviously, a band of soldiers is more likely to win a battle than a band of bakers. (As a note: Most antibiotic resistant bacteria are not necessarily soldiers – aka more dangerous than other types when they start out. However, they can become dangerous simply because they are difficult to stop.)
What evidence is there to support the theory that babies who succumb to GBS infections may be encountering antibiotic resistant GBS bacteria?
In a study of 43 newborns diagnosed with blood infections from GBS or other bacteria, 88-91% of those whose mothers were given antibiotics during labor were suffering from an infection that was resistant to antibiotics. Specifically, the bacteria was resistant to the same antibiotic that was administered during labor. (source 1, source 2) In the same study, only 18-20% of infants whose mothers had not received antibiotics during labor had infections that were resistant to antibiotics.
Is routine administration of antibiotics during labor creating a GBS superbug?
Possibly. In the past, GBS was easily treated with common antibiotics such as penicillin, but now strains are showing up that can resist “last resort” options such as vancomycin. (source1, source 2) It is unclear why this is, but some believe that the widespread use of antibiotics among laboring women could be part of the reason.
Can antibiotics the increase risk of other blood infections?
“While many studies have found that giving antibiotics during labor to women who test positive for GBS decreases the rate of GBS infection among newborns, research is beginning to show that this benefit is being outweighed by increases in other forms of infection. One study, which looked at the rates of blood infection among newborns over a period of six years, found that the use of antibiotics during labor reduced the instance of GBS infection in newborns but increased the incidence of other forms of blood infection.23 The overall effect was that the incidence of newborn blood infection remained unchanged.” (source)
A study published in 2002 found that when GBS cases decreased by 3/4 due to the use of antibiotics, cases of e. coli doubled. “The shift is worrisome,” wrote The New York Times, “because E. coli bacteria can be more deadly than streptococcus germs.” It is thought that when certain antibiotics wipe out good and bad bacteria in the gut, pathogens like e. coli may use the opportunity to take over before the good bacteria can re-establish itself.
This is not a universal perspective, though. The CDC does not think there is a link between antibiotic use and e. coli. You can read their report here.
Do antibiotics raise the risk of yeast infections/thrush?
Very possibly. Antibiotics during labor or anytime thereafter kill good and bad bacteria but leave candida albicans intact. (source) With its competition eliminated, candida may thrive and cause yeast infections/thrush. According to this study, women and babies who received antibiotics during labor were more likely to suffer from candida related infections.
Do IV antibiotics increase a child’s risk of asthma and allergies?
Several studies do suggest that early exposure to antibiotics may be a risk factor for allergies and asthma. This study found that one-year-olds were more likely to suffer from wheezing and allergies, while this review of several studies also found a possible link to eczema.
What other side effects might there be?
“Although rare, severe allergic reactions in mothers have been reported. The risk is estimated to be 1 in 10,000 for a severe reaction, and 1 in 100,000 for a fatal reaction. (Weiss and Adkinson 1988).” (source)
Other side effects due to the way antibiotics alter the microbiome may be significant, but they have not yet been thoroughly studied.
Are any new approaches for antibiotic use being explored?
According to Gentle Birth, “some OBs and pediatricians have a new approach; for cases of prolonged rupture of membranes, they’re only giving antibiotics if the mom runs a fever. Otherwise, they just do a simple blood test on the baby (can be done from cord blood or a heelstick if they miss the cord blood opportunity) to check for C-reactive protein. This is an indicator of an acute infection.
If it’s negative, everyone can be reassured that baby’s fine, even though mom didn’t get antibiotics; if it’s positive (for whatever reason!), then baby will be appropriately treated for an acute infection. This has great potential for focusing the treatment where it is most needed and not exposing all the others to unnecessary side effects and increased risks from resistant bacteria.”
Another option may be to test women for antibodies to GBS (GBS capsular polysaccharide type-specific serum IgG) when testing them for the presence of GBS. Since we know that they pass on those antibodies, it might be worthwhile to have that info when making a decision on whether to administer antibiotics.
How does water birth affect Group B Strep? ^
In 4,432 waterbirths studied, only one resulted in a case of early onset newborn GBS, “suggesting that low-risk women who give birth in water may have a far lower rate of newborn GBS than women who have a dry birth. The last reported rate of newborn GBS for dry births was 1 in 1450. Several theories for this phenomenon are suggested in this article:
(1) inoculating the baby with mother’s intestinal flora at birth protects against GBS infection;
(2) water washes off the GBS bacteria acquired during the descent through the vagina;
(3) the water dilutes the GBS bacteria and mixes it with a multitude of other intestinal bacteria that compete with GBS;
(4) early onset GBS is elicited by complications and interventions at birth, which occur less often at water-births;
(5) kangaroo care at birth promotes healthy newborns;
(6) GBS and antibiotic-resistant GBS are more prevalent in hospital environments, where waterbirths are not an option;
(7) a higher rate of underreporting of adverse events at waterbirths compared to dry births; and/or
(8) a massively successful international campaign has covered up the reporting of all deaths and disease from GBS after waterbirths.” (source)
What about late onset GBS? ^
Currently “No strategies exist to prevent late-onset disease, although more than half of reported cases of neonatal GBS disease now occur during the late-onset period. In addition, concern continues among health officials that widespread intrapartum antimicrobial use might delay, rather than prevent, GBS disease onset, resulting in increased rates of late-onset disease. No evidence exists to suggest an increase; however, careful monitoring of disease trends remains a priority.” (source)
Are there any natural treatments for Group B Strep? ^
Though they have not been studied formally, many midwives have found at-home remedies helpful in avoiding Group B Strep, eliminating it after a positive result, or both. Here are some of their suggestions. Please note that when taking this approach it is usually recommended that moms be tested between 32-36 weeks so they have time to be re-tested. When you are retested, you can evaluate how these approaches are working for you and modify things if needed.
Strategies for avoiding or eliminating Group B Strep
- Fermented Foods – Consume foods rich in beneficial bacteria such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut throughout pregnancy.
- Probiotics – Probiotics support the growth of healthy flora in the gut, which affects the flora that we see in the birth canal. I usually use a this probiotic, but my midwife recommends this one specifically for reducing GBS colonization.
