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GBS/Strep B, symptoms to look for, private testing and birth plans

(28 Posts)
Oeisha Sun 16-Oct-11 19:32:14

I'm looking into getting a private test for strep b. DC1 due in Jan.
I have no reason to believe I currently have strep b, it just seems sensible. I'm guessing there's no point in testing too early for it, so was planning on getting the kit soon, but testing about 37wks (currently 26).
I have a few questions if anyone out there's had tests etc...

1) Where did you go for your kit?
2) What was involved with the kit? (what actually needed doing? was it easy to use? will DH need to be involved? etc)
3) Did anyone show any symptoms during pg?
4) I'd like to have a water birth - is this still possible?
5) Is there anything you feel I should know?

Also posting this on ante-natal testing, but wanted as many opinions as possible.

Thank you!

edwinbear Sun 16-Oct-11 21:13:47

I ordered my test from The Doctors Laboratory. You call them, give them your name and address and they send you the kit in the post, only takes a couple of days. You then send the payment off with the swabs when you return them. It's a simple vaginal swab and also a rectal swab that you can easily do yourself, like a big cotton wool bud that you insert in each ummm orifice for want of a better word! Your DH doesn't need to be involved at all. I tested +ve with DS and am due to test in a couple of weeks with DC2, I had no symptoms at all and I simply had to have IV antibiotics in labour - it was no big deal at all. You can still have a water birth but you would just need to keep the cannula out of the water. I'm planning a water birth with DC2 even if I test positive again.

Oeisha Sun 16-Oct-11 21:57:13

Thank you edwinbear. Will look into the guys you used. Also pleased to hear a water birth isn't fof the cards! smile

moregranny Mon 17-Oct-11 09:42:59

Please check out www.gbss.org.uk

BedatHogwarts Mon 17-Oct-11 09:49:10

Loads of info on this website

I used Blue Horizon medicals - it's a couple of pounds cheaper than the other places but you have to pay upfront when you order the swab kit. They texted me with my result in a few days, and a confirmation letter followed the next week. I think they also let your midwife know your result.

Your DH won't need to be involved, but you might find it easier to have a small mirror available to help when you take your samples!!

ArthurPewty Mon 17-Oct-11 09:52:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Woodifer Mon 17-Oct-11 09:53:12

OK I'm 37 weeks and have sent off for and received one of these packs - I'm probably not going to do it.

Since reading up I was weighing up - even if you are positive for carrying strep B, the possibility of the baby becoming seriously ill is 1 in 300. I was weighing this up against the effects of IV antibiotics on me and baby (bowel issues, thrush etc), the possibility of having restricted movement/ limitations due to canula (I should specifically ask my midwife about their approach to drips and water births/ moving round - and so should you - it could vary from hospital to hospital).

I don't even know if this would mean being consultant led rather than midwife led.

My next midwife appt is Thurs so I suppose I will ask then.

Yorky Mon 17-Oct-11 11:02:51

Woodifer - you sound like me, GBS was found in a urine sample early in 2nd pg so MW told me no HB (had lovely one with DS), no waterbirth, continual monitoring... all my 'bad' buzzwords, I left the surgery in tears. But as part of my research I rang the MLU, told them the situation and asked if I could deliver there instead of hospital and the lovely MW on the phone said they'd be happy for me to give birth there but that they couldn't give me the ABx so I might as well stay at home if thats what I wanted. I was so happy and shock Then she explained to me that the reason I would need to deliver in hospital if I wanted to have the ABx was because of the risk of complications from the ABx themselves, and her explanation that it was a huge dose for a tiny newborn, and carried a risk of deafness. So I had my ABx free home waterbirth despite a positive swab at 36wks, and did the same again for DS2.
I decided that I had most likely been GBS+ during 1st pg, and blissfully ignorant, and NHS guidelines say if you have had 1 confirmed GBS delivery and baby was healthy then they don't recommend the ABx for subsequent deliveries, so I crossed my fingers for DD, MW insisted I was discussed at their community team meeting so all the team knew the 'risks' if they were on call when DD arrived but none of them had a problem, and in the event it was the senior MW on the team who was on call when I rang and she couldn't see why my community MEW had made such an issue of it!

So in answer to Oiesha's original question - you won't show 'symptoms' during pregnancy because GB strep is just a bacteria that lives in your gut normally. A waterbirth is definitely possible, and although she had never seen any evidence or study into it, my last MW thought a waterbirth ought logically to be safer for a GBS baby as they get 'rinsed' on their way out!

Sorry, that ended up a bit longer than I intended, hope all goes well for you

Woodifer Mon 17-Oct-11 11:43:55

Given that I would probably not opt for antibiotics even as a carrier - maybe it is worth knowing if I am a carrier - and so be extra vigilant for signs of infection (in baby) after birth??

Babies can also acquire strep B , (not from you) once they are born - so are there any particular signs to look for even if you are not a carrier?

Other things can also make your baby more at risk of infcetion - like if your waters go a longtime before labour - and these risk factors can also be a reason why intravenous antibiotics might be recommended.

moregranny Mon 17-Oct-11 18:24:40

I know a little boy who is brain damaged due to contracting strep b during labour, his mum did not know she was a carrier, her little family will never have a normal life, it is heartbreaking, My own daughter was a carrier, her first pregnancy and was planning to have the ABs during labour, unfortunately she had to have an emergency section and my beautiful grandaughter was given the full dose of intravenous ABs for the first 4 days of her life, she is healthy and beautiful, why play russian roulette with something like strep b how ever small the risk ?

