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What infections could baby and mother pick up during pregnancy/childbirth?

(24 Posts)
LadyOfRoffle Wed 29-Oct-08 18:09:06

Copied from another thread in Childrens Health :

I watched This Morning today and was freaked out by the story of the 10 day old dying from the cold sore virus. The day after DS was born I felt really ill but the MW wouldn't visit as it was too short notice, then the next day my temp was 39.5 but she still would not visit as it was a Saturday, and wouldn't until Tuesday due to it being a bank holiday. Dh then rang the hospital as I couldn't move and was shivering and they told me to come in - and within the hour DS and I were on IV anti biotics, even before our results came back. When they did come back we both had high infection markers but they treated 'too quick' to ever be able to tell what we had. I was so caught in the whirlwind of it all I didn't ask many Qs (we were in for 5 days) but hearing that story made me wonder what on earth could we have had? And how easily it could have been missed if DH didn't ring the hospital (this was the one I gave birth at, the MWs who do home visits are from another hospital due to our location, and that hospital wouldn't do anything either). I will post in childbirth also as the doctor said something about it may have been then, or through placenta so please excuse 2 threads.


lulumama Wed 29-Oct-08 18:26:32

i think there is something called childbed / peurpural fever which can be very nasty and sometimes fatal. i thikn it is to do with infection in the site where the placenta was.

temperature and flu like symptoms soon after birth are never to be ignored

GBS infection in the newborn can be very dangerous if not picked up on

TheProvincialLady Wed 29-Oct-08 18:27:00

It sounds the same as I had - puerperal fever (also known as childbed fever) and it is very shocking that your MW would not come out to you when you had such a high temperature. Women used to die of this in their thousands but thanks to better hygiene it is not as common now - but it still happens. A month before I had it a woman died in my hospital because she went in too latesad It can come on very quickly like you, or it can take a few days - I got it at 10 days I think. Sometimes it is a bit of placenta that stays in the womb and gets infected or sometimes it gets in through infected stitches (which is what happened with me I think).

If your DS also had the infection (was he ill too or was it just a precaution?) then it might have been something like Group B Strep.

LadyOfRoffle Wed 29-Oct-08 20:25:36

Thanks for the replies ~ What is GBS? They started DS as precaution but the results showed high markers when we got them.

chocbiscuits Wed 29-Oct-08 21:19:39

Hi - am a microbiologist, though I don't work on Strep.

There's no way to tell what the infection was unless a sample was taken before the treatment and tested.
Childbed fever is caused by a Strep which would most likely quickly respond to antibiotics.
Group B Strep is a group of related Streptococci - they are round bacteria that can be carried by women.

Here's a link that explains it pretty well.

Try not to worry about it, there is not much you can do.
Am due on Sunday so hoping not to get any infections!

Dragonbutter Wed 29-Oct-08 21:26:50

the first time i'd heard of GBS was when my day old baby was in intensive care fighting for his life.

we very nearly lost him. sad

chocbiscuits Wed 29-Oct-08 21:32:49

Glad your baby OK Dragonbutter

littleducks Wed 29-Oct-08 21:39:04

was this ds 1 or ds2? (just being nosy) am shock mws wouldnt come, couldnt get rid of mine

if iy was gbs and you were refering to ds1 then it should have been in your notes/explained to you as WPH/HW hosp policy (whole pct i think) is to give antibiotics in labour if you have ever tested postive for gbs

Dragonbutter Wed 29-Oct-08 22:21:08


Dragonbutter Wed 29-Oct-08 22:22:23

oh OP, sorry.
thanks chocbiscuits.

KerryMumchingOnEyeballs Wed 29-Oct-08 22:23:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nellynaemates Thu 30-Oct-08 11:05:47

Dragonbutter, I sympathise, my ds was in a similar position.

No-one had ever talked to me about Group B strep, despite repeated urinary infections in the first couple of months of pregnancy and a positive test for group B strep in my notes (that no-one told me about) AND the fact that my waters were broken for 29 hours before he was born.

He's a big bouncing 11 month old now but really, things could have been so different.

LadyOfRoffle Thu 30-Oct-08 13:06:20

Hiya Littleducks - this is DS2 (9 weeks). It was the Heatherwood MWs that wouldn't come out, and Frimley aren't taking people from my area anymore so am thinking of moving to avoid Heatherwood again!

I know nothing about GBS, I take it it's something mother and baby can have?

Dragonbutter Thu 30-Oct-08 14:15:23

the statistics are always in your favour with GBS. unfortunately somebody has to be the 1 in 100,000 or whatever that have a problem.
i had undetected broken waters (despite me telling the mw's they'd broken, they didn't think so and sent me home for another 2 days)

Mothers can carry GBS and not have any signs of infection. Babies with the infection either develop meningitis or pneumonia.

in some ways we were lucky and DS1 had pneumonia although had alot of breathing problems a spinal tap showed he didn't have meningitis.

THe GBS website is great for all the information. but i don't think there's enough information out there from people who were unlucky enough to defy the statistics.

