If you’ve got Group B strep during pregnancy, you might not even know! Testing positive for this strain of bacteria sounds super scary – but there are ways to help keep you and baby healthy during pregnancy and delivery.
What is Group B Streptococcus?
Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, is just one of the many different types bacteria that normally live in our bodies. These bacteria live harmoniously in our bodies without us even knowing, aiding with digestion, helping to boost our immune systems and generally keeping us functioning optimally.
How will I know if I have GBS?
The GBS screening test is a vaginal and rectal swab performed at approximately 35-37 weeks of pregnancy to test for the presence of Group B Strep bacteria.
How common is it?
GBS naturally occurs in about 10-30% of healthy pregnant women and has a 1% chance of passing from mother to baby during labour.
How will Group B Strep affect my baby?
In newborns, GBS is a major cause of meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and sepsis (infection of the blood).
What’s the best way to prevent my baby from getting Group B Strep?
Sounds scary, but take a deep breath! There is good news. Research shows that antibiotics given to pregnant women at the start of labour or from the time their membranes rupture (waters break) can prevent most GBS infections in newborn babies. If you are GBS positive, you will receive IV antibiotics when you are in active labour and /or if your water breaks.
Here’s even better news! Often a GBS positive result can be prevented before the screening test occurs.
Dr Sapna Flower, naturopathic doctor at Restore Integrative Health, offers these two recommendations to help decrease your chance of a positive result:
- Take a high-dose, good quality oral Probiotic
- Use a Tea Tree spray along the perineum (5-10 drops of tea tree in 1-2 cups of water in a squeeze bottle). Apply spray to the perineal area after every trip to the washroom – starting at 32 weeks
If you’ve had a history of vaginal infections, seeing a naturopathic doctor can also be beneficial during pregnancy.