Let's talk about GBS testing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My midwife gave me some literature on Group B strep since that's the next test we have to think about.  She personally wouldn't make a recommendation either way since it's a tough one to decide on.... She also mentioned my options if we do test positive, which don't seem all that great.  

 

Background- I had GBS with my DS1, and had a hospital induction so I was hooked up to antibiotics basically the entire labor (23 hours).  

 

Since I am a second-time mom, she is unsure if we would even be able to get in a full dose of the antibiotics by the time I arrived at the birth center.  She would try, but there are no guarantees.  So, it makes me wonder if I should even test?  

I know that 30% of women will have it at the time of labor, but only 1% of babies get sick.  That is not an impressive risk, to me, but I also know that I won't be in a hospital this time *if* baby did need help breathing, etc.  

 

I asked about alternative therapies to prevent and/or treat GBS and she said she has not had good luck with any of them. 

Has anyone started thinking about this?  I am thinking of just getting tested so I know, and hoping for a negative of course.  

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#2 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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The research that I've done says that you're more likely to have a negative reaction from the antibiotics than you are to have an issue with GBS.  I decline the test, because it just stresses people out if the KNOW that you have it.  The antibiotics are not even proven to be effective, so some babies still get sick even if you get them..

 

There are also a lot of natural remedies that can be done before birth to greatly minimize the "risk".  You don't need to know if you have it in order to do the preventative measures.  Several of my friends have gone this route and it worked well for them.


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#3 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Jbk - thanks for bringing this up.  I'm just over 30 weeks now, and the GBS test has been on my radar.  I have a feeling I'll need to get it, since my birth center has a whole lot of requirements for women who want to give birth there and not at the hospital.  But I'm not sure.  And I don't know if they require the mom to get treatment if she wants to give birth in the center.  I have my next appointment on Friday, so I'll find out then.

 

Abra - I'd love to hear about some of these natural remedies.  Even if they aren't proven to be effective, I'd rather do that than have an IV drip of penicillin!

 

There are many tests I've declined (ie genetic screening, etc), but I don't know what I'd do if I had to make the decision about the GBS test.  On the one hand, it seems the risk to the baby is SO low, I might as well not test at all.  On the other hand, there is a 70% chance I'd test negative - and that would take the issue off the table altogether, which would be nice!

 

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#4 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 06:23 PM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/herbal-treatments-for-group-b-strep


 

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Originally Posted by MrsKatie View Post

Jbk - thanks for bringing this up.  I'm just over 30 weeks now, and the GBS test has been on my radar.  I have a feeling I'll need to get it, since my birth center has a whole lot of requirements for women who want to give birth there and not at the hospital.  But I'm not sure.  And I don't know if they require the mom to get treatment if she wants to give birth in the center.  I have my next appointment on Friday, so I'll find out then.

 

Abra - I'd love to hear about some of these natural remedies.  Even if they aren't proven to be effective, I'd rather do that than have an IV drip of penicillin!

 

There are many tests I've declined (ie genetic screening, etc), but I don't know what I'd do if I had to make the decision about the GBS test.  On the one hand, it seems the risk to the baby is SO low, I might as well not test at all.  On the other hand, there is a 70% chance I'd test negative - and that would take the issue off the table altogether, which would be nice!

 

Curious to hear more thoughts about this one...



 


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#5 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is how I feel- I'd like the relief of just not having it.  I think I'll test- it's not a big deal anyway, just a quick swab. 

 

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Originally Posted by MrsKatie View Post

 

There are many tests I've declined (ie genetic screening, etc), but I don't know what I'd do if I had to make the decision about the GBS test.  On the one hand, it seems the risk to the baby is SO low, I might as well not test at all.  On the other hand, there is a 70% chance I'd test negative - and that would take the issue off the table altogether, which would be nice!

 

Curious to hear more thoughts about this one...



