A new worry – just when I was feeling pretty cool about this whole birth thing.
At my obs appointment last week my obs said that I’d tested positive for Group B strep. She said that some percentage (15 -30% ?) of women have this bacteria naturally occurring in their bodies, it is not something that is a problem for me, but can cause problems for the baby. So they will give me antibiotics from when my water breaks. The doc was very relaxed about all this, it seemed very routine, so I was all “sure, thanks for letting me know”.
I had a quick glance at the ‘What to expect…..’ and ‘Up the duff’ books at home, and they just said “you will be tested and if you’re positive you’ll be given antibiotics during labour”, so again, I went “sure, no worries”.
Last night I took a moment to check it out online *cue spooky music here*. I read the Child and Youth Heath website, and a few other Australian state based resources, as well as official UK and USA health websites. I also read a few forums (always a bad idea). Apparently Group B Strep can result in the baby becoming very ill, and is responsible for some babies contracting meningitis, which can be deadly. It can also cause stillbirth.
Yes, the stats are low. Yes, my higher risk indicators should be low (ie. if I give birth preterm, if my labours break 18 hours prior to the baby being born, if I have a fever during labour, if I have had a previous bub with GBS, then there is more risk of bub contracting GBS and therefore more risk of it being ill). However this is a scare I really didn’t want. It’s more medical intervention, and more worry when I’ve got a newborn. The late onset of GBS infection can occur in babies up to three months after birth, so it’s something that doesn’t go away straight away.
So, I have printed out a bunch of info and written out some questions for the obs. Hopefully I make it to my next appointment, or I’ll be asking these questions during labour!
Some of the things I want to know are:
- can I be retested to see if I still have it? Apparently it can be there one week and not the next.
- will the midwives know that I need to have the antibiotics, or do I need to make the staff aware when I arrive at hospital?
- how will I/you/whoever know if I have a fever during labour?
- what risk is there and why is there a risk of stillbirth?
- am I attached to a drip the whole time during labour (they top up the antibiotics every four hours during labour). Can I still move around?
- Will the antibiotic (penicillin) be transferred to baby during labour? What if baby is allergic?
- Apparently bub will need treatment if the sac is infected before labour – how will I know if it is infected?
- Do you test the baby after birth for GBS – how is this done and when are results known?