Friday, 15 March 2013

Group B Strep

To Take The Test or Not?

Further information on Group B Strep visit

25% of women carry to Group B Strep bacteria in their bodies however only 0.5% of these women pass the infection on to their babies.

In the UK, we do not test for Group B Strep routinely in pregnancy.
Instead antiobiotics are offered to woman as standard if they fall into one of the following high risk categories:
  • Mothers who have previously had a baby infected with GBS– risk is increased 10 fold
  • Mothers who have been shown to carry GBS in this pregnancy or GBS has been found in the urine at any time during this pregnancy– risk is increased 4 fold
  • Labour starts or membranes rupture before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed (i.e. preterm) – risk is increased 3 fold
  • Where there is prolonged rupture of the membranes – more than 18 hours before delivery – risk is increased 3 fold
  • Where the mother has a raised temperature* during labour of 37.8°C or higher – risk is increased 3 fold
If you fall outside of these factors then no testing or antibiotics are offered as standard.


You can pay and have a test done privately.
The question is would you want to?
Their is a 25% chance the test will come back positive but even then the risk to your baby is still low (0.5%).
Anyone returning a postive test result will have to give birth in hospital rather than at home or a midwife led unit and will be offerered intra-venus antibiotics throughout their labour.
It is commonly accepted that one the best ways to help labour progress is to keep moving and not lie on a bed for hours.  This is in direct contrast to having to lie on the bed receiving antibiotics.
I am also very keen to have a water birth, which i would not be able to do if the test was positve as their are no birthing pools in my local hospital, only in the midwife led unit.

I feel this puts me in an impossible position.
I do not have any of the risk factors highlighted above.
Do I take the test and risk it coming back positive and then not get the birth I want - when there is only a 0.5% of actually passing the infection to baby
Do I not take the test, hopefully get the less stressful birth but potentially risk passing on an infection that I may/may not have to my baby.

What I would like is to take the test, find out the result, and then make an informed decision about what I want to do, however it sounds like once the test results are back, the decision will be taken out of my hands.

This sums my feelings up perfectly:
"Not every pregnant Mum who finds out she carries GBS will want to have intravenous antibiotics in labour.  You may decide not to have them unless there are other additional risk factors - after all, only a small percentage of babies born to Mums carrying GBS at delivery will develop GBS infection. However, if you do decide against antibiotics in labour, it would be prudent for the baby to be observed by trained staff for at least 24 hours (and ideally for 48 hours). If the positive test was from the urine, this means that the GBS was more invasive, and so antibiotics will be recommended even if a vaginal swab is subsequently negative." (

Decisions, Decisions...

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