 

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#6 of 22 Old 08-29-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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Since I am going unassisted, I think about it alot. I'm now doing the rest of my pregnancy unassisted unless a problem arises. I wasn't positive for GBS any of the other two times. I don't know any ways to cut down chances of infection to baby, but you can ask any of the women from the Unassisted Homebirth board. :)

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#7 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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Last time, I was seeing an OB for shadow care and got it just to avoid rocking the boat any more than I already was. I took probiotics, garlic oil, and ate lots of garlic and vitamin C for a few weeks prior, as well as rinsing daily with Hibiclens in the week up to the test to hopefully guarantee a negative test. My midwife only recommends it as a CYA measure. If you transfer to the hospital here w/o a negative GBS test, and you don't want antibiotics, they WILL call CPS on you. (If I had been positive, my MW prefers Hibiclens every 4 hours after rupture of membranes to antibiotics.)

 

I haven't decided what to do this time. If I get the test again, I'll take all the same precautionary measures to insure a negative result.


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#8 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if I can eat lots of raw garlic... I am getting heartburn SO bad- even just with whole grains and veggies.  But I've heard lots of probiotics help, too, by increasing the body's good bacteria.  Anyone heard of this?  I remember another remedy recommended by a homebirth MW but I don't recall what it was.  I think I wrote it down somewhere....

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#9 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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Yes, the probiotics boost the good bacteria in your system. Not sure how long you need to take probiotics for them to be truly effective.

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#10 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Very interesting... This has also been high on my thought list too... At my birth center they highly recommend the test just so that you know before hand and can take the necessary precautions if y. My midwife also just told me about some new research that seems to support that water births that occur with a mother that did test positive for GBS seem to help reduce passing it on to the baby. Here's the article that talks about it... 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21322437


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#11 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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I'm not getting the test--I'm doing the natural preventative measures and leaving it at that.  The thing with hospital settings, is if you test positive, even if its' at 32 weeks, they'll make you have antibiotics in labor.  however, GBS status can change in a matter of days, so the logic of testing so early is, well....?


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#12 of 22 Old 08-30-2011, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystal323 View Post

I'm not getting the test--I'm doing the natural preventative measures and leaving it at that.  The thing with hospital settings, is if you test positive, even if its' at 32 weeks, they'll make you have antibiotics in labor.  however, GBS status can change in a matter of days, so the logic of testing so early is, well....?



I think it's probably for premature labor or births around 37 weeks because those babies are at much higher risk for developing GBS illness. 

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#13 of 22 Old 09-05-2011, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone heard any reviews of Fem-dophilus?  I'm thinking I'll try that before the test.... 

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#14 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 05:43 AM
 
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I tested positive for GBS last time but I am pretty sure they did the test much later than 32 weeks.  I feel like it was more like 35 weeks?  I don't know, maybe that's just how it worked out with my appointments.  But I ended up having my baby maybe 2-3 weeks later and I did get the abx. I was ok with that because I don't think I could've lived with myself if he had gotten sick.  

 

But this time, I was talking to the doctor and she looked over my chart and said, "well it looks like you were GBS positive last time so we'll make sure you get the abx this time, too." 

I was like, "wouldn't I retest for that since that was well over a year ago? I thought it was something that comes and goes." So she then agreed that we would go ahead and retest later in my pregnancy. 

 

I guess I should've asked more questions, but it was at the very end of the appointment and my son was being really distracting so I ended up leaving.  Now I'm wondering....is this something that some women are just more prone to?  And also, since my last baby was born early, would he have been at a high risk for becoming infected?  If that is the case, I'd be concerned about opting out because who knows if you will end up with an early baby? He wasn't born super early, but around 37-38 weeks.  (37 according to my own dates, 38 according to theirs.) He didn't have any health problems but did have issues that "slightly early babies" have like not latching on well, sleeping constantly, falling asleep after latching for 2 seconds, etc.  

 

Also I'd like to add that it kinda did suck to be hooked up to the abx while in labor.  I had to have a stupid IV the whole time and if I wanted to walk around, I had to have my husband drag the IV machine behind me. Not fun but it was what it was!