- Raw Garlic Daily – I’d take about 2-4 cloves per day in addition to whatever is cooked with. Simply mince and allow to sit for 10 minutes to activate the anti-microbial compound allicin, then add to a salad, salsa, etc, or swallow it in one go with a glass of water. Personally, I wouldn’t use the capsule form because highly-concentrated doses may have a blood thinning effect. (source) I don’t say this to scare anyone. Even water can be toxic in high enough doses, so this isn’t an indictment of garlic. Just a reminder that whole food forms are often very gentle while still being incredibly beneficial.
- Echinacea and Astragalus Tincture – “Take 1/3 teaspoon of echinacea and astragalus tinctures twice daily. You can get dried astragalus in the herb department of health food stores. Cook two strips into a pot of rice or soup 2-3 times per week. Remove the strips when done cooking and eat the rice or soup. Astragalus is an immune system tonic used in Chinese medicine.” (source)
- Burdock Root and Echinacea Infusion – Emily of Holistic Squid shares how to prepare it here.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Bath – “This method is quite possibly the most effective. Three times a week, take a bath with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar added to the bath. The smell might be less than desirable, but it works. The theory is that the bacteria cannot live in the acidic environment of the vinegar and therefore dies.” (source)
- Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic – Other midwives recommend 2 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar in water daily during the last trimester to prevent colonization. Raw apple cider vinegar is great for overall digestion and can often help with heartburn as well.
- Daily Vitamin C – I prefer whole food-based versions that contain co-factors for optimal absorption. Unfortunately, about 99% of all vitamin C products on the market today are synthetically made ascorbic acid or something similar, and some studies show that these synthetic versions can actually weaken the mitochondria and possibly cause kidney stones. (source) Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to tell what’s what just by reading labels:
“Almost all of the vitamin C in supplements is made in a laboratory, despite labeling that implies otherwise. For example, the label might say, “ascorbic acid from sago palm.” Dextrose, a form of sugar that contains no vitamin C at all, is extracted from sago palm and used as the base molecular material for a complex laboratory process that synthesizes vitamin C. Or the label might say “vitamin C derived from the finest natural sources.” True, but the vitamin C was synthesized. It might also say “with rose hips and acerola,” which are then used as the base material for the tablet or capsule. But a tablet of rose hips or acerola can contain only about forty milligrams of truly natural vitamin C; the rest is synthesized.” Ron Schmid, ND ~ Dietary Supplements: What The Industry Does Not Want You To Know
When looking for a quality Vitamin C supplement I suggest looking for something in which the Vitamin C is derived from 100% whole food sources, like rose hip tea or elderberry syrup. Acerola powder is also generally a very good option, but there is not much research on its use with pregnant/nursing women so talk to your trusted healthcare provider before using it. (I did find a website that said they didn’t see any reason to think their acerola supplement would cause a problem for pregnant women, but their particular product is a blend of acerola powder plus synthetic ascorbic acid so I personally wouldn’t use it)
- Garlic Suppository – You can find “how to” instructions from Emily of Holistic Squid here. However, something to keep in mind is that the effect of garlic suppositories is relatively temporary, so if you use this method before taking a GBS test and then do not continue using it, there is a possibility that if GBS was present (but suppressed) that it will grow back.
What should I do? ^
As you can see, there is no “one-size-fits-all” method that is right for everyone. I suggest that you discuss your personal circumstances, along with the risks and benefits of each approach, with your healthcare provider. And of course, make sure to ask lots of questions.
What I did with my three children ^
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve had three births – one where I tested GBS+ and did the wash, one where I tested GBS+ and did not, and one where I did something differently and did not test GBS+.
With my first pregnancy, my GBS results were delayed due to a mixup with my midwife. I was positive, but did not know it until very late in my pregnancy. I wanted to avoid IV antibiotics if possible but didn’t have very much time to research. In the end, I opted for my midwife’s recommendation, which was to rinse my birth canal with chlorahexadine. I did not know anything about how this might affect my daughter’s microbiome at the time.
When I became pregnant with my second baby, I tested positive for GBS again. However, after reading more on the microbiome and talking things over with my midwife, I decided to decline IV antibiotics and the chlorahexadine wash. For me, it was a research-based decision in which I weighed my personal risks and benefits. For example, I considered the fact that one of the most vulnerable populations are pre-term babies. My son was born at 41+ weeks gestation. I ate a 100% traditional diet with lots of fermented foods, got plenty of Vitamin D from the sun, and worked to boost immune function through some of the natural supplements listed above. I also educated myself on the symptoms of early-onset GBS.
I started using this probiotic before I became pregnant with my third baby, and was surprised to learn when we finally tested that I was negative for GBS. Per the guidelines set by the CDC, ACOG and healthcare providers, no antibiotics or antiseptic washes were considered.
None of my children developed GBS disease. All were born in water, which as I mentioned earlier reduces the likelihood of developing GBS disease. Of course, this is just what I chose to do. You may choose something entirely different, and that’s ok.
Want to learn how to have an awesome birth without leaving your couch? ^
If you’re looking for an evidence-based, naturally-minded resource, I highly recommend the Mama Natural Birth Course and/or The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth.
You’ll learn about:
- Delayed cord clamping, which boosts baby’s iron stores by 30% and improves fine motor skills and social development later in life.
- Skin-to-skin contact, which regulates baby’s body temperature and blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and helps initiate early breastfeeding.
- Gentle cesarean, which can “seed” baby’s microbiome, eliminate fluids from baby’s lungs, while empowering the mama.
- The importance of eating during labor, and so much more.
Click here to check out the Mama Natural Birth Course, and here to check out The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth.
Read My Comment Policy
So what do you recommend doing if you were treated at birth for step b? I am nursing…is there anything I can do to hopefully prevent any side effects from receiving the antibiotic?
If it were me I’d continue on with breastfeeding while taking a good probiotic. That way I’d be repopulating my gut with good bacteria and passing it along through breast milk.
