Group B Strep

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robichek

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Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Tue Jan 12, 19:03 2016

Just got word that I'm positive for Groub B Strep, and I'm due next week. Wanted a natural/unmedicated birth but that's not as much of a bummer as the idea that my baby will now be at risk for some unforeseen amount of time and I will be freaking out every time he comes into contact with anyone, at the hospital, at home, with relatives, whatever. :-(

Anybody have experience with this? I wasn't GBS positive the first time around, and now I'm blaming myself for having too much sugar in my diet this time around, probably contributing the growth of the bacteria...

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by ladyhawk » Tue Jan 12, 19:15 2016

My aunt tested positive with her second, and was assured that with four or so hours of IV antibiotics during labor/just prior to birth, everything would be fine. (Or, you know, had a really high probability of being just fine.) Her baby was and is healthy. (She's now four.)

Have you spoken with your provider yet, or did they just call you with results? If you haven't spoken with them yet, maybe trying to discuss it with them would put your mind a bit more at ease, and present you with what your options are, so you would know what you might expect beforehand? Maybe you'd still be able try for an unmedicated birth (you know, except antibiotics?) with relatively low risk.

Call your provider! Ask lots of questions!

I know it's easier said than done, but don't blame yourself. Anyone can carry this bacteria, at any time, from what I understand.
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by spacefem » Tue Jan 12, 21:04 2016

Yeah I don't think group b strep has anything to do with sugary diets, the articles I've read say we all have it, just sometimes it cycles weirdly and catches us when we're about to give birth and then it's an issue. Why are you thinking you can't you have a natural birth? I mean, you'll be on antibiotics sure, but there's nothing about group b strep I know of that would force a c-section or epidural.
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robichek

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Wed Jan 13, 11:12 2016

spacefem wrote:Why are you thinking you can't you have a natural birth? I mean, you'll be on antibiotics sure, but there's nothing about group b strep I know of that would force a c-section or epidural.
Yes, I definitely hope there is no other intervention during labor... But introducing antibiotics to my baby before it's even born is not something I wanted and definitely makes the birth no longer natural for me. It makes me worry about all kinds of other things, ridding the baby of good bacteria, possible allergic reaction in baby, and then of course just the risk of GBS itself. It's hard to be positive about it. Everyone says it'll be fine, but it's no longer fine to me. :-(

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Metcodon1 » Thu Jan 14, 12:52 2016

I really encourage you to let go of the "label" of natural birth. It's not like some magic wand that is the one true way to guarantee good outcomes and everyone else is screwed. I assume you're doing this because you want to give your baby and yourself the best chance - great! Unfortunately, we're not all dealt the same cards and don't get to deal in the same odds. Your odds have changed slightly due to the strep so that your baby will have better outcomes with antibiotics than without. None of us get to make decisions in a vacuum and many things effect how you give birth. I assume you won the placenta previa lottery. You probably won the gestational diabetes lottery. I'm assuming you won the "not a breech baby" lottery. You're probably going to win a couple more and lose a couple more. Some of these things are situations in which you can stack the odds (like gestational diabetes) but even stacking the odds guarantees nothing. Go look at some kindergartner's playing. Can you pick out the ones who were breastfed? the ones whose moms had an epidural? I assure you the answer is no.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't go about this parenting thing your way and make your choices. I'm just saying that you may want to be a little gentle with yourself - so many things in your future are outside of your control and yet, they'll almost certainly turn out ok.

I really love this article: http://groundedparents.com/2014/11/08/s ... w-parents/
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Aum » Thu Jan 14, 17:59 2016

Do you have symptoms of strep? The reason I ask is because if they found bacteria that weren't causing a problem then who cares?

My only concern about pre-natal antibiotics is that your baby won't get the opportunity to receive all the crucial gut flora in the first couple of days of being born because the antibiotics will kill them off. Those bacteria are crucial for the early formation of the immune system. They're received through breast feeding too.
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Thu Jan 14, 20:22 2016

Thank you for all the comments. Yes, my husband is also telling me that there are so many other things that could be going wrong or could go wrong and if this is all it is then we will be ok. I do agree and want to be positive about it. It's just hard. :-)

I've thought (briefly) about nixing the antibiotics, because it's true I have NO symptoms. But if anything went wrong (and I read several cases in the UK where it does), I would never forgive myself. I do worry about the baby's first days being full of antibiotics and the probable effect on his good bacteria and so on. It's like a rock and a hard place (but the rock can lead to death...)

