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DirtyHippie 11-29-2001 01:33 PM

I am pregnant with my third child. I had my son in a free standing birth center and decided to have the antibiotics for being GBS+. I am having a homebirth this time and am considering all of my other options. I would really prefer not to go the antibiotic route this time. The IV was a pain really and is an intervetnion i would rather not have. I am going to try everything I can so I don't test positive. If I do beyond using VERY minimal invasive procedures (whjich would be in a homebirth anyway) what have all of you done in alternative to using antibiotics? And what were the outcomes?

Erin Pavlina 11-29-2001 01:59 PM

I tested positive for Group B Strep with my pregnancy. I researched the heck out of it for months. There are really only three dangers and I decided that if I presented with the three dangers I would take antibiotics and if I didn't, I wouldn't.

The indicators are:

1. Fever (If you have a fever during labor, get the antibiotics)
2. Premature birth (if baby is less than 36 weeks gestation, get the antibiotics)
3. If the amniotic sac has been ruptured for longer than 24 hours.

For my pregnancy, none of these factors were in place so I denied the antibiotics. My doctors were furious. They sent 3 people in to see me to try to convince me otherwise.

They started out with, "Do you even know what Group B Strep is?" I then proceeded to describe to them in great detail everythign I had learned (all while having contractions mind you!) and by the time I was finished spouting off facts and statistics they said, "Well, that was the best explanation of GBS I have heard since Medical School. You obviously are well informed so we won't ask you again. Will you please sign this waiver."

So I signed the waiver. Emily was fine. They tested her and she didn't have it. If I were to be pregnant again I would follow the same logic. If those three danger factors are present, I would deem the antibiotic use of greater benefit than harm. Otherwise, no antibiotics.

Hope this helps!

boobybooby 11-29-2001 07:47 PM

Hi Erin,
Since you said you researched group b strep thoroughly maybe you can answer a few questions for me. A friend of mine has been testing positive for it now for 1 year! She's not pregnant but wants a baby, and has suffered a miscarriage in the last year too. She's had symptoms of vaginal burning for a year and they only recently figured out that it is strep b! Poor dear. They tested her for everything in the world before trying that and now they tell her that "since she's had it for so long, they're having a hard time getting rid of it!" She's already done 3 or 4 rounds of very strong anti's, and still has it. Her Dr. wants to have her on antibiotics for the entire pregnancy, and in delivery (which they also said will probably be a c-section!)if she conceives. So, my question is, why do they prescribe anti's for the whole pregnancy? Is there a danger to the baby? They told her the miscarriage had nothing to do with the strep b so why the antibiotics during pregnancy? Is this some other kind of strep b, more toxic or something? Maybe you would know or have a place of info that I can direct her to! I've been trying to send her to my kinesiologist but she's not going for it. I'm so afraid that they are not helping her, but maybe hurting her in the long run with all these drugs. Thank you!

GentleMoon 11-30-2001 03:34 AM

I'm not Erin... but I do know that it's very uncommon to have any symptoms of GBS. I also know from research that oral antibiotics will *not* do a thing for GBS. Neither will a C-section!! They *have* done studies on this, and babies who have been born via C-sec have the same GBS rates as those born vaginally.

IV ab's for mom during labor is the only thing medically proven to protect the baby.

I tested + in a pregnancy, and my research yielded the same results as Erin's. In addition, it is very important to point out that GBS should not be tested in the mom until 37 weeks. By nature, it comes and goes quickly. Any earlier testing then that wouldn't really tell you a thing about what would happen during delivery. Good luck finding a practitioner (doc or midwife) who is up to date on that fact though! I can't believe how early some still test... and prescribe those oral ab's that have been proven to do nothing to the GBS...

Personally, my choice was the same as Erin's. Also, I was tested at 33 weeks so I basically decided to "ignore" my results since it was so early. I opted not to retest. It was a homebirth. It's not something to take lightly at all, just something to do a lot of research on. I also prayed a lot about my decision, and I know it was the right one for my baby and I.

DirtyHippie 11-30-2001 09:52 AM

I read what you said about your friend. What her doctor is reccomending is ridiculous and pretty dangerous as well. GBS+ women are NOT supposed to have antibiotics during pregnancy for GBS as a matter of fact many care providers try to avoid them if they can for anything. It causes mom to build up a resistance to them and then if she wants antibiotics during labor (or has certain risk factors and has to have them) and they are basically useless. Also antiboitics does NOT change your status of being GBS+. A good diet, echinacea, and vitamin c can. I would reccomend she find a new doctor anf FAST! He also said she would probably need a c-section for being GBS+? Oh my, a c-section mom has JUST as a high rate of GBS onset as a vaginal birth.