I tested positive and did everything above to reverse it. I worked so hard because I did not want any iinterventions. I wanted a home birth, but I had such a long hard labor..i decided to go to the hospital after 23 hours of hard labor and I was only 4 cm dialated. My doctor knew I did not want iv antibotics and I told every nurse that came in. Two hours before my little boy entered the world. .my doctor came in and gave me two choices….either I take the iv or they would take my baby as soon as he came out and pump him full of antibiotics. I asked what would happen if I didn’t pick either and they said it could effect my insurance. I ended up taking the antibiotics and as soon as he was born my whole body broke out in a rash from it. I am hoping since it was only in me 2 hours it did not do too much harm to my ltitle one. The only thing I regret about my birthing experience was not finding a new doctor. If I have another baby I do not want to go to the hospital and I’m happy I have the knowledge now to start early to prevent gbs.
that is terrible, and such a lie about the insurance. what jerks! i’m sorry that happened to you. i was also given the ‘he or me’ deal and wish i’d have known i could say- NEITHER.
Good for you, Mom. Sounds like you made the best choice in the situation you were in. I’m so glad too, for all of this info. I never had to think about this with my two pregnancies and I’m done now having kids, but I am always passing this info on to my family and friends.
I was GBS+ and opted for garlic suppositories. I started the birthing process at home in water, but my little man was a stinker and required forceps to assist our natural vaginal delivery. My backup OB/GYN was great regarding natural birthing and working to avoid C-section. The hospital was anything but. They threatened the same things and so I told them they could use some of the blood they were going to pull to do a culture. My son was negative. Knowledge is power; I hope this helps women who deliver in the hospital who are GBS+ and want options not ultimatums.
I’m going to be tested this week. My last birth, I tested positive for and was not told until a week before labor. I received four rounds of their antibiotics because I didn’t have time to research/understand, I was only going on what they told me which was if the baby caught it, he would get very sick or die. He did not get it, but three weeks later we both came down with the flu, which started a horrible cycle of sickness and antibiotic for us. We didn’t get better until he was almost 8 months old. I would go from one doctors office to another getting shots of antibiotics. It was awful. This is timely for me, I’m hoping to test negative, but if I do test positive I’ll at least try to get rid of it naturally. Thank you!
The test was negative! Yay!
How is your first son doing? They are requiring me in NYC to get the iv antibiotics and I’m terrified it could cause allergies, etc down the road. Respectfully, I’m curious if you’ve noticed anything with your first son. Cheers!
I found this article fascinating as GBS is something I’ve researched a lot on during my last two pregnancies. My first little one came four weeks early and I hadn’t yet been tested — he was born at home in the water and while he had to be in the NICU for his first four days for breathing issues related to immature lungs, he was thankfully fine in regard to possible GBS issues.
With my second, I tested positive at 33 weeks (after my first coming early, my midwife and I decided it would be good to test a little earlier than normal) and I tried many different things to try combat it: extra garlic, echinacea, extra vitamin C, acidophilus pearls up my vagina, etc. However, despite all my efforts, I still tested positive again at 38 weeks. But after MUCH research and talks with my midwife, we decided to avoid antibiotics and not attempt the rinse. My little girl was born at home in the water with my water breaking literally seconds before she was born. We kept a close eye on her over the next several days in case she started to show signs of a GBS infection, but was totally fine.
With my third, I really wanted to figure out a way to avoid testing positive despite hearing from several sources that if you test positive once, you’ll probably test positive again. In my research I discovered that there had been some anecdotal tests and studies done regarding a particular probiotic strain and how it affected GBS. Apparently Lactobacillus rhamnosus was very effective against the populating of GBS bacteria. I promptly ordered a strong probiotic that contained this strain (along with many others) and took them faithfully starting around 30 weeks. About six to eight weeks later I tested negative for GBS and was so excited! While we can never know for sure, I feel like a lot of that had to do with that particular probiotic strain and I will definitely make a point to take that for future pregnancies. 🙂
Thank you for sharing, Tracy! Like you, I think that switching probiotics is likely the reason behind my negative result with baby #3.
Yes, I saw that you mentioned that and thought that was interesting. Do you know if the probiotic you took contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus? I clicked through to the Amazon link associated with your mention of it and was a little confused as to what strains were in that probiotic.
I’m 37 weeks and was told today I tested positive. If I do everything above will it be a negative test if I’m tested again next week?
I’m in the same boat. I see you wrote this awhile ago…but I’m curious to know if your efforts worked. Were you able to beat the GBS naturally? Thanks~
Hello! I clicked on the link but it simply takes you to Amazon website and doesn’t show the probiotic you took. Can you please give us the name of the probiotics. Thanks!
Will you please share specifically what probiotics you used during your third pregnancy?
Trena, there’s a link to it in the post under the section that says “What I did with my three children”
This link is broken. Could you please update and let us know which probiotic you took?
Thanks for letting me know – just updated the link!
The link is not working, please give us the name of the probiotic
Hi Cindy, which link isn’t working for you? I’ve checked all the ones I can find and they all seem to be functional.
What probiotic brand did you use?
What probiotics did you use?
Thank you for this informative and thorough post! I was looking for something discussing GBS before my appointment today and stumbled upon this…very serendipitous:)
When I went into labor with my first at 35 weeks, I consented to IV antibiotics for both of us because I hadn’t been tested yet, since they do it at 36 weeks, and she was premature. Also I was scared. With my second, I was tested earlier given my history and I was negative! My baby came out healthy at 37 weeks.
I was wondering where I could find out more about the “Best Boo-Boo Kisser South Of Puckett’s Gas Station.” Thank you for the detailed article I saved the link to the probiotic just in case. I wish more insurance companies would work with midwifes and naturalpathic doctors.
My midwives warned me excessively about use of hibiclens as they have seen it cause detrimental lacerations of the vaginal walls from drying out the mucus membrane so much. It can have devestating reactions in sensitive individuals and the warning label on it specifically says to not use on or near genitals or mucus membranes. We opted for collidal silver probiotics and garlic orally and probiotics a garlic vaginally and it cleared up my GBS results when retested within two-three weeks
Great post! I didn’t know to research this prior to my son’s birth and wish of course that I had in retrospect. I did have the ‘mom gut’ feeling to ask them if the iv antibiotics given to me could be a problem for my son, given my husband’s penicillin allergy. They said no. They lied. My son is allergic to penicillin. We had a terrible case of thrush after his birth, I struggled to the point of almost needing surgery due to severe constipation(I’m sure the epidural and booster shot I got at the same time didn’t help anything), and I’ve spent the last 2 1/2 years trying to help my son’s gut heal from so, so many food sensitivities.
