Your Group B Strep Questions — Answered!

July is Group B Strep Awareness Month.

I wrote last week about Group B Strep and GBS Awareness Month. Please read (and share) that post if you haven’t already.

I promised to answer YOUR questions about Group B Strep during July, right here on the blog. I was thrilled to get some great questions almost immediately, but I know there are more out there. Please let me know if you have questions — tweet me, FB me, email me. You ask, I’ll answer!

I was strep b positive with Cora, what does that mean for future babies? (you can answer in a post if you’d like) — Kristine (@KristineBrite) July 1, 2012

Because you were GBS+ does not mean that you will be GBS+ with any future pregnancy. Your status changes over time, as the bacteria “colonizes.” You will be tested between 35-37 weeks in your next pregnancy and antibiotic protocol will be followed according to that test.

CDC protocoldoes state that if you have a baby who contracts GBS, you should be treated in any subsequent pregnancy. GBSI advocates you and all pregnant women be screened for GBS bacteriuria (GBS in urine) in early pregnancy and treated if positive.

I’d like to know if its possible to pass gbs to the babe with a c-sec. I honestly thought it was only passed through the birth canal — Nicci (@Sticky41284) July 1, 2012

Yes. It is possible, but not as likely, to pass GBS to the baby with a c-section. In these cases, the womb becomes infected by one means or another. Bacteria could be introduced to the womb by internal exams, excessive monitoring or from what I call, random, natural means. It can happen and it does happen, but it’s rare, especially when the c-section is started before your water breaks or labor begins.

If you know you’re GBS+ and your doctor tells you that since you’re having a c-section you won’t need antibiotics, you CAN request them. Talk to your doctor about the risks v. benefits of having antibiotics before your incision is made.

Why don’t they test once you go in labor? Isn’t that the only way to be truly accurate? (and thank you, mama) — Sara (@SaraJOY) July 1, 2012

There are highly effective point of care or bedside rapid (less than 1 hour) tests available in a small number of hospitals. Yes, testing RIGHT THEN is obviously a way to get an updated, accurate reading. But unfortunately hospitals haven’t grabbed on to the rapid tests like we, the GBS community, wish they would.

The CDC and ACOG states that if a woman has not had the GBS test results given to her and a rapid test isn’t available, antibiotics will be administered based on the following risk situations:

    • baby born before 37 weeks
    • water broken for 18+ hours (12+ increases the risk)
    • you have a fever higher than 100.4°

@revsmf why don’t they automatically test all babies for group b strep postbirth? My daughter died at 2 days old, likely due this! — Sarah (@revsmf) July 1, 2012

I asked Dr. James McGregor, our best friend in the GBS fight, about this question. He said that, unfortunately, nobody has studied this. The community is interested in invasive disease and it just hasn’t gotten there yet. He hopes that one day this will be studied. One avenue of research for early onset (pre-signs and symptoms) include GBS antigen or infection biomarkers in the newborn’s urine or blood

This leads me to mention that the GBS bacteria moves quickly. If you feel like something is “off” in your baby, ask about it. Get him or her checked out. Know the symptoms (which are symptoms of other things as well).

Remember, your gut is rarely wrong.

Knowledge is power and your doctor is there to help you.

Do you still have questions? Ask and I shall answer!

Tweet me, ask on FB, ask in the comments, email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com!

 

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