Dragonbutter Thu 30-Oct-08 14:16:12

<big hug for nellienaemates>
it's so crap isn't it

rempy Thu 30-Oct-08 14:24:24

Streptococci are a group of bacteria that can do a variety of things - hang around on skin, in mouths, vaginas etc doing nothing, cause sore throats, skin infections, minor stuff (one type causes scarlet fever), or nasty stuff, full on septicaemia, pneumonia, meningitis. What it does depends on the type of strep, (they are grouped with letter tags)and the host defences. So for adults on the whole if you are well with a normal immune system, you can be unwell but not requiring more than oral antibiotics. But newborns are very vunerable, and rarely some adults seem to not be able to mount a defence to strep so get something much more serious.

Most puerperal fever was strep probably, and we do screen for Group B streptococci in pregnant women with risk factors in UK, previous group b strep, prolonged rupture of membranes, etc. but not all women.

littleducks Thu 30-Oct-08 20:25:02

"moving to avoid Heatherwood again!" shock you are planning dc3 already????? your toddler must be much better behaved than mine!

in your case i would discuss with gp/mw when/if you are pregnant again being screened for group b strep (several of my friend have it, and unfortuntaly one baby was very ill and inscbu for three months but is now 3 and fine)

wph can test you for gbs, however if they dont want to pay or whatever there is a simple way of getting the test done privately, a company will send you test kit, you are swabbed by your mw and post it off, iirc it was £10/£20, i believe the suggest screening at 36 ish weeks

wphs policy is iv antibiotics in labour and poss to baby if quick delivery

i would push for testing in next pregnancy stating to mw what happened this time, as most babies are fine with strep b (one in 3 wommen are carries but not every affected womans child is ill) and it is stated that if a woman who has tested positive and had prior unaffected children (without chikldren) will likely have unaffected subsequent children

obv research hasnt been done to prove a proper conclusion but it appears that the reverse is likely that if one baby is affected subsequent babies are at a slightly raised likelihood of being affected

or if it was childbed fever i know zilch about that!

anyweay glad you and the boys seem to be doing well despite this drama, i am currently weaning ds so he isnt a 'baby' baby anymore, time flies!

ummadam Fri 31-Oct-08 11:22:15

Reading this thread I thought this might be of interest to some of you.

babymt Fri 31-Oct-08 12:57:11

I ended up back in hospital I think 4 days after I had dd2 with high temp, shaking, unable to speak properly, lost aload of clots (apparently not related) just generally really very ill and was diagnosed with 2 infections. One was a wound infection which was basically in my graze. The other was a urine infection. Apparently there could have been more but they just decided to treat with 2 different antibiotics and I started to feel better soon after.

Infections can be really nasty. Mine were basically due to there being no washing facilities in hospital so it took me over 2 days to get home and have a wash. Also no-one helped me to the toilet (had pph and couldn't stand easily) so didn't drink much and/or empty bladder enough.

SixSpotBonfire Fri 31-Oct-08 12:59:38

The only one I know about is Group B Strep. It can be very nasty and I have never understood why pregnant women are not routinely tested for it.

only1malteaser Fri 31-Oct-08 13:07:18

Six spot, it is down to money! My friend was diagnosed during her pg and Doc told her they didn't test routinely because it cost £9 per test (I think!). Great price to put on a babes life huh!

SixSpotBonfire Fri 31-Oct-08 14:52:27


Very out of order.

I paid to be tested when pg with DS2 (having had a very bad scare with DS1, which I was told might have been caused by an infection, although the cultures were "inconclusive").

Howdie Fri 31-Oct-08 22:15:37

Well the whole - should we routinely test for GBS is an interesting argument. It is routinely screened for in the states but then we all know if ther is money to be made out of a pregnancy then they're on to it over there!

The thing with GBS is that a huge proportion of women carry it (around 20-30%)without it ever actually causing them a problem. In the UK, if a woman tests positive for GBS in pregnancy then she is recommended to have IV antibiotics during her labour. However, if you look at the statistics, a TINY proportion of babies born to GBS +ve mothers end up being actively infected - around 1% - and of those babies who contract the infection, around 10% of them become ill and require treatment and 10% of them will die. So although GBS is a common infection we are talking about around 70 babies a year who die.

Now it sounds very harsh to say that this does not warrant routine testing but if you consider that a) not all cases of GBS infection are prevented in babies by having IV antibiotics in labour b) A HUGE number of women have GBS in their system and we never know about it and it doesn't cause their babies any problems and c) You have a higher risk of having an anaphylatic shock reaction to the IV antibiotics that you have of your baby contracting an infection that will make them ill.

Personally, I think that rather than routine GBS testing of all women (which is expensive), resources would be better placed in better postnatal care, postnatal education and in informing women of how to know when their baby is unwell from any infection, not just GBS.

gemstones Mon 03-Nov-08 22:35:52

I had strep b with both my children. My first was fine, was just kept in for a few days to keep an eye. Saw a consultant during my 2nd pregnancy, she was so relaxed about it, told me I would recieve antibiotics during labour. My labour lasted 1hr 30 from start to finish therefore didnt recieve antibiotics in time. My baby was very poorly, a very distressing time for whole family. Hes 2yrs old now and fine but it has made us reluctant to have any more.

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