Erin Pavlina 11-30-2001 11:29 AM

Yes, I would say antibiotics during pregnancy is ridiculous. A baby is not at risk until it is born.

They tested me at *8* weeks! Stupid people. So they kept trying to push antibs on me for months. I kept declining and they kept saying I was putting my baby at risk.

So I said, "If my baby is born at 16 weeks she's not going to live anyway!" They stopped buggin me. They're trying to cover their asses. I would decline antibiotics unless I presented with the three symptoms I mentioned.

valeria_vi 11-30-2001 04:24 PM

do you mind sharing what you have learned and the speech you presented in th ehospital?

boobybooby 11-30-2001 05:50 PM

I read all of your thoughts, thank you so much. I just can't help feeling so useless to my friend, who really thinks that her Dr.'s are helping her. Yet, when I point out that she is still sick after 1 year plus, she doesn't make the connection that they do not know what they're doing and may not really be helping her at all!

She has literally been taking antibiotics for GBS for at least 6 months, injections and all! Because they can't get rid of it. And, because she does have symptoms, vaginal burning all the time. I wonder if the vag burning is something else? They're telling her it's the GBS and that she is just a rare case that HAS symptoms. But if I understood right what someone said here, there is no reason to try and get rid of her GBS? That just the ab's in labor are advised to protect the baby? I'm going to share the resistence theory with her for sure as well. She could really be putting her baby and self at risk if something goes wrong and she doesn't respond to ab's, especially with the flu season coming! Did I mention that she also has allergies and athsma really bad, so do her 2 sons. She is just such a great friend of mine but has a really hard time hearing anything I suggest to her! She's been to the infectious specialist who also claims that HE will be the one treating her for GBS during the pregnancy (if she conceives). I am sitting here getting so scared for her, and it hasn't even happened yet! Thank you everyone for the information, it's been immensly helpful, I'll pass it along to her.

lunarmomma 11-30-2001 06:16 PM

maybe your friend has a yeast infection??
that is common in pregnancy and the symptoms you describe might be that.
who knows, but doing a culture sure wouldn't hurt.

Mommy22B 12-05-2001 02:11 AM

My midwife doesn't test for Group B strep but she said I could get tested if I want to. I am going to an OB this Thursday for a get aquainted visit so I could gett the test then. But do I really want to? I don't really understand how thewhole thing works. Is it only a danger to baby if baby is early or if the waters break and labor isn';t immediate? If the baby came early I would go to the hospital anyway (before 37 weeks) and the same thing if my waters break without labor. So could they just do the test when i am admitted then? I was fine on this test when i was pregnant with dd so will I most likely be fine now too? Am I worrying too much?????? LOL Just don't want unecesary tests...

Erin Pavlina 12-05-2001 02:00 PM

Technically they CAN do the test while you're there but it takes so long to get the results that it may not do any good.

Group B Strep is really a danger under only three conditions:

1. If you go into labor and have or develop a fever.

2. If your water breaks and you don't deliver within I think 24 hours.

3. If you deliver before 37 weeks.

Under those three conditions I would consider having the antibiotics at birth.

Whether to get tested or not...hmmm... I think I would go ahead and get tested that way you'll have all the facts and can make an informed decision. But don't let them pressure you into anything.

I did a lot of research on the subject when I was pregnant and was positive for GBS. I declined antibiotics in labor and my baby was fine and healthy.

valeria_vi 12-05-2001 02:58 PM

are you still reading this? I would really like to know. THANKS.

LukesMum 12-05-2001 04:13 PM

I tested negative for GBS when pregnant--but positive when ds was 1 1/2 years. At first they thought it was a yeast infection but I went back and they "rediagnosed " me with Strep B I was treated with antibiotics but am now wondering if that was pointless......could I still have GBS?? How can I clear up before baby #2. FYI My midwife was pretty adimate(sp?) that if I choose to test for GBS and it was positive I HAD to treat it with antiobiotics during labor .

Erin Pavlina 12-05-2001 05:05 PM

Yep I am still here and reading. I think there are several GBS threads and I forgot about this one.

My speech...hard to remember word for word. I don't want to give wrong information, but this is the gist.

"I know that 33% of women will test positive for Group B Strep and I know that there is only a 10-20% chance that my baby will be born as a carrier of GBS and OF THAT, only 1-2% will actually develop an infection which can then be treated with antibiotics. I know antibiotics are not good to give to a newborn, but I'd rather give them to her if she needs them than to me if I don't need them (since she will get them across the placenta anyway).

I also know that premature babies who DO contract a GBS infection have a 50% chance of dying from it, so if my baby were premature, which she is not, I would have taken antibiotics during labor.

