The treatment of Group B Strep in pregnancy continues to be a hot topic, and one that can understandably be very emotive. It is often hard to find both sides of the argument in one place, so here is a brief overview for those of you who have trolled the internet for information about this topic and come away confused.
In most cases the pregnant mother is symptom free and unaware that she is carrying this common bacteria. It is estimated that approximately 15 – 40% of all pregnant women are colonised with Group B Streptococcus and between 40 – 70% of these mothers pass the bacteria onto their babies during the birthing process. Whilst most of these babies are not affected by this bacteria, an extremely small number, approximately 1- 2% will go on to develop a Group B Strep infection.
The treatment of Group B Strep in pregnancy continues to be a hot topic, and one that can understandably be very emotive. Group B Strep Support are currently campaigning in the UK for routine screening of GBS to be offered to all women in pregnancy, however the NHS does not advocate this as there is limited evidence regarding the benefit of this. It is has now become routine in the UK for women who have Group B Strep in pregnancy to be offered antibiotic treatment in labour, however it now seems that evidence regarding the effectiveness of this practise is lacking and furthermore no one method of screening or treatment will prevent all GBS infant deaths. In the rare cases when a baby does contracts Group B Strep the consequences can range from mild to in extreme cases even fatal, whilst following antibiotic prophylaxis treatment in labour some argue that a cascade of intervention and potential anaphylaxis could ensue. So what to do?
To be honest, it seems that currently no one can back up what they decide either way with research 100%, so firstly remember it is your decision and no one else’s, make sure you are informed, and follow your instincts.
When it comes to Group B Strep Sara Wickam is who you need to know about, and she has written a great article called ‘The War on Group B Strep’. Check out this articles also and make sure you keep an eye out for Sara Wickam’s new book she is writing for AIMS due out this summer. I also found this informative Cochrane Review and I recommend reading this very informative and well researched blog from Evidence Based Birth called Group B Strep in Pregnancy: Evidence for antibiotics and alternatives.
As with all things in life prevention is better than cure, and there are some wonderful natural treatments out there that are worth a go. There are no side effects to these treatments so there is no harm giving them ago, and in doing so hopefully avoiding a difficult decision. The following articles below will tell you everything you need to know about these natural treatments:
Whatever you decide to do, please remember It’s your decision either way!
Gemma Nealon is a midwife, Natal Hypnotherapist and Mum who teaches hypnobirthing workshops in Edinburgh. For more information on what she does please visit www.positivebirthscotland.com.