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Aum » Fri Jan 15, 6:34 2016

The other thing you can do is get on a heavy duty probiotic regimen now. Eat a lot of home made fermented foods, like sauerkraut, milk or water kefir, kombucha, etc. Probiotic pills are garbage, generally... and yogurt is not the same. For kefir you need to obtain the cultured grains from somewhere, and for kombucha you must obtain a scoby, but it's well worth it. There's over 30 strains of bacteria in home brewed kefir, and it's pretty tasty... and super easy to make.

Group B strep is supposed to be in our bodies, it's part of our natural gut flora and it's also on our skin. Its overgrowth means that other bacterial populations in the gut are weakened or absent, so it takes over. If you increase the other populations, they suppress its overgrowth. The same is true of candida and yeast infections. You could even make home made apple cider vinegar and take a couple of doses of that per day because it contains acetobacter. Acetobacter is group of bacteria which actually produce acetic acid (vinegar) in the gut, which kills and suppresses other populations. I've had MRSA and got rid of it this way, along with using berberines.

Antibiotics will kill everything and if there's any group B strep left over it has the potential to come back stronger. Babies exposed to antibiotics early on are more likely to get lung infections, cradle cap, and other overgrowths. They can predict now which childhood ailments a baby is likely to come down with, based on their probiotic exposure at birth (through vaginal birth, breast feeding, etc.), such as asthma, eczema and psoriasis, etc. Modern medicine is already starting investigations into which bacteria do what, but since there are over 500 species in the gut, and they interact with each other and the body in complex ways, it's going to take decades. It's already a hot topic of developing research though.

When you're first born, the first year of life determines how your immune system is developed. Our environment is full of bacteria, but which ones are allowed in your body and which ones are destroyed by the immune system is determined by early exposure to bacteria, as passed to the infant by the mother. The body then learns which bacteria are OK and the immune system modulates itself based on that. You can tell where in the world someone comes from just from their gut bacteria ratios, and within family lineages there are different strains.

If you go for the antibiotics then make sure you are doing the ferments several times a day. Again, they have to be home made. Store bought stuff is pasteurized, or it's been packaged for so long that the bacteria in it are dead. I know it sounds like work but it's not. It's just a matter of learning and there's a lot of easy instructions on the web. Most other cultures have raw ferments in their diet but for some reason in the west we've lost touch with the practice.
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Fri Jan 15, 10:01 2016

Thank you, this is really good to know.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by spacefem » Fri Jan 15, 20:47 2016

When I was pregnant they had that awesome "I didn't know I was pregnant" show running on TLC, it had me hooked... maybe because I could fantasize about not dealing with any anxiety about pregnancy until SURPRISE a baby comes out!

Anyway the scary thing was these women had no prenatal care, did stupid stuff like ride roller coasters, but most of their babies came out just fine.

The only episodes I remember where things got scary were the ones involving undetected group b strep - which they mentioned on the show, is something we easily catch and treat with modern medicine so we aren't used to seeing complications from it, but those babies were sick, didn't adjust to life outside the womb without interventions and hospital stays, and they'd always say how lucky most women are to get prenatal care.

not saying it's safe to drink and smoke while you're pregnant just because some women on cable TV did it. just saying it's stories like those that made me happy we've got doctors. They aren't needed for much, nature does a pretty good job, like a 90% good job, but with modern medicine we get up to that 99.9999% safety rate we're looking for.
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Nutmeg » Sat Jan 16, 8:10 2016

I hate to be that anecdotal a-hole, but this is the first thread in my 38 weeks of visiting the site that compelled me to register and post. I've taken care of otherwise healthy babies (and their stunned parents) with life-threatening GBS infections. It's not something you want given that prevention is available. Yes, I think we under-appreciate the microbiome, but it's not an overstatement to say GBS can be life or death. Also, "antibiotics kill everything" is not a totally appropriate statement in this context. GBS prophylaxis is with penicillin, which has a relatively narrow spectrum of action. Best wishes to you and your family.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Sat Jan 16, 18:06 2016

Thank you ladies.

