GBS positive at 14 weeks

HI, I had a swab taken at 14 weeks due to being worried about discharge, the swab came back clear of any infection but showed a "heavy growth" of group b strep.

My doctor didn't tell me that the swab had shown gbs and said all was clear and I found out a week later via my midwife that I had it.

My midwife told me I needed to see the doctor and get some antibiotics asap to clear it up, and so I said ok. After reading about it, ive since learned that once you are positive for group b, it will always be there just some times not active and other times it flares up so antibiotics aren't effective during the pregnancy and only in labour and birth so I called back my midwife and asked her if I'd get to have another swab closer to the time of birth, and if I'd be given the IV antibiotics in labour and she said no, i wouldnt. She said that if I took the antibiotics now it'd clear it up and it'd be gone before labour so I explained what I'd learnt and she said she'd call her manager and ask and get back to me but never called me back :(

I'm in limbo now, and don't know anything about it other than what I've read! I'm terrified that I could pass this to my baby before labour and it could enter my womb and cause late miscarriage. I have no idea whether I should be taking antibiotics now or not and it's been two weeks since they found the group b strep. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Hello,

    What a shame the dr and midwife seem to have different ideas and that the midwife hasn't chased it up. I have found health professionals don't like it when I tell them about GBS as I often know more than they do.

    As far as I'm aware, if you test positive for GBS at any point in your pregnancy you should be offered antibiotics in labour, I'm not sure if this applies to an early swab such as this but see no reason why it shouldn't. GBS carriage can come and go so it doesn't mean you will be positive at the time of delivery, the sensitive test which are done privately are accurately for approx 4 weeks so should give you an indication nearer the time if you wish to be retested.

    And I believe if they find it in a urine sample then antibiotics should be taken, did they test your urine? I wouldn't know if you should take antibiotics or not.

    So sorry not much help.

    Hope your midwife comes back to you and good luck with the rest of your pregnancy x

  • Thank you for replying.

    The midwife did the standard dip test in my urine and said it was fine, but I don't know if that would pick up GBS or if the urine would have to be sent off to the lab to be tested.

    x

  • Hi Twinklex - I'm so sorry you're getting these confused messages about group B Strep. Unfortunately, all too often health professionals are not fully informed or up to date on the issue and then give out wrong information. Here's the correct info:

    1. GBS carriage (when it's found in the vagina and/or rectum) can come and go - it's not for life, nor is it active/inactive. It's either present or absent.

    2. GBS carriage does not require treatment (it's normal in the vagina and recturm) and no antibiotics tested so far can reliably eradicate GBS carriage, so there's no point trying.

    3. Antibiotics should be offered for GBS carriage when you go into labour or your waters break at term - this isn't to treat you, it's to minimise the risk of GBS infection in your newborn baby.

    4. All UK guidelines recommend that if GBS has been found during the current pregnancy, then Mum should be offered intravenous antibiotics from the start of labour and at intervals until delivery. You don't need another test (but if you want to avoid the antibiotics in labour, you could have a sensitive test which, if negative, would mean the antibiotics wouldn't be necessary - but please bear in mind that the NHS tests for GBS aren't very sensitive so you get lots of false negatives. Read more about this here: gbss.org.uk/sub_sub_section...

    5. Group B Strep may be a (thankfully) very rare cause of late miscarriage or preterm labour However, these are usually caused by a variety of factors other than GBS - genetic defects, gynaecological problems, other infections, etc. If you have had any of these problems in the past, you should make sure these possibilities are investigated fully by a consultant obstetrician regardless of whether or not you are colonised with GBS. Such complications are uncommon and GBS is a rare cause of them.

    It's very disappointing that your midwife hasn't got back to you. We'd suggest you ask to speak with the supervisor of midwives at the hospital at which you'll be having your baby, and explain what's happened. S/he will be able to tell you her hospital's policy regarding GBS. As supervisor of midwives, it will be good to let her/him know that one of the midwives is providing pregnant mums with incorrect information - s/he'll be keen to correct that (you won't have to give the midwife's name if that's a worry for you).

    Do give us a call on 01444 416176 if we can help - it's what we're here for :)

  • Thanks so much for the reply, it's nice to have some proper information regarding GBS and it's also reassuring to know it's a rare cause of late miscarriage, and prem birth. When I next have a consultant appointment at the hospital I'll be giving birth at, I'll definitely talk to them about it and tell them what they picked up on the swab and that I want to have the IV antibiotics during labour to minimise the risk of passing it to the baby.

    x

  • Contact gbss.org.uk - their numbers are on the web site. Their guys will give you the right advice. I am a carrier of Group B Strep and I now have happy, healthy 9 year old twins. You do need to get your concerns sorted though. Also ask at the hospital when you go in to see what their reaction is.

  • Hi hun, i had the same thing. Had a swab taken and it came back positive for GBS and i was about 9 weeks pregnant. They wont give me antibiotics as it can come and go so they only give them through IV in labour so it passes straight to the baby. They also dont test again usually as once u have tested positive once they will always give IV antibiotics in labour with any future pregnancies. Ive had a few swabs since as they thought my waters broke (they didnt) and they have also come back positive... i am now 32 weeks pregnant. Its scary but just try not to worry and get the antibiotics when u go into labour or go straight to hospital if u think ur waters have broken xxx

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