 

 

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#15 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think they don't usually test until 35-37 weeks.  It is a good thing you got the abx last time since baby was a little early- earlier babies are more prone to become ill from GBS.  

 

From what I've read, it is pretty random (everybody has the bacteria at some point, it's just whether or not you get it close to labor time).  So 30% of women will have it at any given time.  For instance, I could have it now but then not at 36 weeks.  I think the only thing that makes someone more prone to having the bacteria is if you have constant yeast infections or an otherwise abnormal pH balance in the vagina, thus the probiotic treatments are helpful because they increase the good bacteria and eliminate (hopefully) the bad GBS bacteria.  Garlic also gets right of the bacteria (it is an antibacterial) and tea tree oil treatments (heavily diluted in something like olive oil) are helpful because TT oil is antimicrobial. 

 

I had GBS last time but I had no yeast infections, so it is just pretty random.

 

For a full term baby, the chance of getting GBS illness is around 1%.  Of those babies that are ill, 0.5% will die.  These are really, really, really low numbers, but as I said it is much more risky for an early baby.  If you think you'll birth early again, I'd definitely test and then if you are positive I'd talk to your doc about Hibiclens during labor or opt for the antibiotics (which do carry their own risks.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini529 View Post

I tested positive for GBS last time but I am pretty sure they did the test much later than 32 weeks.  I feel like it was more like 35 weeks?  I don't know, maybe that's just how it worked out with my appointments.  But I ended up having my baby maybe 2-3 weeks later and I did get the abx. I was ok with that because I don't think I could've lived with myself if he had gotten sick.  

 

But this time, I was talking to the doctor and she looked over my chart and said, "well it looks like you were GBS positive last time so we'll make sure you get the abx this time, too." 

I was like, "wouldn't I retest for that since that was well over a year ago? I thought it was something that comes and goes." So she then agreed that we would go ahead and retest later in my pregnancy. 

 

I guess I should've asked more questions, but it was at the very end of the appointment and my son was being really distracting so I ended up leaving.  Now I'm wondering....is this something that some women are just more prone to?  And also, since my last baby was born early, would he have been at a high risk for becoming infected?  If that is the case, I'd be concerned about opting out because who knows if you will end up with an early baby? He wasn't born super early, but around 37-38 weeks.  (37 according to my own dates, 38 according to theirs.) He didn't have any health problems but did have issues that "slightly early babies" have like not latching on well, sleeping constantly, falling asleep after latching for 2 seconds, etc.  

 

Also I'd like to add that it kinda did suck to be hooked up to the abx while in labor.  I had to have a stupid IV the whole time and if I wanted to walk around, I had to have my husband drag the IV machine behind me. Not fun but it was what it was!

 

 



 

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#16 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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I won't be getting the GBS test b/c my mw is illegal here and cannot send cultures or blood into a lab for testing in this state.  But she was very unconcerned about it and especially so b/c I did not have it with either of my other two pregnancies.  So I would make the assumption based on that reaction and the reaction of Gemini's care provider that some women are more likely to have it and if you've had it before a more likely to have it again and vice versa.  But I don't have research on hand to officially back this up. 

 

My mw also mentioned Hibiclens, probiotics, garlic, etc. if I wanted to try some preventatives, which I already knew.  Even if I was positive I would decline the AB's during labor and treat baby after the birth if symptoms arise.  Newborns do not need their systems unnecessarily taxed right after birth with something like AB's.  All newborns should be monitored by the parents (and are usually checked in on by the mw and/or ped) anyway b/c even if you don't have it at 36 weeks (the typical time of the test), that doesn't mean you don't have it when you give birth. 


