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Thread: GBS (Group B Strep) and Pregnancy/Birth: What Does The Research Really Say?

  1. #1

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    Default GBS (Group B Strep) and Pregnancy/Birth: What Does The Research Really Say?

    This is not really a medical condition as GBS is found naturally in 30% of women, but anyways, I will post here.

    Group B Streptococcus

    What Does The Research Really Say?

    In the US, most pregnant women have heard of Group B Streptococcus, but unfortunately know little
    true information about the condition and the real risks involved. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all pregnant women be screened between weeks 35 and 37 of their pregnancies to determine if they are carriers of GBS by taking a swab of the vaginal and rectal areas. About 30% of pregnant women are found to be colonized with GBS in one of both areas.

    The recommended treatment by the CDC and ACOG is intravenous antibiotics during birthing because GBS can be passed from you to the baby during delivery and cause sepsis (a blood infection), pneumonia, and/or meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining of the brain).

    WHY WOULDN'T A MOTHER CHOOSE ANTIBIOTICS?


    To answer this question, we need to look at what GBS truly is and why it might not be such a good idea to recommend that a third of all pregnant women expose themselves and their babies to antibiotics from birth.


    GBS is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestinal tracts of many healthy people. In truth, you should never be termed ?GBS infected? but rather ?GBS colonized?. Remember that the intestinal tract is composed of normal healthy bacteria, including GBS. It is usually a transient condition that will come and go through your pregnancy. You may swab positive at 36 weeks, only to be negative again at 38 weeks.

    GBS can cause problems only when it is present in the genital area during birthing and delivery. When this happens, there is a very small risk that the bacteria will be passed on to the baby and become sick. Approximately 0.0225% of women found to be GBS+ at 35 to 37 weeks who aren?t treated with antibiotics will have a baby who becomes ill. That's 1 in 4444 babies who will become ill.

    But here?s the most important point: in women who do receive antibiotics, 0.0225% of babies will go on to become ill from GBS. That's also 1 in 4444 babies who will become ill.


    Antibiotics make absolutely no difference in the number of babies who will die from GBS.

    In truth, there are many reasons you don?t want antibiotics for Group B Streptococcus, besides the fact that they don?t improve outcomes at all. These include:

    ? Increasing occurrence of antibiotic-resistant infections (?superbugs? - think MRSA)
    ? Use of antibiotics has increased risk of developing other infections (sepsis & E. Coli included)
    ? Colonization of GBS is a poor indicator of which babies will become ill
    ? Antibiotics fail to prevent infection in 30% of cases

    The most-commonly used antibiotic for treating Group B Streptococcus during birthing is penicillin. Fewer bacteria currently show a resistance to penicillin than to other antibiotics used to treat GBS. Ampicillin and amoxicillin are virtually worthless for treating GBS due to overuse that has now made Group B Streptococcus resistant to them. It?s only a matter of time until penicillin is also ineffective against GBS. The superbug is on its way.

    If you are allergic to penicillin, your options decrease. 29% of Group B Streptococcus strains are resistant to non-penicillin antibiotics. If you don?t know if you?re allergic or even if you?ve had it in the past, there?s a 1/10 chance of a mild reaction such as a rash, and a 1/10,000 chance of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

    Two in 10,000 babies may be saved by antibiotics during birth, but this comes at the cost of giving 1/3 of all pregnant women antibiotics. The risks of developing a superbug are greater than the chances of saving your baby with antibiotics. This also doesn?t take into account how many other infections babies given antibiotics may develop other than Group B Streptococcus.


    WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR MOTHERS WITH GBS?



    There are three significant factors that place your baby at increased risk of infection: fever during birthing, water breaking 18 hours or more before birthing (prolonged rupture of membranes, or PROM), and/or birthing or broken water before 37 weeks. Other factors that can contribute to a newborn's risk of contracting Group B Streptococcus infection include age, ethnicity, and medical criteria, such as the following: being born to a mother who is less than 20 years old, being African American, large amounts of GBS bacteria in the vaginal tract, and having a previous baby with GBS disease.


    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GBS INFECTION IN A BABY?


    There are two forms of Group B Streptococcus infection: early and late onset. In early-onset GBS disease, your baby will become ill within seven days of birth. In severe early-onset GBS infection, about 6 percent of babies will die from complications of the infection. Full-term babies are less likely to die; 2-8% suffer fatal complications. Premature babies have mortality rates of 25-30%. Late-onset GBS infection is more complicated and may not have anything to do with whether you had GBS during birthing. It occurs between seven days and three months of age.