They also gave me the ‘he or me’ deal when I asked if I could skip the iv- I didn’t know I could call them on it and say NEITHER.
Thank you for writing this post! I tested positive for GBS at my 36-week appointment and I thought there were no other options for me other then IV antibiotics during labor and delivery. I’m glad there’s still hope that I can have unmedicated birth.
This post arrived in my inbox right after being diagnosed GBS+ for my second pregnancy. Thank you!
I tested negative with my first pregnancy and positive with my second. I researched the issue as best I could online and felt that IV antibiotics were unnecessary (they are not routinely administered in the EU countries I could find info on), but my CNM urged me to take them since she had seen babies who’d gotten extremely ill from contracting GBS, so I consented. Fortunately, I delivered within an hour of arriving at the hospital, so I don’t think they had the chance to completely wipe out my gut flora before Paige passed through.
What I find interesting is that I consumed many more probiotic-rich foods during my second pregnancy (sauerkraut, ginger carrots, kefir water, yoghurt, raw milk) than I did during my first in an attempt to stave off the yeast infections I experienced the first time I was pregnant, so I fully expected to be GBS negative again. Those seeking to eliminate GBS from their birth canals must need to follow at least two or more of the suggestions in your list since probiotic-rich foods alone won’t necessarily hold GBS at bay. I wish this write-up had been posted five weeks ago when I tested positive so I could have tried more of the options and gotten retested before baby Paige was born two weeks ago!
I read the section about water birth twice, but I’m still a bit confused. If it can wash away GBS bacteria, what is there to say it wouldn’t wash away the good microbiome too?
I tested positive only once out of 4 pregnancies. I tested positive for my homebirth, and my baby ended up getting infected, had to be in the NICU for 2 weeks. My midwife forgot to tell me the results until just a few days before my EDD, and her only suggestion was to do the hibiclens. It was a waterbirth.
My baby almost died twice in his first week of life. First time from the strep/sepsis , second time from the ignorance of the some of the NICU staff in how much a full-term newborn should be fed (he was way over-fed -donated milk-one night when I was trying to sleep, and it got into his lungs from spitting up so much, some of the night nurses didn’t watch him closely enough).
He’s alive and I’m thankful for that.
One of the very hardest parts about it was how we were treated by some in the natural birth community. They ignored me or tried to shame me for asking questions (there were some things in the birth that were rare and probably caused the transmission, and also pointed to definite problems with how the midwife and student midwife did things). I had none of the risk factors for transmission. I was healthier than I had been in previous pregnancies.
My health has suffered though, since the birth. Mostly because I’m without a voice. Being supportive of homebirth (and against more gov. regulation) but also thinking I have a right to know what happened. It could have gone just as bad or worse in a hospital, I’m very aware of that (and why I still support homebirth) But that doesn’t make it right.
My granddaughter was born in the hospital and still got it
Great article! Our first little one is due in about 7 weeks, so this came right in time. Have you taken elderberry syrup during pregnancy? I’m assuming it’s safe, but I’ve haven’t taken it since getting pregnant, since I wasn’t sure. Thanks!
A lot of people think so, but it hasn’t been formally tested for safety during pregnancy. I’ve never taken it while pregnant, only because I prefer fire cider. I actually have both in my kitchen right now, though, and am taking them both.
With my sixth baby my midwife did a routine urine sample/culture and it came back that I had GBS in my urine. Although the bacteria count was not high enough to treat seeing I had no symptoms, it automatically put me in the group of needing prophalytic antibiotic treatment. I researched my whole pregnancy on what yo do and had long conversations with my wonderful midwife.
We decided to do no antibiotic. I was eating a whole food diet, was also gluten and sugar free. Juicing green vegetables every day. I took no probiotics because I was not tolerating dairy.
I did get the swab at thirty-seven weeks and it came back negative. I just wanted to know my status at that point.
My sweet boy was born at home on dry land.
It should say prophylactic!
While I always appreciate researched alternatives, and avoid unnecessary medical intervention when possible, this subject is tender to me. I watched my best friend’s first child, who was born healthy, die within his first 24 hours of life because of GSB. It was the most devastating event I’ve ever experienced. I just don’t think I could risk it.
Jenna, I am so sorry for your friend’s loss. Having walked that road with a close friend of mine (though it was due to a different cause), I understand the way it changes things. However, in researching this what I came away with is that there is risk on both sides. I do think there are times when antibiotics are absolutely the best course of action, but at the same time I worry that using them unnecessarily may cause GBS bacteria to mutate into a superbug. I am concerned about this might affect families on a personal level – for example if a child develops an infection from a resistant strain that cannot be treated – and I am also concerned about how this might affect whether we are able to effectively treat GBS in future generations.
Just curious about your friends story. Had she tested GSB+ and chose not to have the antibiotics? Didn’t know she was a GSB carrier? Had the antibiotics and baby still contracted it? Please give a little more info about her to shed some light on this horrible event that your friend suffered.
Oh im so sorry, we almost had the same thing happen with us
I was GBS+ with my 3rd as well. I tried tea tree suppositories and probiotics and nothing changed it. After researching that antibiotics are not a surefire way to stop a baby from getting it anyway, I decided to take my changes with not taking antibiotics.
I knew there would be a slight risk, but my labors were really fast and I made an agreement with my midwife that if labor was more than 10 hours I would consider antibiotics, but I would stick to the Hibicleans (Chlorahex Flush)
I had a water birth (The solution to pollution is dilution) and labored in the water as soon as my water broke.
I tested positive in my urine at 6 weeks. I’m torn on what to do. I’m trying to eliminate it and retest for my own peace of mind (even though they don’t “retest”). It’s been hard to find research on how much “higher risk” I am because it was found in my urine.