Mum2be79 Mon 17-Oct-11 18:36:47

Good question Oeisha

I asked about this at my 25 week appointment and was given the answer of 'No.We don't test'. I too have done a quick research and plan on having a test done about 36 weeks - around 2nd December. I would rather know than look for signs in my baby and let him/her suffer before action was taken.

MrsCog Mon 17-Oct-11 18:45:47

Do the NHS not test for GBS then? I'm sure I gave a sample at 13 weeks to be tested - can you get it after that?

Oeisha Mon 17-Oct-11 19:09:28

mrscog Not routinely no...and they won't always test for GBS in the urine tests either. It is worth checking in your specific area though.

Thanks guys for you input. I'll def. check out the group b strep site again.

I was thinking about why I might be so paranoid about this, and the only thing I can think is that I have idiopathic IBS and do get frequent UTIs. Feeling a bit 'warm' and a bit tender at the moment ISYWIM. Will see how I feel tomorrow to know whether to bother ringing doc as it's not bad.

I'm also aware that just because I'm positive (or negative) with testing, doesn't mean I won't get a different result in 2 weeks time, but, well...frustrating...

edwinbear Mon 17-Oct-11 21:03:51

Please, please do the test and give serious thought to the AB's if it's positive. Having watched a close friend go through GB strep infection with one of her children I would never, ever take the risk personally. The risks may be small but the potential consequences are so severe. When I tested positive with DS the NHS midwife told me that the vast majority of midwives believe it should be a routine test in pregnancy.

addictediam Mon 17-Oct-11 21:04:32

Edwinbear why do you have to retest? If you've tested positive you've got it for life. You can get a false negitive after testing positive. My consultant said that if youve tested positive once you should be treated as positive in all future pregnancies.

addictediam Mon 17-Oct-11 21:06:39

To be fair you can get a false negitive full stop.

edwinbear Mon 17-Oct-11 21:06:44

I thought the bacteria comes and goes, so just because i was positive last time, doesn't necessarily mean I'll be positive this time. I will do the test anyway but if it comes back negative I will make some more enquiries, thanks.

bemybebe Mon 17-Oct-11 21:11:17

I gave birth at 24+1 due to strepB infecting the membranes... dd died 3 weeks later, perfectly healthy otherwise. Tests two months postpartum were negative, but strep can return. My consultant said I will be closely monitored next time round and probably treated with antibiotics.

edwinbear Mon 17-Oct-11 21:18:48

bemybebe I'm so sorry.

muslimah28 Mon 17-Oct-11 21:24:32

It's not true that if you've tested positive you've got it for life. Check the gbss.org website in their faqs.

addictediam Mon 17-Oct-11 21:28:24

It does come and go, but as it can not be there one day and there the next you can never know for certain (part of the reason its not routine in this country) but if you've tested positive it will always come back, you cant get rid of it, therefore should ALWAYS be treated as if you have it during delivery.

Sorry I'm not out to scaremonger it just upsets me that there is so much false info around and its potentially fatal for babies. sad

Hth

bemybebe Mon 17-Oct-11 21:29:46

My consultant also said ideally all would be tested regularly, but financially it is prohibitive to the nhs. I was furious, I went through rounds and rounds of ivf and this was a very precious baby, I would have paid for the test privately if I had known the risks-no question. As it happened i spend so much time on infertility issues throughout the years, i had no clue once i was pregnant.

addictediam Mon 17-Oct-11 21:31:07

Bemy sorry just saw your post sad

Muslim my consultant told me you have it for life but as it comes and goes you can get false negitives making people think its gone when it hasnt.

bemybebe Mon 17-Oct-11 21:47:10

Bwt, with me the infection was asymptomatic apart from feeling tired and having continuous but v mild cramping from 22weeks which at 24w turned into full blown labour. Midwife dismissed these as 'overdoing it'.

Sewilma Mon 17-Oct-11 22:15:39

A friend of mine lost a baby to GBS. She didn't know she had it and when she had her son the Doctors failed to spot the signs when the baby was admitted to hospital the day after he was born.

My midwife swabbed me for GSB after I complained about pain / discharge and that's how I found out I was GBS+. I ended up with an emergency c-section due to problems with the placenta (i.e. nothing to do with the GBS) and my son had to be admitted to SCBU. I told them that I was GBS+ and as a precaution, they gave my son ABs and monitored him for any signs. Testing for GBS isn't routine in my area.

My sister became pregnant a few months later and was so worried about GBS and what happened to my friend that she broke down a cried to her midwife who took pity on her and said if it would help put her mind at rest, although they don't routine test for GBS in her area either, she would swab her - turns out she was GBS- but it was a weight off her mind. So it might be worth explaining your concerns to your midwife to see if she is sympathetic?

My understanding is that it's helpful to know if a mother is GBS+ so AB can be given during birth (although as some posters have pointed out, GBS can come and go but most midwives / Doctors err on the side of caution and give AB) but it's the signs after birth that the baby may display is key (just because a women has ABs during birth isn't a guarantee the baby won't be GBS-) and that a blood test on all newborns would be the way to go rather than testing all pregnant women.

Please, please, please everyone, be aware of the signs of your baby suffering from GBS and trust to your instincts xx

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