    Symptoms of early-onset Group B Streptococcus infection include any of the following: fever or abnormally low body temperature, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), poor feeding, vomiting, seizures, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the abdomen, and bloody stools. The most common symptom is difficulty breathing, which is also the most common complication in babies whose mothers choose drugs during birthing. Since these symptoms can occur in so many circumstances not related to GBS, a C-Reactive protein test can be given to a symptomatic baby to reveal the presence of an active infection.


    ARE THERE ALTERNATIVES TO ANTIBIOTICS?


    Even though Group B Streptococcus is a transient infection, without an active effort to eradicate the GBS colonization, it is likely that you will still be colonized after 37 weeks. We will see better outcomes by simply focusing on reducing colonization rather than treating it after the fact.

    There are many probiotic, natural remedies that focus on restoring a healthy vaginal flora balance, reducing bacterial overgrowth, and directly reducing the bacterial concentration. These treatments can begin at 32 weeks rather than waiting for a positive culture. Another option is to NOT screen for beta strep during pregnancy, but to follow a strict protocol during birthing if you have the following risk factors: 1) fever over 38 degrees Celsius, 2) pre-term birthing < 37 weeks, 3) prolonged rupture of membranes > 18 hours, 4) multiple births, and 5) previously-infected baby. In these cases antibiotics may be indicated. Those infants who are symptomatic (fever, fast breathing, poor feeding, high pitched cry) can be evaluated for sepsis and given antibiotics for 48-72 hours. Alternately, you can request a C-reactive protein test to determine the presence of an active infection before giving antibiotics to the baby.
    Return to Top of Group B Streptococcus
    TREATMENT OPTIONS
    Below are a series of treatment options for you to consider:

    TREATMENT OPTION #1:
    If you have a heavy colonization, use Tea tree oil vaginal suppositories 3-4 times daily for that time. This can be done on a small size tampon or a cotton ball, whichever is more comfortable. Colonization is measured on a range from 1-4 with 1 being minimal and 4 being heavy colonization.


    TREATMENT OPTION #2:
    Take 500mg Vitamin C, Propolis 4x daily, and insert a tampon soaked in 2% Tea Tree oil solution (2%Tea Tree essential oil, 98% Olive oil). Leave the tampon in for 4 hours each day for 6 days.

    TREATMENT OPTION #3:
    Take 3 caps of Congaplex by Standard Brands 3 times a day for a week, then re-culture. If still positive, take 1 cap per day until the end of pregnancy.

    TREATMENT OPTION #4:
    At 32 weeks, begin to take a supplement of 500 mg of Vitamin C and one cup of burdock root and Echinacea root infusion. To prepare the infusion, steep one-half ounce of each of the herbs in four cups of boiling water for two hours. Strain and take the above dose, storing the rest in the refrigerator for the next day.

    TREATMENT OPTION #5
    Drink 3 teaspoons of Colloidal Silver, which is silver suspended in water, per day between meals. Hold the liquid in your mouth a few minutes before swallowing. Colloidal Silver can be purchased in most health food stores. It is antibiotic in nature and safe in pregnancy.

    TREATMENT OPTION #6:
    Use of oral antibiotics: 3 a day starting at week 37 and then one a day until birthing begins. When birthing begins, take one every 4-6 hours until the baby is born. (It seems like a lot, but it lets you avoid the cascade of interventions that IV antibiotics brings at the hospital).

    TREATMENT OPTION #7:
    Treat with antibiotics by intramuscular injection (IM) before the birth. This method will cover you for 30 days after the injections (4 injections total to give the full dose).

    TREATMENT OPTION #8:
    Take 1/3 teaspoon of echinacea and astragalus tinctures twice daily. You can get dried astragalus in the herb department of health food stores. Cook two strips into a pot of rice or soup 2-3 times per week Remove the strips when done cooking and eat the rice or soup. Astragalus is an immune system tonic used in Chinese medicine.

    TREATMENT OPTION #9:
    Make a garlic elixir by blending 1/2 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and half a bulb of fresh garlic until liquified. Take 1/2 teaspoon up to twice daily. Season to taste with honey or vinegar.
    Return to Top of Group B Streptococcus

    PREVENTION TIPS

    ? Breastfeed immediately and frequently. The colostrum is the best antibiotic treatment your baby could ever get.
    ? Refuse vaginal exams
    ? DO NOT permit artificial rupture of membranes.

    SAMPLE BIRTH PLAN LANGUAGE

    After you have assessed your situation and decided upon your preferred course of treatment, you must add it either in the body of your birth plan or as an addendum. Here is some sample language you may wish to include:

    I (will/will not) be screened for Group B Streptococcus.

