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Group B Strep PREVENTION

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

So I have done some reading and a few weeks ago decided to begin my Group B Strep Prevention protocal. For those of you who don't know about Group B Strep...it's a bacteria that commonly lives in woman's vagina. When it reaches a certain level it can become hazardous (1% of cases deadly) to your infant during birth. They test you currently at about 36 week to see if your levels are at a certain point. If they are the standard protocol is to give penicillin through an IV every 4 hours during your birthing time. The longer the time between your water breaking and delivery the greater the risks. Antibiotics carry risk, and they also dramatically impact your gut/vagina flora. During birth your baby will become inoculated by very important bacteria. We are more bacteria than cells! It's vital for our health. The only studies that have really done so far about the hazards of these antibiotics is about yeast infections...you AND the baby have a 15% increase risk. Of course I"m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg after all the research I've done on the importance of gut health. However not getting the antibiotics puts your baby at risk of getting a group B strep infection and can lead to many complications including death. The antibiotics seem to reduce this risk by 80% from 1% to .2% IF you test positive on your group b strep test.

 

So my take away from all of this?  The best medicine here would be prevention. The following protocol does not carry any risks and is good for your health anyways. The more you do the better chances you have of reducing your risk of having a high count of Group B Strep. The theory behind the protocal (and there is some evidence to back this up) is to get up your good bacteria that will fight off the bad bacteria. Lactobacilla being the one studied. Also to increase your intake of foods that can kill off Group B Strep (garlic). In addition, to feed the good bacteria and not feed the bad bacteria.

 

The sooner you start and the more of these you do the more likely you will be able to prevent Group B Strep colonization.

 

Everyday you should take:

A good probiotic (Raw Probiotics for Woman is one example)

Garlic pills or copius amounts of garlic

2TBSP Organic unfiltered not pasteurized apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs is the good brand)

 

Food to eat:

Good bacteria love fiber, the best place to get fiber is from raw vegetables

Eat Probiotic rich food like  Kombucha, Water Kefir, Yogurt, Sauerkraut and other fermented foods regularly

Lots of Vitamin C rich foods. Lemons/berries/other fruit/green vegetables

Eat Coconut oil (you can use this while cooking instead of olive oil)

 

Foods to Reduce or Eliminate.. to starve off the bad bacteria:

Sugar/white potatoes/anything starchy (bread/pasta/etc)

 

Additional things you can do... (I plan to do this bimonthly)

Apple Cider Vinegar vagina "Washes" 4 parts water 1 part ACV

Insert garlic glove into vagina

Insert probiotics into vagina (After taking out the garlic)

 

References:

http://evidencebasedbirth.com/groupbstrep/

 

http://wellnessmama.com/8680/how-i-avoided-and-got-rid-of-gbs/

* I don't agree with everything she does due to what I read/researched like the Cloradix and I would not put the garlic before the test as this can give you a negative but only temporarily and possibly put your baby at risk

post #2 of 39
Great recommendations, @Activia! I actually have experienced dealing with group b and make sure to make kombucha, have fermented food, probiotics, etc to prevent. I would talk to healthcare provider before consuming too much garlic as it thins blood and may cause other issues during delivery.
A couple things to add that may be controversial... I believe the actual risk for anything terrible happening to the baby is really, really low, at least in my previous situations it has been. I will repost when I talk to midwife about it, but I believe the risk comes for preterm labor and if your water is broken for a long time, which neither has been the case for me in my previous deliveries. So, while I think you need to do everything you can to get a negative test result, I don't think the risk is anything to freak out about if you do get a positive result. I do think the penicillin administered to me at the hospital did cause many complications during our birth/ 1st month postpartum, and once you have a positive result, they will give you penicillin automatically in later deliveries, at least that's what I've been told they do around here. Hence, a big reason I've had homebirths since:) The controversial part....if you are able to swab yourself for the test, they will tell you to swab vagina and bottom. If you feel comfortable with it, just do vagina. I was told this by a midwife, and my second pregnancy got a negative result with this method. The midwife handing the test at my third pregnancy really wanted both, and sure enough positive. I retested a few weeks later with vagina only and got negative result, so I really think mine wasn't vaginal and of very small risk being in bottom. Anyways, I'll let you know the facts of risk once I talk to midwife, but I believe it's very small, and to me not worth the risk of administering penicillin to the mother. So, yes, please do all you can to get a negative result!!
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eaustin View Post