To be clear, I fully plan to be on antibiotics when in labor, as prescribed. I also want to make sure I'm loading myself with all the other "good" stuff to help with the bad.

You are all very helpful and I appreciate the comments. Thanks! Something like 5 more days to go...

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Aum » Sun Jan 17, 0:12 2016

Nutmeg wrote:I hate to be that anecdotal a-hole, but this is the first thread in my 38 weeks of visiting the site that compelled me to register and post. I've taken care of otherwise healthy babies (and their stunned parents) with life-threatening GBS infections. It's not something you want given that prevention is available. Yes, I think we under-appreciate the microbiome, but it's not an overstatement to say GBS can be life or death. Also, "antibiotics kill everything" is not a totally appropriate statement in this context. GBS prophylaxis is with penicillin, which has a relatively narrow spectrum of action. Best wishes to you and your family.
I never said not to do antibiotics. I was providing alternative information that is usually lacking in this decision making process.

And yes, antibiotics, even pencillin, kill most of the beneficial bacteria in the gut... to sufficient levels that c. difficile and h. pylorii can invade in a hospital setting. People in hospitals being treated with antibiotics have exponentially increased chances of getting these infections the longer their hospital stay. I'm not being hysterical, just factual. Hospitals are a great setting for researching disease vectors because they are so filthy.

Antibiotics cause dysbiosis. This is a modern medical fact. There's not enough supportive care advice provided to pregnant mothers who take antibiotics, to help their bodies recover from their use, which is why I wanted to shed some light. Fact is, babies given antibiotics in the first 6 weeks (or pre-natally) are more likely to have immune dysfunction later on in life, if appropriate measures are not taken to aid the gut biome during and after such treatments.

Here's a link that summarizes the info, which you can use to branch off into further research if interested:
http://www.wired.com/2011/08/killing-be ... -bacteria/
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by lyra211 » Wed Jan 27, 9:08 2016

Hi all -- turns out this thread is timely for me, since I'm 37 weeks pregnant and just found out yesterday that I'm GBS positive as well. I've been finding this website very helpful for a number of things about pregnancy/labor, including GBS:
http://evidencebasedbirth.com/groupbstrep/

Basically, for something that affects 1/3-1/4 of all pregnant women, the research is remarkably sketchy! But the good news is that with antibiotics during labor you reduce the risk of your baby having life-threatening complications by like 80%. It's also interesting to note that most of the remaining life-threatening GBS infections in newborns come from women who got false negatives during the screen, so in a way I'm thinking of myself as lucky that I didn't get a false negative, which would have put my baby at higher risk. The differences between the US and UK are also telling -- in the UK they only give antibiotics to women who have other risk factors, and their GBS infection rate is higher by like a factor of 2.

So, yes, I'm bummed that my labor needs to be a little more medicated than I planned, and I'm slightly concerned about the effects on my little one's gut flora, but there are silver linings. For one thing, after delivering our first baby (who died 4.5 months into my first pregnancy) I got a nasty reproductive tract infection -- having antibiotics during labor reduces the risk of repeating that awful experience (which is another thing that's more likely if you're GBS positive and don't get treatment). Another side effect of my terrible first pregnancy experience is that I'm paranoid about approximately everything, and anything I can do to reduce the risk of delivering another dead baby is A-OK in my book, so the antibiotics are totally worth it from that point of view. When I balance gut flora against risk of death (albeit small), I'm so completely OK with the antibiotics that it's not even funny. With antibiotics, the risk of your baby dying from an early GBS infection are something like 1 in 4,000, which is lower than the risk of stillbirth for other reasons.

I hear the OP on worries about after the baby is born -- apparently the risk of late GBS infections (which are also quite dangerous) is not reduced by antibiotic treatment during labor, and there's just no way to reduce it. My personal plan is to be totally neurotic about my own hand-washing for the first few months of our baby's life when the risk is highest, since I know that I carry GBS. My husband and I were going to be neurotic about it anyway, but now we'll be more neurotic about it. Fun!

Hope you're feeling better about it -- or maybe even that you've delivered by now!

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Wed Jan 27, 9:39 2016

You are right. And I've generally come to terms with this and that it's a blessing that they have antibiotics and have figured out the optimal treatment and my baby will be less likely to die from this stuff.

