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Should I test for Group B Strep? Anyone else had experience of this?

(32 Posts)
EffinIneffable Thu 02-Jul-15 11:33:23

I've ordered a test, but unsure whether to take it or not.

It's fairly common to be a carrier of Group B Strep, but rare to pass an infection on to your baby (less than 1%), but the consequences can be very serious for a small minority of infected babies. The NHS doesn't routinely test for it, but if you do a private test and it's positive, then they will require you to have intravenous antibiotics during labour, which means consultant led delivery suite and somewhat restricted movement in labour.

My midwife said she wouldn't bother, but it's up to me. Not sure what to do now! I could either just not know, hope for the best, and keep a close eye on the baby, or put my mind at rest but risk a more high-tech and closely monitored labour and birth than I was hoping for.

pinkie87 Thu 02-Jul-15 11:40:16

I am 32 weeks currently and have purchased a test to take in a few weeks. I absolutely recommend testing. Why would you bother taking the risk when the test is so simple and not too expensive either. Yes you may have to have antibiotics in labour and not necessarily have the intervention free birth that you'd hoped for, but is it worth putting your baby at risk if you do have it and don't know?

MrsAnxiety1 Thu 02-Jul-15 11:42:00

I'm opting to do it because I'd hate to know about the risks and not do anything about it... The baby could then get infected and end up needing care away from me or worse, end up very unwell.

I'm definitely hoping for a less medicalised birth but that seems to be going down the pan for other reasons at the moment, so I thought I might as well do it and put my mind at ease.

On the upside, 60% of ppl aren't carriers, so you're most likely going to be okay.

BeatieBo Thu 02-Jul-15 11:43:49

Yes, I got the test, used it and tested positive. I had IV antibiotics whilst in labour and DD was perfectly healthy. The chances are she would have been even if I had not tested and had the ABs but you can't be sure. It's a routine test in many countries so not sure why your midwife said not to bother.

EffinIneffable Thu 02-Jul-15 11:49:25

I guess its a question of weighing up a balance of risk. Most carriers don't pass the infection on, most babies who become colonised don't actually get and infection, and most babies who do get infected are treated and are fine. But about 1 in 2500 aren't. I'm sure there are lots of things I do where a risk of less than 0.05% of harm seems completely OK. But like you say, once you know, you know, and natural reaction is to try to minimise all risks.

CityDweller Thu 02-Jul-15 12:05:12

Turns out I had it in labour with DD. Had a home birth, but we didn't find out I had group B Strep until afterwards (once they'd tested the swab they took when my waters had broken, but before contractions had started). Anyway, DD was absolutely fine.

Hophop987 Thu 02-Jul-15 13:01:27

I had it done with both of my pregnancies. Yes,most mums and babies will be fine without antibiotics even if they are strep B positive but I would rather know and take precautions.

Ava50x Thu 02-Jul-15 14:54:53

The UK is the only modern country which doesn't routinely test for GBS. Babies who do get infected with it during labour can be seriously ill and in some cases even die. The test is simple, and in the event that you are a carrier, treatment is four doses of antibiotics during labour.

I would absolutely recommend you get tested. Why take the risk? Just by the way, according to NHS statistics, only 1 in 5 pregnant women are carriers of GBS. My midwife says this figure is inaccurate, and that is why they don't routinely test for it- the risk is too insignificant. My hospital is currently conducting a GBS study and whilst they don't have the final results, she says the numbers are definitely higher than 1 in 5. (These figures can vary in different areas).

Also, most hospitals that do test for GBS are using outdated equipment, so if you get a negative there is a 50% chance that you are actually positive. It is possible to request a private, gold-standard test that has 95% accuracy form the following:

Group B Strep Test:
Medichecks: 0845 602 9029

Tests cost about £35.

Hope this information helps. Good luck!!

RinkRashDerbyKisses Thu 02-Jul-15 14:56:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

geekymommy Thu 02-Jul-15 15:05:09

They routinely test for it here in the US, even if you know you'll be having a C section.

MissTwister Thu 02-Jul-15 16:04:41

I am considering having this done but didn't realise there were such cons if I do have it. Birth centre would be out for starters and I'd have to change where I gave birth.....

Thepurplegiraffe Thu 02-Jul-15 17:52:18

I ordered this but am now having a c-section in less than a week. Am I right in thinking the risks are lower in that case? Guessing I don't have time to do it now in any case.

CoffeeAndOranges Thu 02-Jul-15 18:31:16

I was told I have this today. It came up in an earlier urine sample, but subsequent samples were clear. However a vaginal swab came back positive. All done via midwife so maybe it is routine up here?

Anyway she just said I'd be on an antibiotic drip during labour but that it shouldn't impede or alter the birth at all (eg wouldn't prevent me using birthing pool). I'm not worried about it as it seems it's not a massive risk in any case, but better to be on the safe side.