    If the result is negative, the only precautions will be to closely monitor birthing for the above risk factors and monitor the baby after childbirth for possible signs of infection.

    If any of the risk factors (fever over 38 degrees Celsius, pre-term birthing < 37 weeks, prolonged rupture of membranes > 18 hours) occur, mother will consent to alternative treatment options other than those listed above in the best interest of the health of the baby.
    If the result is positive the treatment of choice is (list treatment option #):_______

    Mother?s Signature Date Care Provider?s Signature Date


    REFERENCES

    F. Smaill, "Intrapartum Antibiotics for Group B Streptococcal Colonization," Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2 (2000): CD000115: Pregnancy, Birth & Baby At BellyBelly. The Best Pregnancy, Birth & Baby Articles Online!. nih.govl.

    S. D. Manning et al., "Correlates of Antibiotic-Resistant Group B Streptococcus Isolated from Pregnant Women," Obstetric Gynecology 101, no. 1 (2003): 74-79

    R. K. Edwards et al., "Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis 2: Positive Predictive Value Antenatal Group B Streptococci Cultures and Antibiotic Susceptibility of Clinical Isolates," Obstetric Gynecology 100, no. 3 (2002): 540-544.

    M. Dabrowska-Szponar and J. Galinski. "Drug Resistance of Group 9 Streptococci," Pol Merkuriusz Lek 10, no. 60(2001): 442-444.

    M. L. Bland et al., "Antibiotic Resistance Patterns of Group B Streptococci in Late Third Trimester Rectovaginal Cultures," American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology 184. no, 6 (2001): 1125-1126.

    T. B. Hyde ct al., "Trends in Incidence and Antimicrobial Resistance of Early-Onset Sepsis: Population-Based Surveillance in San Francisco and Atlanta," Pediatrics 110, no. 4 (2002): 690-695.

    R. S. McDuffie Jr. et al., "Adverse Perinatal Outcome and Resistant Enterobacteriaceae after Antibiotic Usage for Premature Rupture of Membranes and Group B Streptococcus Carriage," Obstetric Gynecology 82, no. 4, pt. 1 (1993): 487-489.

    C. V. Towers and G. G. Briggs, "Antepartum Use of Antibiotics and Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis: The Next Four Years," American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology 187, no. 2 (2002): 495-500.

    S. J. Schrag et al., "A Popular/on Based Comparison of Strategies Co Prevent Early-Onset Group B Streptococcal Disease in Neonates," New England Journal of Medicine 347 (2002): 233-239.
    Group B Streptococcus | What Does the Research Really Say?
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  2. #2

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    My Ob never tested me for GBS as it is a transient thing (i.e. you could be pos now and neg at birth or vice versa) and he said he monitors the baby and can tell if the bub has GBS or if it's high risk then he'd give abs. All Obs are different though, but this is coming from a fertility specialist, higher intervention Ob.

    Also, on a recent Facebook status I posted: "E-coli is now the leading cause of neonatal infection, NOT GBS!!! #ican2011"

    Someone replied with this: "This very reason is why the UK stopped routinely giving antibiotics to GBS positive mothers, instead watching baby for signs ands symptoms or testing the blood looking for markers. They had to high of an increase in E-coli infections, which is so much more serious for these little babies."
    Last edited by BellyBelly; April 10th, 2011 at 11:13 AM.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  3. #3

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    Interesting article Kelly thank you for posting this.

    I just got a call from my MW to say that I tested positive to strep b and am confused as to whether or not I should take the AB's or not during labour...... I need to do my research first.

  4. #4

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    Is GBS for the babies?

  5. #5

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    I know that you've put the implications of over use of antibiotics, but what about the implications of have GBS (correct name is actually Streptococcus agalactiae) untreated? It can cause a urinary tract infection (which is of increased risk with pregnancy), premature labour, and PROM (premature rupture of the membranes) in the mother. As well as sepsis, meningitis, fever and respiratory distress in newborns, it can also cause a post partum infection for the mother - such as endometritis, with can lead to a pelvic abscess and septic shock.

    Not only can having a LVS/HVS (low vaginal swab/high vaginal swab) taken and screened for GBS, it can also be used to screen for other organisms (such as for colonisation of Escherichia coli). Also, when I was working in a microbiology laboratory attached to a maternity ward, we *occasionally* found colonisation of Listeria monocytogenes in vaginal swabs.

    Information taken from Bailey & Scott's et al Diagnostic Microbiology

  6. #6

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    http://www.bellybelly.com.au/forums/...-odent-171460/

    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

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