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Should I get tested for strep b?

(14 Posts)
Fuzzyduck21 Wed 29-Jul-15 09:18:31

I don't know what to do. I stumbled across info on strep b while browsing and now I am in a complete flap. I have heard the NHS tests are less than 60% accurate so was going to do a private one for £35 when I am 36 weeks. Do you think it's worth it? Midwife told me I would be opening a can of worms which I found quite a strange thing to say. She said if there were any problems they would be picked up after birth during monitoring (will be in hospital for at least 24hrs after birth). I think she was trying to put me off having potentially unnecessary antibiotics.

Hubby thinks I don't need to have the test as midwives will notice and treat any problems if they arise. I can't decide.

I know the chances are so low but there is still a chance.

Are you having a private test? What helped you decide? Thanks in advance...

ps. I am suffering terribly with antenatal anxiety and depression and receiving treatment through nhs - I think my mental state is clouding my judgement slightly so wondered what the general consensus was...

Daffodil1210 Wed 29-Jul-15 09:31:59

I had GBS picked up on swab for something else during pregnancy, but would've paid for the private test if this hadn't been picked up by the NHS following all of the recent media coverage. It was a bit of a faff during labour as I had to go into hospital as soon as my waters broke (I wasn't even have contractions!) and have IV antibiotics during labour, but was happy to go through the faff for the sake of my DS. I'd rather them give me the IV than risk my newborn having to have one, and although the risk of serious complications is low I still wasn't willing to take the risk (but I'm the sort of person who'd never have forgiven myself if something had happened!)

Daffodil1210 Wed 29-Jul-15 09:36:47

Also, meant to add that it is a strange thing for a midwife to say. Mine was supportive when I mentioned I was thinking of getting the test done privately, and said that she had seen a lot of mothers to be doing the same recently.

starlight2007 Wed 29-Jul-15 09:39:59

My Ds is 8...I paid for it privately..It was worth it for me.. despite results been negatively.

BumbleBee0 Wed 29-Jul-15 09:56:48

My swab came back positive when I went into labour with my son but didn't have antibiotics as the results didn't come through til the next day. I've since tested positive on a swab after a mc I had. I am now 9wks pg and asked my mw about testing but she said they don't routinely test! i will definitely pay for a test though.

I know mws and drs don't want to worry us unecessarily but I feel they tend to underplay the seriousness of gbs. I'm sure I read somewhere it's the leading cause of stillbirth..?

If it will put your mind at rest then I would get the test done. Better than you worrying about it when it can be treated with antibiotics. Sorry to hear you have been struggling mentally. I hope it gets easier with time and you have plenty of support round you. X

FridaSofia15 Wed 29-Jul-15 10:11:27

Hi Fuzzyduck21 - I found out I had strep b before pregnancy because I had to have a swab due to an infection that I was treating. Then during the first months of my pregnancy I had to see a private gynecologist who, given the results of my earlier swab, strongly recommended I have antibiotics during labour. He stressed how important this is for the baby and even wrote a letter to my Gp so I didn't forget!
I am giving birth outside of the UK and here it is recommended that women have a swab in the weeks before giving birth. To test for strep b but also for any other infection in case you choose a water birth.

I think, given also your anxiety (which is perfectly understandable), you should do whatever makes you feel better. I think it is worth spending a few £ to have peace of mind. this is particularly true during pregnancy.

Hope this helps and good luck! X

Bluestockings35 Wed 29-Jul-15 11:09:30

I'm struggling with this too and I'm 36 weeks at the moment. I spoke to my GP about it yesterday and he was very noncommittal about benefits versus disadvantages of having the private test, though he did say he wouldn't and it's better to try to not be anxious. I'm leaning towards getting it so that if it is positive I can make sure I stay in hospital for at least 12 hours so the baby can be observed, as otherwise I was planning on getting home asap after the birth. There is some reassurance in this statement, from the Group B Strep Support website:

'About half of the babies born to mothers colonised with GBS at the time of delivery will become colonised themselves and, of these, without preventative antibiotics in labour, only around 1 in 200 will develop GBS disease. Carrying GBS during labour and delivery does not mean necessarily that you or your baby will become ill.'

It does seem like a very small risk but, like previous posters, I'm not sure it's one that I'm happy to take.

Fuzzyduck21 Wed 29-Jul-15 11:38:31

Thank you all for your responses!