CoffeeAndOranges Thu 02-Jul-15 18:32:50

Interestingly my midwife said that 1 in 3 women are colonised with this, so lots of differing stats! How they know, given the lack of general testing....

mrsvgs Thu 02-Jul-15 19:13:15

2 ladies in my NCT class have this, and there are 8 of us, so I guess that 1 in 3 holds out!! Im now thinking I should get tested..where are people getting their kits from?
The midwife has said that no change is required to their birth plans - they will still be going to the birth centre and having a water birth..just have to keep the IV out of the water!

bakingtins Thu 02-Jul-15 19:28:08

My NCT group all tested for GBS after the first of our number's baby became infected. Luckily after a very scary stint in NICU he was ok. One other woman out of the remaining six was positive and had prescribed antibiotics given during a home birth. The woman whose baby was infected had 2 subsequent children, was treated in labour and the babies closely monitored the first few days, and they were fine. She had none of the other risk factors for passing on the infection (prom, high temp, prolonged labour)
What makes me cross is the way they make a huge fuss about antibiotics as soon as they know you are a carrier but most of the time are in ignorance of GBS status. I'd rather know and make informed decisions. It is possible to be treated with a long acting depot injection of penicillin to avoid the IV but in my friend's experience difficult to get it prescribed. If nothing else they can keep a closer eye on your newborn.

Bobian123 Thu 02-Jul-15 19:35:18

I just tested positive for this and am due any day. The mw said they wouldn't give me antibiotics during labour unless I showed another high risk sign (like a temp), but they would monitor the baby regularly for 24 hours after. However, Ive looked at the GBS website and their recommendation is a drip if youve tested positive. It's been left up to me to make a decision. I think I'll go for it, but it needs to be in for four hours before delivery. My last labour was v quick so there may not even be time for it.

JimmyCorkhill Thu 02-Jul-15 19:35:19

I was told I had it in early pregnancy. It came up in a urine test. I had big danger style stickers slapped all over my notes. I wasn't allowed to choose the midwife led unit but had to be in the main hospital (I was not bothered by this at all).

However, I went into labour really quickly and there wasn't time to give me the antibiotics so DD2 had to have them instead blush through a needle thingy in her hand. We had to stay in for a couple of days until she got the all clear. No idea if I still actually had Group B strep at the actual time of birth as apparently it can come and go, but once you have tested positive for it I guess they don't want to take any risks.

Runningupthathill82 Thu 02-Jul-15 19:36:17

I'm not going to comment on whether you should have the test or not - that's up to you.

But can I ask if you're sure it'll definitely mean consultant led delivery?

I tested positive for GBS and had IV antibiotics in the midwife led delivery room, before getting in the birthing pool.

I ended up having three lots of IV antibiotics as labour went on for so bloody long, but it had absolutely no impact on where I could give birth.

Your trust may be different, of course, but GBS doesn't automatically mean consultant led delivery.

StrawberryMojito Thu 02-Jul-15 19:46:00

I had group b strep but did not know it, my daughter who was being induced at 34+3 due to my pre eclampsia caught it during labour and ended up having apnoeas (lapses in breathing) resulting in a 3 week stay in nicu. Take the test.

WiIdfire Thu 02-Jul-15 19:53:05

I've tested positive.

The only difference it will make is some IV antibiotics in labour, no big deal. I should be able to stay in the MLU and use the pool.

Is it worth the risk?

Rachie1986 Thu 02-Jul-15 20:13:26

I did it. Would rather know and be sure x

Bobian123 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:02:36

Can I ask if anyone who had the IV drip had any side effects? Or if your baby did?

Runningupthathill82 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:58:46

Bobian - No idea, I'm afraid. DS and I were both in a bad way for some time after the birth.
He was drowsy, wouldn't feed, lost so much weight we were readmitted twice.
I was in lots of pain and all over the place mentally - but I couldn't say if that was due to the antibiotics or the drugs or the traumatic birth, or generally the whole thing.

Rasell Thu 02-Jul-15 22:59:21

I had strep b in my second pregnancy & had to have antibiotics. It just meant having a canula in my hand and had no other effect on my labour. I wanted to have him in hospital anyway, as I'd had such a great experience with my first. I tried to hold on for the full 2 hours but didn't manage it! My boy was born with the waters intact which protected him but we had to stay in for 2 days & he had to have a little canula in his hand, bless him!
I'm pregnant again so will be treated the same during labour automatically. Don't know if I had it with firstborn.
I think it's only risky if baby's low birth weight, you have a high temperature during labour or anything like that. Terrifying to think of what could happen but only very low risk so don't worry too much.
Good luck! Xxx

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