Also, I thought I read something about how treating prophylactically can not only lead to late onset gbs, but can affect the function of the antibiotic needed for the newborn who may be infected. Am I making this up? Something to do with the resistance before it has a chance to work for the baby…?
I’ve never been GBS positive for either of my 3 pregnancies, but after learning from Shari Winston about the importance of good, strong vaginal flora, I have helped many other women who initially tested positive for GBS to re-test negative. For each of my pregnancies, I also made sure to encorage good flora before the test and just before birth with three days of over-night garlic inserts and the re-culturing in the morning with a mixture of live-culture yogurt or kefir and raw apple cider vinegar. It is also surprisingly effective for yeast issues, too!
The midwives in town have a protocol that uses goldenseal and essential oils to kill bacteria, but I do wonder about how that would effect the good flora that you WANT your baby to be exposed to.
I was pregnant and gave birth in the UK, and this was never mentioned or tested for. I had never even heard of it until I moved back to Canada. How strange!
I ended up taking the antibiotics. I consider antibiotics always a last resort, but it just seemed too great a risk for me to take with my brand new babe. I was hoping I could get strep-free before birth, but it didn’t happen. I took lots of high-quality probiotics before, and immediately after, and continued to so he would get them in breast milk. For me this was the approach that felt the least risky, though I was not happy about it. These tough choices are always about weighing the risks, and much of that depends on personal circumstance, access to information, and I suppose, comfort level with risk-taking. Thanks for conversation.
I tested positive for GBS with my first two and had the antibiotics with both. For my third baby, my midwife said that in order to avoid the antibiotics I would have to refuse the testing. I decided to refuse the testing and assume that I was positive. In order to make sure my baby would be ok, I took loads of probiotics, homeopathics specific for GBS and put all kinds of things in my vagina. He was born 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital and because I had refused the testing I didnt have to have an IV. I wouldn’t have had time for the antibiotic to be effective anyway.
Because I was GBS unknown the hospital made us stay longer than we had wanted but other than that it worked out for us. My baby did not get sick.
I tested positive with my second and only knew of one option, the IV antibiotics. That’s what I planned to do but considering I had a 3 hour labor and nearly gave birth in the hospital parking garage there was no time. My daughter was fine. After reading this I’m glad it played out the way it did. If I had known I would’ve tried some of the natural treatments you suggested. I’m passing this on to a few pregnant friends. Thanks!
One other reason water birth might reduce the incidence of infection could have more to do with fewer or no vaginal exams. Whenever I see something associated with prolonged rupture of the membranes, I feel it has more to do with numerous VEs introducing infection rather than just the waters being broken.
I had peolonged rupture of membranes, it was a slow leak that I had for possibly 5 days, and I didn’t get an infection. I had a friend whose membranes had been leaking for 16 hours, her waters were broken as soon as she tested positive for amniotic fluid in the hospital, and she ended up with a uterine infection. I can’t help but think she got an infection because of the numerous cervical checks, considering mine were ruptured longer and I only had 1 cervical check. I’m doing a HBAC this time and I’m GBS positive, so I won’t be doing any cervical checks!
I have a question. I am not expecting, my kids are grown and living their lives. However, in March, I was told I had a U.T.I. and there was Strep B in it, along with white blood cells. In my life, I have never heard of Strep B. I was treated with antibiotics.
Then in August, I had surgery due to “prolapse of my cervix and bladder. Once again, I have white blood cells and Strep B in my urine. (Recovery has been “challenging.”
The doctor is treating the Strep B.
What I don’t understand is, in my 45 years, I have never been told I have this Strep B, or what I can do about it. I get the whole concept of our bodies have different bacteria. But why now is it causing havoc and what can I do about it.
I have not found any good information on the web about Strep B.
Thank you for listening. I am just concerned for my Health.
I’m pregnant with my third. First time eating a strict Paleo diet from the start of pregnancy. I’ve been taking Prescript Assist for at least six months now. Yet this is my first time testing positive for GBS. Tested positive in my urine and my midwife encouraged antibiotics because she’s had some dangerous cases of preterm births which she attributed to failure to treat GBS. I am going back to be retested in the urine after the antibiotics but I’m really nervous. I thought I was doing everything right! Just goes to show that we’re all different, I suppose. I will take your advice and do the ACV bath and continue on with the PA (now taking 3 a day post antibiotics) and another probiotic. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to ferments and garlic.
What did you decide to do?
Thanks for such a thorough and well researched post. Interestingly, I’m convinced I caught gbs in the hospital between my 3rd and 4th kids. (I had a very late term abortion, followed by many complications, and thus many internal exams). During pregnancy with Kiddos 4 and 5, I tested positive for gbs both times, and took the antibiotics both times. I was scared and didn’t feel confident enough to use natural remedies. Both kids had high, “unexplained” fevers several times in their first few months. We needed to go to hospital for tons of tests (because at that point, they were both totally unvaxxed), and we never had this experience with my oldest 3. Thanks again for all the food for thought.
Homeopathy helped me test negative within 3 days!!
Can you be a little more specific? What exact homeopathic remedies did you use?
I tested positive in my first pregnancy but thankfully my daughter came too quickly for them to give me antibiotics first. She did not catch GBS. I didn’t want to take the antibiotics but was planning to–I didn’t know there were other options. With my son I was negative! I would attribute it to taking a probiotic.
Thanks for writing this post to let people understand the facts and statistics behind their choices and that they have options!
Lacey @ KV Organics
Great post, Heather. This is a topic near to my heart. I wish I had known more about GBS with my first 3 (and 4th) babies.
I was GBS+ with my first three babies and thought nothing of it since I was not very far along on my natural health journey at that point, my OBs had said it was a normal part of many women’s natural flora, and I didn’t know anything else about it. Or about the potential negative effects of abx during L&D.
Thankfully my kids were not harmed by GBS or by the abx (in any obvious ways at least), and I know it’s a very personal decision for each mama. I just wish I’d known how simple it apparently was, at least in my case, to reverse my GBS status prior to consenting to the abx in L&D with babies #1-3.
