Group B Strep Screening

I am 36 weeks pregnant today, so seven days from being “full term”, 28 days to due date with potentially a further 14 days on top of that if “baby number two” decides its not time to arrive just yet! 

So today, at 36 weeks pregnant its time to do my Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Screening Test.  It needs to be undertaken between 35 and 37 weeks gestation and I wanted to share my why’s and the how’s for the benefit of other mums-to-be and to help support and raise awareness of the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK.  GBS infects around 700 babies each year in the UK of whom sadly 75 or so die and around 40 survivors suffer long-term problems as a result.  Source:  Group B Strep Support  If GBS is identified prior to labour the treatment is both very straight forward and successful with intravenous antibiotics given to the mother during labour to prevent them passing the the infection to their baby. 

I first heard about GBS when one of mums friends lost a grandchild to the infection, one of those terribly sad friend of a friend stories.  I had never heard of GBS then and I am not alone, with figures reporting up to nine out of ten pregnant women have ‘never heard’ about Group B Strep bacteria.  When I became pregnant with Lil’ H my mum was insistent I be tested for GBS so I asked my midwife to be tested and was told that they don’t test for GBS.  It was then that I became aware that the NHS does not routinely test for GBS.  Back at home, a cup of coffee and a few Google searches later and I was shocked mums-to-be weren’t being tested but I did find the GBS home testing kit available free of charge. 

So when I reached around 35 weeks pregnant with Lil’ H I did the test myself at home, sent the kit off for processing (this costs a nominal fee of £32) and had the results texted back to me.  The results were negative but I was reassured I was entering the unknown of the delivery room with at least one box ticked!  Admittedly there were a thousands more unknowns awaiting me in there with the gas & air, but both my mum and I certainly got some peace of mind from knowing that there was just one less thing to worry about.  I tested myself last time and I’m testing myself this time too.

One of my Tweeting and Blogging buddies, the lovely Violet Posy, encountered Group B Strep when her daughter Lily was born, thankfully her traumatic journey has a happy ending.  To read Violet Posy’s from the heart post about the events surrounding Lily’s arrival and her battle with the GBS infection just click here

I test myself for GBS because …
The NHS doesn’t test me.
The implications for my unborn/newborn child are life-threatening. 
I have shoes, handbags, a mobile phone and meals out which cost more.
It takes less than 5 minutes, super quick and easy.
I don’t know why I wouldn’t.

Strep_Screening_TestThe Group B Streptococcus Screening Test Kit is supplied and delivered free of charge.  There is a small cost of £32 to cover the laboratory costs of processing and providing the results.  Money which I feel couldn’t be better spent.  I got my free kit from www.MumStuff.co.uk, for your own just click here

Update 16th September – the results are in click here

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6 Comments

Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

6 responses to “Group B Strep Screening

  1. Great post! When I had my second baby, just after the birth during one of my home visits the midwife noticed that where I tear a little bit it looked a bit infected so she advised that I went to the doctor to be checked that day. Which I did obediently. Then a couple of days later my GP calls me. My first thought were “how sweet he calls to say congratulations…” no he was calling me to say that they found that I was carrier of the GBS. I had NEVER heard of that before nor about the implications. It turned out that I had a very lethargic newborn who would barely eat anything and would sleep 23hrs out of 24. He was being monitored for his weight and health, but when I heard and researched GBS I freaked! Noone would take my calls anywhere and noone was worried about it. I finally managed to have a midwife from the maternity ward calling me back and explaining that it really affects the baby in the first 48hrs after the birth and should I have another baby I would need to tell them straight away so they put the procedure in place at the birth. I was very crossed with my doctor too, because not only he didn’t went on with the congratulations but he scared the life out of me by being so insistent that I come straight back to the surgery and by not being clear about the implication it could have had on my baby.
    As for Victor the lethargy and barely eating was due to a very quick delivery and the fact that he didn’t have enough time to expulse all the mucus in his lungs and stomach. Apparently common with the baby born with a c section too.

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  3. award for you at mine 🙂

  4. Emily

    Fab post.. Just wish i had this knowledge 7 months ago!
    My baby Grace had late onset GBS and meningitis… She very suddenly became ill at 6 weeks of age with it. like many other women i had never heard of this before that fateful day, so it came as a Huge shock to me, especially after looking it up on the internet…
    I think it’s absolutely disgusting that the NHS don’t even offer information on GBS let alone screen for it…. It’s medical negligence!

    Grace is now 6 month old and is blind with extensive brain damage… It’s devastating, especially now with the knowledge i have of group b strep.. If only i knew about it when i was pregnant…. If only the mid-wife told me about it… If only she screened me when i had a bleed at 36 weeks instead of passing it off as “cervical erosion”.. If only the high blood pressure was looked into more, If only the high temperature and vomiting in labour was taken more seriously…… If only!!!!

  5. Nichol

    I found your post very informative i just wish i hadve seen it when i was pregnant as my daughter was stillborn due to GBS 16/7/09 forewarned is forearmed as they say.The test you pay a nominal price for is worth its weight in gold i would urge any pregnant mothers to do this test it could save your babies life .

  6. Pingback: Group B Strep – The results are in … « Claire Lancaster’s Weblog

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