Daffodil1210 - thats how I see it...although the risk is low it is still a risk and I'm not sure its one I could live with taking if something were to happen...I see my mw in a couple of weeks so will bring it up again. I am hoping that if I go ahead with it she would do the swab for me as I can't even see my bits let alone be able to find where to swab (although I could always look in a mirror haha)!

Thanks BumbleBee0 - Thank you, I am getting some support through the NHS although it is slightly lacking in my area. I know other areas benefit from mental health midwifes which would have been wonderful for me but I was told that they only exist in larger areas... I only have 7 weeks to go and I am praying as soon as little one is born I will feel back to my old self

FridaSofia15 - yes I am inclined to agree it is probably worth spending a few £ for piece of mind either way rather than sitting wondering about it. Sadly guidelines say I need to wait till 35-37 wks to test for the result to still be valid at the time of birth so I thought if I waited till 36 wks I should be safe. 4 weeks to go till I can find out...

Bluestockings35 - I do find some GPs and MWs very noncommittal about things like this. Like you, I am also leaning towards getting it because even if its positive, we don't HAVE to have the antibiotics (I probably would though) and like you said, could just remain in hospital for longer for closer monitoring instead. At least we would then be aware if we were positive and could make all the nursing staff at hospital aware who can keep a closer eye on us/give antibs... maybe better to know than not know and be wondering?

This is definitely not the kind of thing they teach you in school is it! I guess its all here to prepare us for the constant worrying that parenthood can bring smile xx

kitkatsfordinner Wed 29-Jul-15 14:36:36

Do it! I found out I had it during my first labour - literally 5 minutes before delivering and they rushed in neonatal and incubators it was dreadful. She was fine but still horrible experience. My friends little boy born at the same time, developed a related infection and was in hospital for a fortnight and was really ill. I don't get why nhs doctors don't seem to focus on it, but I live in Switzerland and they routinely check for it. For £40 it is not worth the risk! I had antibiotics in labour last time, and really made no odds... Only thing is you can't have a water birth and you need to go into hospital pretty much as soon as labour starts (if they let you).

EffinIneffable Wed 29-Jul-15 16:36:49

I was in two minds about this too but in the end did the test a few weeks ago. If you do it privately they will ask for your GP or midwife's details and send the results to them as well. Although NHS don't routinely test, NICE guidance is that if you do have a positive test you should be given iv antibiotics during labour, so you can't easily refuse this if you get a positive result. Just something to be aware of before you test as you won't necessarily get to make decision about antibiotics after you get your results.

I understand the reluctance of NHS to test as quite a high proportion of the population are carriers but very few babies of those carriers will actually contract the disease and therefore a lot of people would be given iv antibiotics in labour unnecessarily. Most babies that do get it are successfully spotted and treated after birth. Unfortunately for those very few who aren't it is very serious.

Having said that, I did choose to do the test as I was feeling pretty cautious about it.

Cornberry Wed 29-Jul-15 22:14:48

No need to be in a flap. Just get tested. I actually spoke to several midwives and GP about this and they are so frustratingly inconsistent. First midwife was dismissive about it, but today I had a 36 week appointment and saw a new midwife who said she would definitely go for the private testing since as you say the NHS ones are less reliable. Just do it. It may not be a guarantee but at least you'll have the peace of mind of knowing you did what you could. In other countries it's a routine test.

Crazycatlady15 Thu 30-Jul-15 05:49:43

Get tested, it is a small price to pay. We recently did the private test and are glad we did although it was negative.

A friend of mine lost her baby due to this when if she had been offered a test it could have been prevented.

I am not trying to scare monger or anything like that but honestly going to that funeral was the worst experience of my life that I wouldn't want anyone to have to experience. With our baby now safely here we are definitely glad we did the private test.

pinkie87 Thu 30-Jul-15 08:45:53

I am getting the test. I wouldn't want to risk it myself. I have heard too many sad stories to even consider NOT being tested.

MrsAnxiety1 Fri 31-Jul-15 08:54:58

I did the test to put my mind at ease as I wanted to be in possession of all the facts pre-labour, just in case. Whilst rare for it to cause problems to a baby, it is possible and therefore I was unwilling to take the risk. Worth the £35. I used The Doctors Laboratory and they sent me results by text and post very quickly.

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