Toward the end of the 2nd trimester with my 4th baby, I started eating a real-fermented-food-only probiotic powdered superfoods supplement. I didn’t really change much of anything else in my diet. I noticed within a month or so that my chronic yeast issues had cleared up, and when I had my GBS culture taken a month or so beyond that, I was pleasantly shocked to learn I was negative, having assumed I’d be positive and that it was normal and not a big deal. Only after that did I start to research more and realize what a blessing that was to be negative.
While it could be coincidence, I can’t think of what else it could have been other than adding that 1 tsp/day of the fermented probiotic superfoods to my water or juice. I have eaten it basically ever since and was also GBS- with my 5th baby in June 2013.
Full disclosure, I do now sell the product also, but only because I am first and foremost their genuinely happy customer. I could never sell something I didn’t believe in enough to use myself even if there were no business potential attached (though I am certainly also thankful now for a zero-hype work-from-home option aligned with my values for honesty, organic, real food, etc).
In addition to the GBS change and the defeat of chronic yeast infection issues, these fermented superfoods also improved my digestive health and bowels and reduced illness frequency and intensity.
Long story short, whatever brand someone uses, I definitely recommend a good probiotic to combat GBS, but I do think a real-fermented-foods-only one is best over the pills and capsules with genetically modified strains or those cultured on questionable media.
Thanks again for your great research and writing – I love your blog, even though I often don’t have as much time to read your posts as I’d like.
What is the product?
What is this product?
What is the exact probiotic you took?
Researching Vitamin C supplements is exhausting. Is there one in particular you recommend. We are worried my daughter (14m) may have wooping cough and I’m 21 weeks pregnant! I’m looking for one for her and one for me… any help?
Heather ~ Mommypotamus
Hi Laura, you can find my thoughts on Vitamin C on this page under superfoods and supplements – https://mommypotamus.com/shopping-list/
I need some advice, if possible. I’m in the military, but I’m paying for a homebirth because I refuse to deliver in the military hospital, and I just think it is what’s best for me and the baby. Well, my Navy doc just found out, so now she is saying I need to have another ultrasound at 38 weeks to make sure the baby isn’t too big? It would make no difference to me. Also, she said the GSB test is next time, but I don’t want it. Is there any research you could recommend bringing to her to explain why I think its unnecessary? They just LOVE trying to make women feel guilty for not doing the normal routine, and I’m sick of it! They don’t own my uterus for goodness sake. Anyway, any suggestions would be helpful!
Thank you so much for your informative description of treatment! I was tested last month for GBS in my urine, and it came back positive. The problem was, last month I had just reached the 6 month mark, so I was tested earlier than most. My midwife offered it to me, and not knowing what it was, I thought, why not be aware? But in hindsight I wish I was just tested at the 35-37 week mark. My positive diagnosis has just stressed me out and had me researching all I can on Group B strep, and I don’t think any of this is worth it. I discussed the results with my midwife and we decided I would implement a regimen of probiotics twice daily, pure cranberry juice, garlic, vitamin C, and the apple cider vinegar wash. We agreed I would then be re-tested. Although I don’t know how it will affect me, even if I am negative later, to know that during the same pregnancy I was positive… it was really a mistake to opt for the early testing in my mind. I’ve done tons of research – including analyzing the Cochrane article and looking at recommendations in other countries. I think I am settling on treatment ONLY if I have a labour-related risk factor (ie. if I have a premature labour, which I am not at high risk for; early membrane rupture and long labour, or if I run a fever). My midwives have been wonderful except on this front – they didn’t really provide me with adequate background information and I don’t understand why they advocate for antibiotic treatment… for some reason the association of midwives here recommends treatment as well, so I guess they just align with that. On a side note, does anyone know what the rate of GBS colonization is in the general, non-pregnant population? That would be interesting to note for comparative purposes, but when I look it up all I find are stats on women in pregnancy.
Approx 25-30% of women carry the Strep B bacteria.
Did your retest come back negative? I’m currently in the same situation.
Hi Heather, I love your website & so appreciate all the info, especially on this topic since I just tested for GBS. Do you happen to have a printable version of your article available? I just went to print it out but it was 33 pages long with all the graphics & everything. 😉
Eeek, 33 pages! Unfortunately, I haven’t found a program that creates printable versions without causing weird problems on the site. So sorry 🙁
You can just copy the text and paste into word or another text program to print 🙂
I had my daughter 3 months ago. During my pregnancy I tested positive for GBS. My midwife gave me some natural remedies such as sleeping with garlic in me for 10 nights and sitting in and taking a shot daily of Apple cider vinegar. Once I re tested, I still came out positive. I now wish I tried taking probiotics and more consumption of garlic to possibly change my test. I did take the antibiotics after testingn positive again though since I was close to being full term. My baby came out being safe from GBS. I did a home birth which I labored in the water and gave birth on the bed. Now that it has been 3 months, I had been re tested for bacteria in the vagina due to having a cyst on my ovaries. I currently tested positive with GBS again which surprised me. The doctor wanted to prescribe me more antibiotics but I am hesitant to taking them because I am currently breastfeeding. I was wondering if anyone knows if the antibiotics would get in my breast milk? I am all for doing natural remedies again but I am unsure since it didn’t work for me last time. Does anyone have any advice? I just want to make sure my baby is safe.
I was GBS+, I took a lot of probiotics my whole pregnancy. When I went into labour I had a mild fever. I was given one course of antibiotics before my son was born. He was born with meningitis and had to get two weeks of I’ve antibiotics. Thank god he is ok now and didn’t have any complications.
You are so awesome. Thank so much for all of the good information you’ve packed in to this post and so many others that I’ve read!
Group B strep is not to be taken lightly — as a baby I almost DIED from complete sepsis of group B Strep. The doctors back in 1987 at an Army hospital did not take my mother seriously when she showed them my limp, listless body until they tested me and found out why I was so sick HOURS after she had arrived, and I had to be life-flighted to a better hospital. I have since tested positive for GBS for two babies, and because of my extreme experience as a newborn I would rather my child be protected from possible sepsis and death.