Great recommendations, @Activia! I actually have experienced dealing with group b and make sure to make kombucha, have fermented food, probiotics, etc to prevent. I would talk to healthcare provider before consuming too much garlic as it thins blood and may cause other issues during delivery.
A couple things to add that may be controversial... I believe the actual risk for anything terrible happening to the baby is really, really low, at least in my previous situations it has been. I will repost when I talk to midwife about it, but I believe the risk comes for preterm labor and if your water is broken for a long time, which neither has been the case for me in my previous deliveries. So, while I think you need to do everything you can to get a negative test result, I don't think the risk is anything to freak out about if you do get a positive result. I do think the penicillin administered to me at the hospital did cause many complications during our birth/ 1st month postpartum, and once you have a positive result, they will give you penicillin automatically in later deliveries, at least that's what I've been told they do around here. Hence, a big reason I've had homebirths since:) The controversial part....if you are able to swab yourself for the test, they will tell you to swab vagina and bottom. If you feel comfortable with it, just do vagina. I was told this by a midwife, and my second pregnancy got a negative result with this method. The midwife handing the test at my third pregnancy really wanted both, and sure enough positive. I retested a few weeks later with vagina only and got negative result, so I really think mine wasn't vaginal and of very small risk being in bottom. Anyways, I'll let you know the facts of risk once I talk to midwife, but I believe it's very small, and to me not worth the risk of administering penicillin to the mother. So, yes, please do all you can to get a negative result!!

I agree the risk is small.

 

Here is an exerpt from the evidence based birth article:

  1. The“risk-based approach.” Treat laboring women with antibiotics if they have one or more of these risk factors: GBS in the urine at any point in pregnancy, previously gave birth to an infant with early GBS infection, goes into labor at less than 37 weeks, has a fever during labor, or water has been broken for more than 18 hours (this is the method that is currently used in the United Kingdom)

​It sounds like this is more the approach you like to take on the matter :)

The UK actually uses the risk based approach:

In the UK, the rate of early GBS infections is 0.5 per 1,000 births, which is slightly higher than the rate of 0.2 per 1,000 births in the U.S. In the UK, it is not considered cost effective to screen the whole population of pregnant women to lower the early GBS infection rate by 0.2-0.3 cases per 1,000.

So yes .5 per 1000 births is very very low. We're talking .05% chance of your infant getting an infection.

Thanks for the heads up on the garlic. I think tooo much of anything is probably not good ;) I don't think I'm taking levels that would be considered that high though. I take 1-2 garlic pills a day. That's also very interesting about taking the test yourself. Since you had the experience with the rectal vs vagina... I guess it would be prudent to wash both areas when I do my washes.

I'm not going to say whether or not people should get the penicillin or not if they test positive. I think it's a personal choice and everyone has to do what they feel most comfortable with. At this point I'm just trying to focus on prevention methods and awareness.

post #4 of 39
Yes, very important to try to prevent! I'm very adamant about it myself, obviously; ) Definitely a personal choice about penicillin, I just had a bit of a horror story with it, so I'm sure most people wouldn't feel so strongly. And, if you are following your above recommendations, likely most people will be able to fight off the negative effects of antibiotics, and there are baby probiotics to administer if the baby is exposed as well. From what I remember when I researched a few years ago, the baby can receive antibiotics after the birth if they are exposed/in danger just as effectively, but again will talk with midwife about it. One thing about the swabbing-you don't actually swab inside rectum, just around outside, so I wouldn't do anything anything drastic;)
post #5 of 39

I've never done a thing to prevent, yet I've been strep negative both times. This all seems a little overkill to me. Before I'm putting garlic and vinegar in my vagina, I'd kinda like a reason to do that. If you're really worried, why not request a test at 34 weeks or so, and then treat it naturally if needed. Then retest at 37-38 weeks. Sure, establishing good gut flora is important no matter what, but you don't need to be stressed out about it.

post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandy Lion View Post
 

I've never done a thing to prevent, yet I've been strep negative both times. This all seems a little overkill to me. Before I'm putting garlic and vinegar in my vagina, I'd kinda like a reason to do that. If you're really worried, why not request a test at 34 weeks or so, and then treat it naturally if needed. Then retest at 37-38 weeks. Sure, establishing good gut flora is important no matter what, but you don't need to be stressed out about it.

30% of woman test positive. Once you test positive they will push for the antibiotics so I would not want to have an early test. I don't think there is any harm in cleaning the vagina once in awhile :) I think gut flora is important for everyone anyways,.

post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Activia View Post
 

30% of woman test positive. Once you test positive they will push for the antibiotics so I would not want to have an early test. I don't think there is any harm in cleaning the vagina once in awhile :) I think gut flora is important for everyone anyways,.

