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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Group B Strep (GBS) Positive

I have mentioned in my last blog post that I am starting to get nervous about the upcoming birth. To make sure that this pregnancy will be full of shit-hitting-the-fan until the very end (I hear it makes for better writing), I learned last week that I am GBS positive.

GBS, or Group B streptococcus is a common bacterium often carried in your intestines or lower genital tract. Group B strep is usually harmless in adults. In newborns, however, it can cause a serious illness known as group B strep disease. Most babies born to women carrying group B strep are healthy. But the few who are infected by group B strep during labor can become critically ill. Complications include pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.

The only prevention that is currently available is for a mother to receive antibiotics via IV while in labor. A pregnant woman who tests positive for group B strep and gets antibiotics during labor has only a 1 in 4,000 chance of delivering a baby with group B strep disease, compared to a 1 in 200 chance if she does not get antibiotics during labor. The most common antibiotic to use is penicillin. So naturally, I am allergic to it. The strain of bacteria that I carry is resistant to 2 other groups of antibiotics, so I will be receiving cephalosporins, which could potentially lead to an adverse effect along the lines of anaphylaxis. The most adverse effect would be that I'd die. Unlikely, and surely something that can happen anytime anyways, but I will admit it is increasing my stress level.

If the baby leaves the hospital healthy, it still doesn't mean that she will stay healthy. Besides the early onset, there is also such thing as a late onset of Group B disease. Which means that we will be nervous wrecks for the first couple of weeks watching the baby for any potential symptoms. Which also probably means that I will quarantine the house and force you to wear sterile suits when you visit until the child becomes of a school age. Just saying...

And all of this just when I thought the only thing I needed to be realistically concerned about was postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding) that I suffered after giving birth to Kai, and that happens to be the most common cause of perinatal maternal death in the developed world and a major cause of maternal morbidity worldwide. Go figure.
This pessimistic educational post has been brought to you by Mayo Clinic, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and one fed up pregnant blogger.


  1. I love the suit you made for your cat! You should make bigger ones for people to wear as they enter your house, at least for the first 6 months :)

    1. I am so glad you got the cat photo reference, ha! He actually put it on himself - he obsessed with plastic bags, boxes and any kind of wrapping materials. :)