Group B strep: What you must know

What does it mean if you test positive for Group B streptococcus when you’re pregnant? We fill you in.

Pregnancy-Group-B-Strep-What-you-must-know

Lim Ting, 33, found out that she had tested positive for GBS (Group B streptococcus bacteria) when she was 35 weeks into her second pregnancy with her now 3-year-old son Kyne. Although it was her second child, she knew nothing about GBS. “In fact, I didn’t even know that I was screened for GBS in my first pregnancy,” she says.

Ting was put on a course of antibiotics to treat the condition. However, she realised that this wasn’t going to work. She says, “I’d been given the same antibiotics a few months before for a sore throat, and I was allergic to it. After checking with the gynae, I found that I could not take anything, as I’m allergic to Penicillin, Amoxicillin and Erythromycin.” The only thing the doctor said he could do was to treat the baby if he had GBS when he was born.

Ting recalls, “I left the clinic feeling lost and puzzled. When I went home and started searching for answers on the Internet, I froze when I read the possible risks to the newborn: Stillbirth, pneumonia, meningitis, deafness and blindness.”

I froze when I read the possible risks to the newborn.

Having also read that the longer the baby stays in the birth canal, the higher the chances he will be infected with the bacteria, Ting says that she sank into a “panic, depressive, worried-sick mode”. The anxiety and worry affected even her sleep.

She then decided to look into natural remedies, and bought supplements and probiotics to build up her immunity and rid her body of the “bad” bacteria (though these ways have not been medically proven to prevent your baby from getting Group B strep).

Thankfully, when Kyne was born, he was infection free. Although the paediatrician told Ting to monitor her baby in the first month, and to bring him to the hospital immediately if he had any fever or abnormalities like eye discharge, Kyne was fine.

To find out more about GBS and how it can affect you if you are pregnant, read on...