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Can anyone tell me about groupB strep?

(11 Posts)
mosschops30 Tue 10-Nov-09 11:39:16

Who is at risk?
What makes you at risk?
Do they routinely test for it? And if not then how do they know if you have it or not?

TIA smile

MrsZuko Tue 10-Nov-09 12:23:56

They don't routinely test for it here although they do in other countries (France & Australia I think). You can ask for it to be done though - it's similar to having a smear and your midwife should be able to carry out the test. As far as I recall, strep B is a symptom-less infection that many women have but can be passed onto the baby as it comes down the birth canal. If this happens and it isn't picked up then the baby can sicken and die very quickly (within hours). If they test you whilst pregnant and it turns out you are a strep B carrier, they arrange for you to have antibiotics during labour which prevents the baby coming to harm. I'm sure there'll be many on MN who can give you better info but for me the unpleasantness of the test was better than the risk of the infection IYSWIM.

rainbowdays Tue 10-Nov-09 13:10:01

1 in 3 women have group strep B. It is a common thing to have. It becomes active and inactive at various times in your body. It is only really a problem if it is active in your vagina when you give birth. The risk is after the waters have broken before the baby comes out.

The test for it is done during pregnancy, but is very unreliable. If you get a positive result at 37 weeks, it could be gone by the time you get to 40 weeks. But likewise, if you have a test earlier and it is negative you cannot for certain say that you are not at risk for it.

As MrsZuko says it is a symptom-less infection.

The antiboitics that can be given during labour REDUCE the risk of passing on the infection to the baby they do not eliminate it.

When a baby gets a group strep B infection it can be leathal.

About 1 in 1000 babies contract group strep B, and of those 1 in a 1000, 1 in a 1000 might die. Many may have other problems due to the infection.

It is important to realise how serious this condition is, but also realise how uncommon it is. It is vital that all mums watch for signs of infection in the baby in the first 48 hours after birth, and get hospital help as soon as possible if at all worried.

The debate about antibiotics during labour and whether to test for group strep b during pregnancy are contraversial ones. There are loads of links to various websites if you search the group strep b theads on mn.

LouLouH Tue 10-Nov-09 13:15:11

I was unfortunate enough to be told after i had been released and sent home with my daughter that i carried strepB.

I had a message left on my answering machine from my doctors that they had received my notes and that i had strepB they told me to come down to get antibiotics and kidly informed me that if my daughter becomes limp or blue to take her to A&E!

Avoid causing yourself worry as i am. Im only 4 weeks pregnant at the moment but have expressed my worries to the doctor i saw on Friday she said they can test for it as long as you request it, as it is not a routine thing they check for.

displayuntilbestbefore Tue 10-Nov-09 13:15:48

I was GBS positive with my first pregnancy (but not with subsequent pregnancies) and it wasn't picked up until late in my pregancy and a midwife casually said "Because you have Group B Strep you can't have a homebirth" which was a real shock as I had no idea at that point what GBS was and nor had I been told that it had been tested for when I'd had a swab earlier in pregnancy when checking if I'd had an early leak of waters.
My waters went 28hrs before ds actually arrived and I was anxious about the risks posed to him with leaving it so long before giving me the antibiotics and in fact the hospital did end up giving me them a bit late (due to change in doc shift) so my ds and I had to stay in hosp for a few days after the birth while he was given antibiotics to prevent possible infection. NOT a relaxed start to first experience of motherhood BUT as other poster says, it's not that common to end up having to give the baby the antiBs and this might answer some of your questions

Lionstar Tue 10-Nov-09 13:16:33

I had GBS (tested at 37 weeks). After lots of research I declined antibiotics and went on to have a successful homebirth (with midwives full support)

The test I had was one of those self-done swabs you do at home and pay for, from the Doctors Laboratory. I wanted to have a test just so that I could make an informed decision, I was well aware of the possible risks of GBS. The NHS tests are generally not as reliable as the swab ones.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sh77 Tue 10-Nov-09 13:37:29


Please visit which gives a lot of information on what strep b is , risks, private versus nhs swabs.

Sadly, my daughter passed away shortly after her birth from an infection thought to be strep b. I had no symptoms and was not swabbed. My labour was induced and I had my waters broken and so this was an ideal scenario for the bacteria to get to my baby. Had I been clued up, I would have demanded swabs before induction. It is indeed very rare that a baby dies of this but I was one of the cursed few to experience it. I would say not to stress too much but make sure you are swabbed regularly towards the end of preg. Also, keep an eye out for any amniotic leaks. My placental fluid volume fell in the last 2 weeks of preg. I don't know if I had a tiny rupture as I didn't notice and obvious leakage (but had watery discharge which I assumed was normal).

All the best.

WowOoo Tue 10-Nov-09 13:53:50

Had GBS with second birth and was told after the birth of my baby!!

I was routinely tested for it.

Sh77. That's awful. Sorry.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yummychoccycake Tue 10-Nov-09 20:24:25

I also had GBS with both babies. DS2 was quite poorly and ended up in special care for a few days, he is fine now though (3yrs old).
I do feel that everyone was way too relaxed about it considering I had it previous.
The scary thing was after I had DS2 they didnt swab him and for 10 hours after giving birth they were going to let us go home but luckily another midwife noticed something wasnt quite right. I dread to think what would have happened if they had let us go home.

Im now 28wks with DD1 and its all I can think about and to be honest Im really quite scared because for a start I have very fast labours and I just dont want a repeat of what happened with DS2

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