I heard it's closer to 10%. I'm not that worried, but I'm considering having an early test to be sure since I'm just a little higher anxiety this pregnancy in general. My midwife is cool and would never force antibiotics on me if I tested negative, even if a previous test was positive. She'd most likely think it was awesome that the measures I took to clear up any GBS+ were effective. If you don't have an open-minded care provider though, I can understand why you might want to take drastic measures.

post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandy Lion View Post
 

I heard it's closer to 10%. I'm not that worried, but I'm considering having an early test to be sure since I'm just a little higher anxiety this pregnancy in general. My midwife is cool and would never force antibiotics on me if I tested negative, even if a previous test was positive. She'd most likely think it was awesome that the measures I took to clear up any GBS+ were effective. If you don't have an open-minded care provider though, I can understand why you might want to take drastic measures.

Well the evidence-based birth sites a study that says 10-30% then they mention this:

Quote:
 They used hospital records to label women as receiving the universal approach (52%) or the risk-based approach (48%).

52% end up getting the antibiotics...so..hmm that seems to indicate that it might be even higher.

 

I'm using a midwife group that is part of a hospital and supervised by an OB so I'm sure they follow standard protocol which in the US would mean..if you test positive at any time you are to get antibiotics..so i'd have to "deal" with that. So I'd rather avoid that whole thing.

post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandy Lion View Post

I've never done a thing to prevent, yet I've been strep negative both times. This all seems a little overkill to me. Before I'm putting garlic and vinegar in my vagina, I'd kinda like a reason to do that. If you're really worried, why not request a test at 34 weeks or so, and then treat it naturally if needed. Then retest at 37-38 weeks. Sure, establishing good gut flora is important no matter what, but you don't need to be stressed out about it.

I tested negative last time, no prep and will not test this time, with my midwifes blessing, and we will only treat if I or baby shows symptoms.

Gbs normally occurs in the body. It can be there one day, gone the next, and back the next week. It does seem like a lot of work to prevent a bacteri that really only matters on ONE specific day (that you can't predict).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandy Lion View Post

I heard it's closer to 10%. I'm not that worried, but I'm considering having an early test to be sure since I'm just a little higher anxiety this pregnancy in general. My midwife is cool and would never force antibiotics on me if I tested negative, even if a previous test was positive. She'd most likely think it was awesome that the measures I took to clear up any GBS+ were effective. If you don't have an open-minded care provider though, I can understand why you might want to take drastic measures.

Testing earlier won't tell you anything. That's one of my big beefs wth the test at 37 weeks even-- it doesn't tell you in you'll hBe gbs at birth- only if you are colonized on the exact date they do the test. So you could test negative at 37 weeks and colonize at 37.5 but your test is still going to show negative and so they'll treat you as negative. It's a very flawed system.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Activia View Post

I'm using a midwife group that is part of a hospital and supervised by an OB so I'm sure they follow standard protocol which in the US would mean..if you test positive at any time you are to get antibiotics..so i'd have to "deal" with that. So I'd rather avoid that whole thing.

Informed consent supersedes standard protocol though. You can refuse the test or the antibiotics. They may give you some flak for it but they can't force anyone into it. And you may be surprised by their own thoughts on it. It's standard protocol here but my mw was very very on board with my declining te test. (I think moreso than me taking it.)
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onetwoten View Post


I tested negative last time, no prep and will not test this time, with my midwifes blessing, and we will only treat if I or baby shows symptoms.

Gbs normally occurs in the body. It can be there one day, gone the next, and back the next week. It does seem like a lot of work to prevent a bacteri that really only matters on ONE specific day (that you can't predict).
Testing earlier won't tell you anything. That's one of my big beefs wth the test at 37 weeks even-- it doesn't tell you in you'll hBe gbs at birth- only if you are colonized on the exact date they do the test. So you could test negative at 37 weeks and colonize at 37.5 but your test is still going to show negative and so they'll treat you as negative. It's a very flawed system.

While this is true.. only about 8% of people that test negative later are positive at birth. So the 37 week test is fairly effective.

post #12 of 39
In some places, declining antibiotics at the hospital with a positive GBS test result in your record means CPS involvement, especially in a hospital transfer of a planned home birth. The attitude toward midwife attended home birth in my state (where CPMs are "alegal") is very negative and a negative GBS result is worth its weight in gold to me in the event of a transfer. So with my other pregnancies, the GBS test has been the only test I have done. Since the negative result was very important to have on record, I did everything in my power to ensure that is what we got. I usually start about 3-4 weeks before the test because I can't afford to take so many extra supplements for much longer.