If I develop a fever during my labor I will consider taking antibiotics, which I know are only effective in preventing a GBS infection IF they've been in MY system for at least 8 hours. If my water breaks and it appears I will deliver within 12 hours I won't be needing the antibiotics."

That's the gist.

I am very against using antibiotics to prevent a disease you don't have. How does that make sense? You can be a carrier of GBS and not have an infection. If I was actually infected with GBS I would consider taking antibiotics. Otherwise, no.

Also, it's important to note that a c-section will not prevent GBS complications. It's the exact same risks as I've identified above.

I hope that helps.

Birth Junkie 12-13-2001 02:10 AM

Just got done doing all the research I possibly could for GBS. There's a chance you can reduce or eliminate it. Check it out at

Birth Junkie 12-13-2001 02:11 AM

check out

Allana 12-20-2001 04:01 AM

I tested negitive for GBS when I was preg with my dd. She came down with GBS at 5 weeks and was admitted to the hopital for 2 weeks! So as you can see the test isn't that accurate. If you test positve when they do the test you may or may not be when you go into labor. I believe there is a test they can do when you go into labor, but I as of Sept it wasn't available yet. When I had my ds in Sept. my water broke, but I didn't start contractions. I know that after 12 hours of no contactions after your water breaks there is an increase of passing the GBS onto the baby. So I had to be given pitocin and the antibiotics during labor.

Also, I didn't have any of the things they tell you to look for when thinking about GBS, one of which is yeast infections while you are pregnant, I don't remember what the others were. If you want more details on what happened to us you can send me a pm or email.

Allana 12-20-2001 04:17 AM

Dirty Hippy,
I tested neg for GBS while preg with my first and she came down with GBS at 5 weeks. She was very sick and reqired 2 weeks hospitalization and IV antibiotics. Even though I know the chances of babies getting sick are very small I think I heard 1-2%, I opted to go for the anitbiotics during the labor of my 2nd. My midwife said it would be best especially since my first did get it. I just thought I would let you know my experience.

Medium Geek 12-22-2001 05:16 AM

My midwife and I were just discussing the issues around GBS at my appointment this week. She gave me a few interesting pieces of information:

1. Most women have GBS present in the vagina off and on, from time to time. It can come and go rather quickly, within weeks or even days. Hence, it really does no good to test until the last few weeks of pregnancy. Even then, if you test positive you could still end up being negative (NO presence of GBS in the vagina) during labor and delivery.

2. The GBS test is a culture (vaginal swab), but it takes 48 hours to come back from the lab. So you really can't test on your way into labor.

3. Our local university hospital, known for being conservative and highly interventionist, has taken more of a "wait and see" attitude with GBS. I don't know all the details, but they are at least asking questions like the 3 Erin listed, before they hook up the IV antibiotics.

4. There was a study published recently that showed the routine use of IV antibiotics during labor did reduce the number of GBS positive babies, but it also INCREASED the number of babies with infections due to E. coli. The mechanism for this is not clear, but it shows that routine use of antibiotics can have unanticipated side-effects. And since we know that at least some of those moms receiving IV ab's were actually GBS negative, their babies were exposed to the E. coli infection risk unneccesarily.

I haven't decided what to do yet in regards to GBS testing, but I really appreciate the information I've gathered here on the boards. I can always count on you women to be informed and asking all the right questions. Thanks for being here!

Take care,


DirtyHippie 12-22-2001 03:14 PM

Thank you all for your responses! I think I have decided not to do the antibiotics. I have found enough compelling information to sway me the other way. If I develop any of the signs or risk factors then I will recieve them.

AutumnMoonfire 01-05-2002 03:30 AM

There was a time, prior to testing that GBS killed babies, I agree with Erin that not everyone needs antibiotics in labor but I do want to say to the home birthing mamas that at the hospital I work in we do vital signs every 4 hours on babies of GBS+ moms. We are looking for increased resperations (60+ per minute)labored respirations, or babies who can't seem to stay warm no matter what we do. This is done regardless of Mom getting antibiotics "in time" as well as regardless of vag birth or c-sections. Another warning sign that would trigger closer attention would be low blood suger despite nursing well. I don't think home birth mamas check that, but cold babies can sometimes be "cured" by nursing. They are cold partly because they are hungry. I could go on and on, but if you are GBS+ select a pedi you can really talk to and who listens closely.

I may work at a hospital but I have no problem with home birth. I think it's cool in fact and would have done it if I could have found a midwife for my first. By the time dd#2 came along, I worked there and felt like I was home.