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#17 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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Thanks for weighing in jaimee and jkb21. I am not sure what will do going forward but if I go into labor early again I will pobably opt for the abx...assuming I test positive again. I don't know exactly what causes itbut I have never had a yeast infection so I don't think that's it in my case.
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#18 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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I have an appointment with a clinical midwife at 37 weeks to get the GBS test. (I've only seen her a few times just so the hospital will allow me to birth with the midwives there if for some reason I have to have a hospital birth.) I asked my regular op home-birthing midwife if that test was necessary and she suggested I just go ahead with it so that she can administer her own treatment when I'm birthing at home if need be. I think she does that cleanse thing too. But she also told me to take extra probiotics for several weeks leading up to the test to help decrease my odds of testing positive. I told her that if I do test positive, I'm going to refuse antibiotics. There is NO WAY I'm using them. I've been so heavily medicated with antibiotics my whole life unnecessarily (overzealous parents...) and I have lasting problems from it, not to mention I am allergic to Penicillin. The clinical midwife said they could give me something else but I got the feeling that the other antibiotics didn't sound as safe for the baby. I could be wrong, though. In any case, I won't do it.

 

I'm going to start eating raw garlic now, too, thanks to all of the suggestions on this thread! I don't mind eating it, and if it'll only help me - why not?


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#19 of 22 Old 09-06-2011, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, penicillin is the only antibiotic that is effective against GBS.  So you're right :)

 

I've also heard you can insert a clove of garlic into your vagina.  I mean, I think it would be super-effective, but I also would be kind of weirded out that my va-jay-jay smelled like garlic.  Am I alone in feeling this way??


 

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I have an appointment with a clinical midwife at 37 weeks to get the GBS test. (I've only seen her a few times just so the hospital will allow me to birth with the midwives there if for some reason I have to have a hospital birth.) I asked my regular op home-birthing midwife if that test was necessary and she suggested I just go ahead with it so that she can administer her own treatment when I'm birthing at home if need be. I think she does that cleanse thing too. But she also told me to take extra probiotics for several weeks leading up to the test to help decrease my odds of testing positive. I told her that if I do test positive, I'm going to refuse antibiotics. There is NO WAY I'm using them. I've been so heavily medicated with antibiotics my whole life unnecessarily (overzealous parents...) and I have lasting problems from it, not to mention I am allergic to Penicillin. The clinical midwife said they could give me something else but I got the feeling that the other antibiotics didn't sound as safe for the baby. I could be wrong, though. In any case, I won't do it.

 

I'm going to start eating raw garlic now, too, thanks to all of the suggestions on this thread! I don't mind eating it, and if it'll only help me - why not?



 

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#20 of 22 Old 09-07-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jbk21 View Post

I've also heard you can insert a clove of garlic into your vagina.  I mean, I think it would be super-effective, but I also would be kind of weirded out that my va-jay-jay smelled like garlic.  Am I alone in feeling this way??



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#21 of 22 Old 09-07-2011, 07:36 AM
 
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I just spoke with my mw about the GBS screening last week.  They treat most moms like they are positive in general (hibiclens douche after ruptured membranes and hibiclens basically anytime anything is going in there ;) but they still like to test because they feel it's good to have all the info possible when/if it comes down to making tough decisions. My mw doesn't specifically advocate many screenings and since I was positive with my 1st and it one of the less invasive tests, I will just go ahead and have it.  It really doesn't seem to change much about my care with my mw and if positive then I will be prepared to start the natural remedies. 

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#22 of 22 Old 09-07-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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I tested positive and will be receiving antibiotics when I go into labor.  I don't like the idea, but I have already lost one child (to a different illness) and I know what happens when a newborn runs a fever.  I would rather take the antibiotic hit myself than put another child through what my DS went through.

 

My fourth (a homebirth) started running a fever 3 days after he was born.  He was immediately admitted to the pediatric ward of the hospital and they started running tests and administering antibiotics.  Many of the tests took several days to get results so they basically treated for everything until something was ruled out.  He also got a spinal tap.  The reasoning behind this aggressive course of treatment was that there are benign reasons that newborns can run fevers and there are also deadly reasons that newborns can run fevers and by the time they figure out which it can be too late to treat.  I would rather aggressively treat and find out that it was benign than wait to figure out what it is and lose another baby.  BTW, this child is now a vibrant and precocious nine year old.

 

Long story short, a short treatment for me beats the heck out of three days of treatments and tests for my newborn.

 

 


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