I was GBS+ when they tested my urine early in my pregnancy. At the time I didn’t know they were even testing for that or what it was. They suggested I do antibiotics at the time but I declined since it can come right back. I was planning on retesting closer to birth but had PREM at 36.5 weeks. Although I had been upping my probiotics and fermented foods, I do wonder if the GBS made me go into premature labor. I could not find a lot of resources on how to treat naturally and my CNM practice was not helpful in this area. They pushed hard for antibiotics during labor at the hospital. I kept putting it off but almost caved until they said it would have to be readministered every few hours. That really bothered me. My gut was telling me not to do it, and I had my baby naturally a few hours later. Born 100% healthy, thank God, even though he was early. I really feel there are so many dangers to antibiotic overuse and nobody at the hospital is willing to even acknowledge that. I still don’t know what my GBS status was at birth though. I doubt if they even checked.
Now I’m pregnant again and am already anxious about this topic. Especially because my old practice is disbanded and the alternatives are traditional Dr’s at the hospital or a new birthing center which requires testing and treatment for GBS. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.
Hi Heather thankyou for such informative post.As my doc has discovered gbs positive in 26th weeks and she has prescribed me antibiotics (ampicillin) for 10 days.I don’t feel comfortable taking antibiotics and i stopped after taking it for 5 days.I have started eating raw garlic,Can you please help me with what would be the best time to eat garlic and what are the don’t s in this period of time.I would really appreciate your help.
Question, I had a positive urine culture at 20 weeks, which totally knocked me off my rocker. I wasn’t expecting it. I’m researching now like crazy. I’m having a hospital birth with a midwife (as the birthing center would no longer see me and would do a hospital transfer if I refused antibiotics), so I transferred care sooner as I wanted another opinion. The midwife said I can refuse, but she doesn’t recommend it. She said the pediatrician will do a ton of testing on my baby and likely give me heck about it if I do refuse. I’m so torn and just trying to figure out anything I can do between now and then. They said they wouldn’t retest because it was already a positive urine culture. 🙁
Hi all. I want to share my stories 🙁 I was pregnant before, and i had miscarriage at 13 weeks plus (natural birth) on 30/8/2015. Before that my pregnancy was perfectly normal (baby was okay eventhough i had bleeding red blood since 4 weeks preggy) even one hour before the miscarriage happen. After that only we found out that i am positive with GBS. My Gynae said my case is very rare bcs normally GBS can happen during third trimester but it happened on me since early pregnancy. Even now after the miscarriage we found out i still have GBS and now E Coli. Just found out today :'( i dont know whats happening with me even gynae said this is very hard for him to explain my situation. Please help me. What should i do to make the GBS go away. I would love to TTC again as me and husband really want a child. We are married since June 2015, this year.
I’m very interested in the probiotic you used, but the link is broken. Could you fix the link or tell me what it was? Thanks for the great article!
hope all of you r well. iam very tensed because at 37 weeks of pregnancy i tested GBS at report is positive. iam in Italy .. i did not understand italian language bt my husband understand. in last appointment doctor see the result and give me a suppository to use in vagina. and told me to go to hospital in emergency room if any kind of water show after using suppository. and also said that than they give me antibiotics. iam worried for my boy is he is safe? help sis. if anyone can tell me why the gave suppository?
Hi there! I just tested GBS+ at 36.5 weeks and I am hoping I can make some changes and test negative before I give birth. Below is the protocol I have designed for myself. I’d love to have your feedback.
1000 MG Vit C
2 Probiotic Capsules
1000 MG Vit C
2 Probiotic Capsules
Vaginal mix before bed (I’m thinking of mixing plain yogurt with chopped garlic and a drop of tea tree oil to use vaginally all at once. Does that seem like it would be too much, or they would counteract each other somehow? )
Eat probiotic heavy foods (kombucha, yogurt, kefir, etc)
Take bath with 1/2 cup added ACV
Hi all. I’m 32 weeks pregnant with my second child in Ireland where the GBS testing seems to be non existent. I’ve only become aware of GBS in the last few day after being diagnosed due to a very severe rash on my body. My infection is mainly under my arms and in the warmer parts of my body – like the groin area, under and in between my breasts. I’m not overweight and I am very conscious of my hygien. It took the lab over 3 weeks to confirm a GBS infection. In the last 2 weeks I had to self diagnose and self treat since I could only get an appointment with a dermatologist in 4 to 6 weeks and this is in both public and private clinics from the south of the country to the East. I’ve used a Tea Tree oil was twice a day and then applied Tee Tree oil or coconut oil. This helped the rash but the itchiness is still there.
All the research indicates the presents of the bacteria in the birth canal and no symptoms like mine. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and a steroid cream for the severe itchiness. He advised that the bacteria is not in my blood and there was no presence in my urine so the baby won’t be affected but I can’t help feeling that there is a major lack of knowledge about GBS among the irish medical society. Does that mean that I am GBS+? if I take the antibiotics now rather than labour would they still affect the baby? ( all the doctors I talked to said that they are “safe” – but I find that hard to be alive).
Wow. As an obstetrician I am saddened by this post and comments. I have seen babies who have been devastated forever by GBS sepsis. It is a small chance but preventable. Please talk to your doctors and THINK. The Internet is all anectodotal stories. The mom who is now taking care of her devastated baby does not have the time to write about it on the Internet. So sad that the medical community is having to defend such basic stuff that saves lives due to anectodotal stories. And we will never share our anecdotes because of patient privacy. Wow.
So do you think that antibiotics should be taken?
My baby is due any time now.
I have a few friends that tested GBS positive and had antibiotics and never said anything negative about it. It’s just finding this research that is making me worried.
As an OB, what do you recommend?
I think that this author is promoting a way to get rid of GBS, not necessarily telling her readers to not use IV antibiotics (with different opinions in the comments).
I am a prenatal genetic counselor and would love it if you could share the ACOG Guidelines regarding this and any studies that show the efficacy of IV antibiotics and the percent reduction in risk of fetal transmission. I was not informed I was GBS+ with my first until I was being admitted to L&D. With my current pregnancy, I tested positive (barely) in urine and am hoping to rid myself of this bacteria before 37 weeks and avoid antibiotics.