DirtyHippie 01-05-2002 11:33 AM

With homebirth/birth center births they are instructed what to look for. No they do not make a common practice of checking blood sugar because it is invasive and unless they show signs they dont so it. A lot of it is trust in mom.

megangaia 01-07-2002 11:48 PM

What about garlic? My midwife suggested that to me when I tested positive. I don't know the details, but I've used garlic to kill yeast infections

indigolilybear 01-10-2002 01:16 AM

I tested positive w/ baby one. and my midwives gave me a homeopathic remedy that didn't work and then a homeopathic suppository treatment. This did work but some psychological work I did also during this time was to talk positively to my vagina. I know this may sound crazy but I theorized that the idea of having germs or sickness in my yoni was something that I could change w/the way I viewed myself/body and perphaps my body trying to tell me something....a way for healing.
my husband and I talked to my yoni each night telling it that it was beautiful, clean, healthy, etc. I consider myself to be a fairly body aware type person but was surprised at how healing this felt. I realized how many detrimental ideas were still held there and tried to release them and just love my body and yoni. <sigh> what a long path!!!
well, I"m sure this is kind of weird for some people but it might strike a cord w/ others. hope this helps

valeria_vi 01-10-2002 01:50 AM

could you please share which treatments did you use and also how did you make sure that the effect lasted up to your delivery?

oddonein 01-11-2002 09:00 AM

I personally would not use garlic to treat GBS. Garlic can increase bleeding which is defintely not something you want to do before giving birth.

indigolilybear 01-12-2002 12:14 AM

could you please share which treatments did you use and also how did you make sure that the effect lasted up to your delivery? ]

I am not sure of teh name of teh treatments, they were given to my by my midwives.....if someone needs to know, you could call their business "birth babies and beyond" in Encinitas, CA. They may be able to help you.
they did repeat cultures and I had had one neg. back by the time I delivered my baby. Protocol calls for *2* neg. tests back before you don't have to use midwife took a leap of faith on it and went ahead anyway w/o them.

erika 01-24-2002 12:30 PM

just wanted to clarify something - gbs can cause 2nd trimester miscarriages and preterm labor. "GBS appeared to be the most significant pathogen in midgestation miscarriage, especially with intact membranes" (from “Intrauterine infection and spontaneous midgestation abortion: is the spectrum of microorganisms similar to that in preterm labor?” Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2000;8(5-6):220-7)

women with repeated 2nd trimester (not 1st) miscarriages are often treated -not continously- but intermittently with antibiotics throughout pregnancy and go on to have full-term pregnancies.

prophylactic antibiotics in labor are not associated with e. coli, but antibiotic exposure throughout pregnancy IS associated with e.coli.

gbs comes and goes and it is correct that the culture must be done around 37 weeks to be accurate - however, gbs earlier in pregnancy can be problematic as well.

i had 2 homebirths with iv antibiotics (the iv was removed immediately after). it was probably overkill, but since i never take antibiotics otherwise i didn't think a dose during labor would cause resistance. ironically, i probably would not have had antibiotics in a hospital because my only risk factor was a positive culture. however, since the baby was not being monitored for 24-48 hours after birth (yay!) by hospital staff, my midwife prefers to err on the side of caution.

it's a risk-benefit analysis that those with gbs have to make.

sarahwebb 02-13-2002 01:31 AM

Originally posted by Allana
I tested neg for GBS while preg with my first and she came down with GBS at 5 weeks. <snip> I opted to go for the anitbiotics during the labor of my 2nd...
Dear Allana and everyone,

I'm curious, how likely is it that your first daughter caught GBS from you? Are there other ways that an infant or child could contract this infection?

New and learning,

Allana 02-13-2002 04:22 PM

From how it was explained to me is that she contracted it from me during delivery. I haven't heard about other ways to contract it. I had a very long pushing stage with her (four hours), so she was exposed for a while. I just assumed that could have played a part. I had no other symptoms they say to look for. The pediatrician that treated her said that for her to have gotten sick so late is very rare, but it does happen.

The midwife I had for my son's birth said that she wouldn't rupture my membranes and that she recomending the antibiotics. As it turns out my water broke, but I never started contractions and because of the GBS factor I had to go in after a few hours and start pit and antibiotics. I opted for the pitocin, so I wouldn't have to have so much of the antibiotics during labor. It actually wasn't as bad as I had feared. I couldn't tell the difference with pitocin induced contractions and the ones I had naturally with my daughter. I think that was due to the fact that my water had broken on its own, and I had started to dialate and my cervix was soft, so my body was ready, but needed a little help getting started. My labor nurse monitered the contractions very carefully so they didn't come on to fast and hard. She was really helpful. I was still able to achieve a natural birth with out pain medication. The biggest pain was that they had to monitor the baby closely, so I wasn't able to be as mobile as I wanted. Anyway, this turned out to be a labor story. I do think that if I am ever to have another baby (we're pretty sure we are done!), I am going to look into more information, so I don't have to deal with antibiotics and IV's.

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