That said, I've moved on to freaking out about why I'm a day away from 41 weeks and there are no contractions, no labor in sight. Compared to my first pregnancy, where the baby came a day before my due date and I did everything unmedicated, everything seems to be going wrong here. I can just see the Pitocin, the epidural, the emergency c-section... I am so overwhelmed. I genuinely thought this labor would be quicker and more predictable, because it's my second one. At this point I'll take the GBS and the antibiotics... I just don't want to be induced!!

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by rowan » Wed Jan 27, 10:08 2016

41 weeks is still totally normal! Take some deep breaths. :) I don't know if it will help you, but I found making sort of flow charts/lists of various possibilities to help me. Like "Ok suppose I have to have just pitocin, how do things go..." "suppose I have to do this other thing, how do things go..." Having various scenarios in my head actually calmed me down since I knew that I'd know what to do/say to various things they might ask at points.

I got "prepped" for an induction, I wasn't given the pitocin yet but they did something else, and that was enough for things to get moving. Have you talked with your midwife/OB about various worries you have and timing for various options? Can they help you find a way to manage your worries and concerns? I'm guessing there's not much to worry about yet though.
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by lyra211 » Wed Jan 27, 10:36 2016

Aw, sorry you're still waiting at 41 weeks -- that is rough, indeed. That's one thing I'm dreading at the moment: needing to make the decision about when to induce. Part of me wants to do it between 40-41 weeks to minimize stillbirth risk (still extremely low overall at that point, obviously -- as I've mentioned, I've got issues that skew how I look at these statistics in this pregnancy!), but I also would obviously prefer to avoid unnecessary interventions if possible.

It may or may not make you feel better to know that there have been a spate of studies over the past 2-3 years showing that induction does not increase c-section rates. Apparently the old studies that said that it did were using inappropriate comparison samples -- basically, they compared women who went into labor on their own by a particular date in pregnancy to women who were induced by that date. What they left out was the sample of women who decided not to be induced, waited, and then wound up having complications that led to a c-section. When you take into account all of the deliveries AND continuing pregnancies on a certain date vs. all of the inductions on that date, there's no increased risk of c-section after about 39 weeks. I'm getting this from uptodate.com (using my mom's professional subscription -- she's a women's health nurse practitioner), and there's also a very thorough description on the Evidence-Based Birth website, which might make you feel better:
http://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence- ... -due-date/

One thing I found really interesting that's sort of buried in that page is that (1) there's evidence that "due dates" should actually be about four days later than we currently set them, and (2) expected delivery dates for 2nd+ time moms are only about two days earlier on average than for first-time moms (so that rumor that "first time moms always go late" and its corollary that 2nd time moms never do is just not very accurate -- the whole 10-day standard deviation on the Gaussian distribution around the due date is much more relevant!). So like Rowan said above, you're still very much in the realm of "normal," for better or for worse... and if you're comfortable going to 42 weeks before inducing there's no reason you shouldn't... and even if you do wind up having to be induced you shouldn't worry about the increased risk of c-section because the statistics say there isn't one!

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Wed Jan 27, 12:07 2016

I really appreciate all your input, everyone, thank you!! Luckily I chose my OB specifically because he's a big supporter of natural birth, so he's not going to get pushy until we hit 42 weeks.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by robichek » Sat Jan 30, 17:20 2016

Final update, had the baby on 1/28 (at 41 weeks). Seven hour labor. We had time for one round of antibiotics and baby arrived 3.5 hours later. I do think this one's a little crankier than my first, but I'm happy I could have the relatively unmedicated birth I wanted.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by rowan » Sat Jan 30, 17:52 2016

woot baby! congratulations!
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Aum » Sat Jan 30, 21:34 2016

Yay! That's great news :)
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by antfancier » Sun Jan 31, 6:21 2016

Congratulations robichek and family!! :dance2:

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by Gnarlbanya » Mon Feb 1, 4:06 2016

Congratulations on the safe arrival of your baby!

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Re: Group B Strep

Post by spacefem » Mon Feb 1, 5:07 2016

Yay :)
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Re: Group B Strep

Post by lyra211 » Mon Feb 1, 11:42 2016

Hooray! Congratulations! I'm so happy that things went well. Enjoy your newest little family member!

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