I have Group B Strep at 15 weeks

Hi, i had a call today from the hospital to inform me that i tested positive for Group B Strep (had no idea i was being tested for it). I am 15 weeks 4 days pregnant with my 3rd baby and had a swab to test for amniotic fluid as i started 'leaking' clear fluid (i had pprom at 26 weeks with last pregnancy) and i also have a short cervix (2 - 3cm) due to 3 lletz loop procedures to remove pre-cancerous cells. My last baby was born at 35 weeks due to infection levels rising after my waters ruptured at 26 weeks. He was very seriously ill about 3 days after birth but not sure to this day what nearly killed him. Im now worried that with a short cervix AND Strep B that we could be dealing with another premature and very sick baby! Please help, i feel i need to know exactly the risks we could be dealing with instead of being unprepared like last time. Thankyou x

7 Replies

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  • Hi Stacca - Congratulations on your pregnancy and I'm sorry to hear of the problems you've had.

    It's great you and your health professionals know you carry group B Strep this pregnancy, as it means you can all take this into account when making decisions about your care.

    GBS can cause all kinds of problems but, thankfully, usually the mother's and the baby's defence mechanisms work just fine (which is why there is around one GBS infection in every 1,000 babies born in the UK, despite the fact that around one in four carry GBS).

    I would hugely suggest that you make an appointment to talk with a consultant obstetrician to discuss your gynaecological and obstetric history and together to work out a plan specific to you for this pregnancy, including addressing the GBS risk.

    Because GBS has been found this pregnancy, you should automatically be offered intravenous antibiotics as soon as possible whenever your labour has started.

    Good luck - please do call us at GBSS on 01444 416176 if we can help at all, or email us at info@gbss.org.uk. I hope your pregnancy continues completely uneventfully!

    Jane x

  • Hiya thank you for taking the time to reply. I cant have penicillin as i am allergic to it so what other antibiotics would work just as well and would it be the same time 4 hours before delivery? Thanks again x

  • HI - Clindamycin is usually the alternative given. Ideally the first dose will be given at least 4 hours before delivery, but because it takes longer to be excreted from the body, it's given at 8 hourly rather than 4 hourly intervals.

  • Thankyou, my hospital and midwife are saying that its nothing to worry about and id just have antibiotics in labour... my midwife will be giving me a 'leaflet' on GBS but considering what i went through last time i would have thought they would be more informed and tell me all i want and need to know. Feel like im banging my head against a wall trying to talk to them.

  • Hmm, can understand your feeling that. Do ask to see a consultant obstetrician (so a senior doctor specialising in obstetrics, ideally someone who has a particular interest in your issues) to discuss your full history and make a plan. Your health professionals will be very nearly as keen as you are that all goes well :)

  • Could I also suggest to take garlic and pro-biotic supplements (or raw garlic and natural yoghurt if you prefer) and have another test towards the end of your pregnancy (fingers crossed the baby won't be too early). It's not science, but I've read stories of ladies who tested negative for strep B after taking them, even though they were positive before. Something to do with balancing vaginal flora (garlic kills all bad bacteria and pro-biotics replenish all the good ones. It's something that's safe and doesn't hurt to try, but do follow medical advice too, especially if the baby's born early and you haven't had a follow-up test.

  • I don't know anything about probiotic and/or garlic supplements, including whether they're safe in pregnancy, but I haven't seen any good evidence that these affect either GBS carriage or GBS infection in newborn babies.

    I would like to comment about retesting for GBS carriage later in your pregnancy:

    a) most NHS hospitals don't offer the sensitive Enriched Culture Medium test for GBS and the one they do offer will miss GBS carriage for up to 50% of women carrying at the time so, if you are retested, make sure it's the right sort of test (we list places which we know follow the Health Protection Agency's guidelines for ECM test on gbss.org.uk/test)

    b) will a later test result change your treatment? Clearly a positive test result will mean you should still be offered the intravenous antibiotics in labour. However, if a sensitive test result is negative, will you be happy not to have the IV antibiotics in labour? Assuming the sensitive test is done within 5 weeks of your baby's birth, the recommendation will be not to give you intravenous antibiotics in labour. If you would not be happy with this, my question would be why repeat the test? And, of course, if you have a standard NHS test which is negative, it's not hugely predictive of not carrying GBS as up to 50% of the standard NHS GBS tests won't find GBS even when it is there. ]

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