@Activia, thanks for posting your list! In the past I relied a lot on echinacea, elderberry, and other immune-boosters as a part of my GBS prevention protocol that I now cannot take since I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. I also can no longer take garlic due to being on prescription blood thinners, so the other ideas are very helpful to me. I realize that not everyone sees a benefit in prevention, but wanted to let you know that you are not alone in thinking it is something worth considering.
post #13 of 39
Yes, the stress of so much precaution maybe a lot, but really the negative test result is worth it's weight in gold! If you are having a hospital birth and you do end up with a positive test result, I would advise trying to get to the hospital in very late stage of labor, if you can. Here, they want two rounds in you before you have the baby. My 1st labor did not follow text book labor stages, and we just decided to go in before the dr went home, so around 430 pm. I was fifteen days late and water still in tact, but they started me on penicillin at about 5pm. They said it was easy, and would just have to lie down for 15 min or so to get the iv. By the time dd was born, it was 4am and I'd had about 6 or seven rounds of penicillin, each taking at least 45 min to administer through iv! That was a lot of lying still hooked up to iv -no fun in natural birth! I don't know why they administered so slowly-it was crazy! I contribute it to a lot of issues after as well, but won't get into that:) If you get there closer to birth time, they won't be able to get that much in your system. I try my best to get a negative result now just in case I have to transfer. I don't think my midwife really cares much about the result, but if transferred, maybe it will help avoid the antibiotics.
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Activia View Post
 

While this is true.. only about 8% of people that test negative later are positive at birth. So the 37 week test is fairly effective.

Yes but how many people who test positive and are treated would test negative at birth? Really from a statistical perspective, the test is not valid. It's trying to measure (Or I suppose the HCPs are trying to use it for...) GBS results at the birth, and it doesn't show that. 

 

Sihaya-- definitely see what you're saying. That's essentially how I got onto the topic with my mw- I almost asked her outright if it was easier for her if I had no result, or if I had a positive and said no to antibiotics. fpr them -here- it's better to have no result, from what i could determine with her answer. 

post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by onetwoten View Post

Sihaya-- definitely see what you're saying. That's essentially how I got onto the topic with my mw- I almost asked her outright if it was easier for her if I had no result, or if I had a positive and said no to antibiotics. fpr them -here- it's better to have no result, from what i could determine with her answer. 
Gotcha! I know that's the case in some places. For me, at the hospital I would transfer to, no result is treated as positive, so that's definitely something you want to look into ahead of time!
post #16 of 39
Yeah if I decline them here the nurses will pooh pooh (and likely an ob if I had one) but there really is little risk of anything actually being done. They just don't like it. So I basically told the mw I'm willing to do the test if a negative result would make it much easier for her, but also with the knowledge that I would not take antibiotics without symptoms even if I did have a positive result. Thankfully she's very evidence based and started quoting me all the studies about how treating based on the test, results in the same percentage of infections as treating based on symptoms/risk factors. I kind of fell in love with her. Lol
post #17 of 39
I'll definitely be taking preventative measures this time around. I tested negative with DS, but since then, I've had a series of infections (strep, rheumatic fever, staph, and yeast infections) and antibiotic treatment (leading to more infections...) that make me nervous about testing this time--- and nervous about my immune system in general. I'm already doing garlic suppositories, probiotics, and I've cut out all sugar and flour from my diet in hopes of curing a current yeast infection ( my third so far this pregnancy.) Praying that these measures will get rid of all the bad bugs in my system- including strep B. Sihaya- you reminded me that I should probably take some immune-boosting herbs as well.
post #18 of 39

Don't get me wrong, I think preventing is wise. I'm just not a fan up putting things up my vagina that don't need to be there. 

post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandy Lion View Post

Don't get me wrong, I think preventing is wise. I'm just not a fan up putting things up my vagina that don't need to be there. 
Having had to insert progesterone suppositories twice a day for three separate pregnancies, it just seems like another way to take medicine/supplements for me. I also have charted pretty consistently for the past 8 years, which has meant checking my cervix daily unless I was pregnant. Guess it's just a matter of what you're comfortable with.
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sihaya View Post


Having had to insert progesterone suppositories twice a day for three separate pregnancies, it just seems like another way to take medicine/supplements for me. I also have charted pretty consistently for the past 8 years, which has meant checking my cervix daily unless I was pregnant. Guess it's just a matter of what you're comfortable with.

Honestly, I've never put vinegar or garlic in my vagina before so I don't really know what it's like. I have put it on my face though, and it totally dries it out. It's not an issue of whether or not I'm comfortable touching myself, it's an issue of whether or not I want to risk damaging delicate tissues without a reason to do it.

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