I gave birth to my baby George Edward who was born sleeping at 17 weeks on 26th August. We had a full post mortem and it showed group strep b on placental microbiology and in me – a high vaginal swab showed group streb b.
George was my 4th pregnancy, I tested positive with my daughter Sophie – my first pregnancy and had the IV antibiotics in labour. Thomas my son – my second pregnancy came via emergency C-section at 28 weeks – my waters just broke and I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks for my third pregnancy.
We are now trying to conceive again and I will do ANYTHING to avoid having another George experience. It was horrific. Pre-conception I am taking a probiotic, garlic and vitamin c. I have just bought some kombucha and am drinking that daily.
What else can I do? I am obviously high risk for group streb b as it was found in my urine with Sophie.
I am prepared to do and try anything
I’d like to say a big thank you for writing up this blog because it really gives mamas like me hope that there are natural non medicated steps you can take to hopefully remove group B strep from your system. I am especially really grateful that you have put down in detail what products to consume and the quantities
When I got diagnosed with group B strep I was around 19 weeks and 3 days and completely shocked that I had it. Up until now I didn’t know what it was because I have 2 children and had no problems with them. This is my third pregnancy and it is a very different experience compared to my other 2. I had a lot of bleeding and spotting in my first trimester and really thought i was miscarrying. I’m not sure if that could be the reason I got Group Strep B?! But the little bundle survived thank God. But now this GBS diagnosis! What to do? It has completely taken over my life since I’ve found out and I can’t focus on anything else properly.
Anyway the antibiotics IV option is there but my plan of action is that I’m gonna try all those remedies first and get retested by 30/32 weeks and see what happens. I’m in the UK so I don’t know how forthcoming they are when it comes to retesting on the NHS etc.
I think some people might call me crazy for saying this but the GBS diagnosis has it’s upsides for me-now that kind of got over the initial shock of it. I’d heard of Kefir drinks before but never thought of ever trying it. And now finding out about Kombucha and all these probiotics and eating fermenting foods and using apple cider vinegar!! I’m from an Asian Indian family and we usually only go as far as yogurt! So this is a new adventure for me. Kefir and ACD I have been familiar with but never thought of using as part of my everyday diet…no choice now lol!!
I have suffered with a lot of Acid indigestion problems since day one and I have thrush too. For me these are all indicators that i’m full of bad bacteria and yeast at the moment and I have to try and get the balance right God willing, by changing my diet.
I’m gonna try and document my progress and see what success I have. I hope and pray all us mamas in the same boat stay strong and take action and hopefully we’ll have healthy babies in the end.
BIG THANK YOU!!!xxx
So, I hope I get an answer for this before I pop. I got tested at 37 weeks because the test expires after 5 weeks and they didn’t want to do it sooner. I didn’t worry much about it because i tested negative with my 1st. Well, not this time…I was GBS+ ?. I did all the natural rememdies very strictly for 2 weeks and got retested. Test number 2 was negative ?. So here is my questions: 1) what are the chances that it just came back negative because I had garlic “up there” the night before? And 2) can I still insert garlic this late in pregnancy? and 3) I’ve been doing diluted vinegar rinses…is it still safe to do that?
Question regarding the Apple Cider Vinegar baths 3x’s a week.
Is it safe to use Raw Unfiltered Organic variety?
I did a lot of research and didnt want the antibiotics but somehow in a moment of weakness during labour i consented. How i regret that! After birthing, after the ob stiched up my third degree tear, and since i was already on antibiotics and that iv was already conveniently installed, she decided to give me another couple rounds of preventative antibiotics to prevent infection in the wound. She gave me antibiotics for an infection I DIDNT HAVE. I was a mother of a newborn and she further wiped out our gut bacteria for no good reason whatsoever. Why am I so mad? My child ended up with terrible eczema and allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatos, eggplant, peas, green beans, brussel sprouts, and more… There is zero history of allergies in my or his daddy’s family. I cant help but draw that correllation. I was totally ‘out of it’ in “labourland” I didnt even realise what happened until several days later. Best to make sure your partners and loved ones around you know your mind so they can advocate for you while you’re busy creating life.
i hate doctors and nurses that push vaccines and antibiotics! I got two does of IV antibiotics while I was in labor and my son has eczema and allergies as well. peanuts, eggs, treenuts, shrimp.. He also has a speech delay. I have to cover his hands and whole body. I spent soo much money on creams, herbs, oils, supplements to fix his leaky gut. My second son didnt get antibiotics and he has the softest skin and no developmental issues.
Oh, my , what happened with my granddaughter, only at a better place
A co worker of my husband’s has a daughter who tested positive…and get this…they’re pushing for a c section!!?? I had GBS with three of my five pregnancies and all my babies were fine, with no antibiotics…natural vaginal births two of which were water births. I gave my husband your article to pass on to her, along with some others…But I doubt anything will help. The daughter wants a natural birth, but the mother (my husband’s co worker) wants to be able to BE THERE, so she thinks a c section is a good idea. And apparently the doctors wanted to do one anyway. *shaking my head*
Hi, I feel like the link to the probiotic you took in your third preganancybhas changed. When I first discovered the article you linked to Prescipt Assist Probiotics and as a result I’ve encouraged other moms to do the same but now as I was reviewing to send to another associate the link has been changed to Thrive probiotics.
Yes, I changed the link because Prescript Assist changed their formulation and Thrive introduced a formulation that I think is better 🙂
I wish had known this info 20 years ago. I did have a water birth so things could have been alot worse. I just found out that the strep B I had may have caused my daughters hearing loss, because it can do that. I only had the IV antibiotics for not even 2 hours and it should have been at least 4. She is 20 and is just now getting a hearing aid which is good but sad because she is a singer. The Dr said that it has not gotten worse in the last 4 years of testing which is a blessing. Please do not ignore this condition and get treated appropriately. Blessings!
Do you happen to know of a lab that will test for GBS capsular polysaccharide type-specific serum IgG? I can’t seem to find anyone who can draw it for me. I was GBS+ in my urine at 6 weeks, so doing what I can to clear it and to help my case for no abx. I’m currently 29 weeks.