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!