Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pregnancy Notes: Treating Group B Strep Naturally

Hello gals! Sorry that I have been absent the last several weeks, but it has been nice to put aside my computer and enjoy serious family time. We are now settled in my parents' house and awaiting the arrival of baby cuatro! I should post a picture of my belly... remind me to do that before the baby arrives!

Now... let's talk about GBS (Group B Strep).

Have you been tested positive for Group B Strep? Have you been told the dangers of GBS and scared into getting antibiotics when you really don't want them?

The whole Group B Strep business is highly controversial and confusing, but I want to put in my thoughts and hopefully help you make the best decision for you & your baby.

Please remember, as you read through this post, that I am not a doctor... just a pregnant mama sharing from personal experience of being tested positive at one time for GBS and chose the alternative route.

What Causes Group B Strep?
All of us naturally have GBS in our intestines whether we are pregnant or not. It is just a matter of keeping it under control with good gut bacteria... like everything else in the gut system. 

The problems arises when GBS multiplies (colonizes) during pregnancy to the point that it becomes a danger to your health and possibly your babies health.

One of the sure signs that you might test positive for GBS is if you had one or more yeast infections before or during pregnancy. That shows that your good gut bacteria is getting out numbered. It also means you need to take steps to "starve" out the bad bacteria, which means taking out the sugar & refined foods (Yeast & bacteria thrive on them!) as much as possible and increasing probiotic intake.

The Test
If you decide to get the test done... which doctors (and some midwives) normally do around weeks 35-37. The earlier, the better so you can take action to take care of the GBS if you are tested positive. Make sure you know when you will take the test so you are fully prepared!

If you do test positive, be prepared that your doctor (or midwife) most likely demand that you be on antibiotics while in labor. If you choose not to go that route, be ready to stand strong because they won't like it. You have rights to refuse it.

The Risks of Antibiotics
More of us know that antibiotics kill all bacteria (good & bad) in our system and will most likely do the same in your baby.

When given antibiotics for any reason during labor, the chances of your baby developing thrush (yeast infection) is greater and because the good bacteria gets killed... you will not have a defense system working in your favor to protect you from all the germs, bacteria & viruses you will be exposed to if you are having a hospital birth. Antibiotics are creating problems of "super bugs" which are highly resistant to normal antibiotics. One intervention can lead to potentially more need for intervention and take away your ability to bond with your child during the first week of life!

"It's well known that the percentage of babies who actually benefit from intrapartum antibiotics is very small.  And, increasingly, the routine use of chemoprophylaxis (antibiotics) during labor is causing problems with resistant GBS or resistant e. coli." (Source)

Steps to Prevent GBS
Here are some steps you can take to lower your chances of being tested positive (if you decide to be tested).
  • Throughout your pregnancy eat lots of fermented food like yogurt, kefir and homemade sauerkraut, to name a few.
  • Eat the superfoods throughout your pregnancy.
  • Take your supplements, especially raw apple cider vinegar, daily.
  • Avoid all antibiotics before and during pregnancy.
  • Take food-based Vitamin C (New Chapter is my favorite!)
  • A week or two before the test, double your probiotic intake (pills, plain yogurt, fermented foods, etc.) and rub coconut oil in and around your vaginal area every night before bed.
  • Insert a raw garlic clove vaginally, every night, for a week or two before the test day. Click here for more instructions (or read below how I did it).
  • Wear 100% cotton underwear.
  • Shower and wash your vaginal area right before you go in for your appointment.
  • If you have a say (which you should, in my opinion!), tell them to only swab the vaginal area. Some swab both the vaginal & rectal area. Which is really unnecessary because the baby is born vaginally.
If you've been tested positive, continue with the program above along with a couple extra things...
  • Eat several spoonfuls of coconut oil everyday.
  • Swallow a raw garlic clove coated with raw honey twice a day with food.
  • Optional 1: Soak a tampon with coconut oil or olive oil and a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil, insert it in for 4 hours each day for 7 days.
  • Optional 2: Rub plain yogurt or kefir in & around your vaginal area to build up good bacteria.
  • Pray for healing and belief that you & the baby are in God's hands!

My Story
I tested positive for GBS when I was pregnant with my 2nd, BUT I was tested at 2 months pregnant (which is NOT normal). I was VERY surprised by the test and felt that it was possibly a bad test because of two things... 1) she swab both my vaginal area and rectum. 2) I had no history of yeast infections or gut problems. Plus, the doctor didn't give me any heads up... she just decided to do it in the last minute because I was moving out of the country!

Then we moved to Costa Rica and (I was 5-6 months pregnant) found a wonderful midwife. I told her about my GBS positive, but she told me not to worry too much about it. As stated above... all of us naturally have GBS, it is just a matter of keeping it under control with good bacteria and good food.

I did research and decided to go ahead & take some simple steps as precaution, which she approved.

Basically, I rubbed coconut oil in & around my vaginal area a couple times a day, took lots of probiotics (pills & fermented foods) and swallowed some raw garlic every now and then. I also ate lots of coconut oil too (for those who might not know... coconut oil has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties). 

I also took a raw garlic clove, lightly crushed it, rubbed my vaginal area with coconut oil and stuck the garlic clove up in there. Seriously, garlic is amazing and bacteria can not live in the presence of garlic. If the pharmaceutical companies could patent garlic, they would be even more filthy rich than they already are! I did this almost every night before going to bed for a couple weeks. To get it out, I simply went pee and it would fall out. (Source

Honestly, I wasn't too worried about it because my midwife wasn't. She didn't even send me back to get tested again because she found the tests be unreliable and not very accurate. She also believed it created uneccessary worry for the moms. She is the kind of midwife who believes the mind is a powerful tool that can hinder or encourage a good birth. In some degree, I believe that to be true.

With my diet...I didn't really change a whole lot. I was already eating fairly healthy (no refined foods, lots of saturated fats, broths, whole foods, fermented foods, etc.) and took my supplements daily. I stayed away from sugar as much as possible. Because we had just moved to Costa Rica at this time and adjusting to our new life there along with figuring out where to find good sources of food... our food intake wasn't always perfect!

In the end, my 2nd was born healthy and strong.

With my third pregnancy, I completely forgot about GBS... didn't even get any testing done (blood or vaginal) or have a doctor (we had just moved to Honduras). The only time I went to the doctor was to get 2 ultrasounds... which was required by the US embassy to get our baby's birth certificate and passport.

We did the third birth ourselves at home and had no complications whatsoever... it was amazing. It was also my best birth out of the three! I know I need to share that birth story... someday!!!

Now, I am due any day now for baby cuatro and have not, again, done any testing. I've been following the steps above and believing all will be good!

So, my encouragement to you is NOT to worry! Whatever you and your husband decide to do, make sure to take steps to get your gut system healthy with lots of probiotics and pray for the Lord's blessing on your birth.

For more information: - GBS
Understanding GBS
Treat GBS: Are Antibiotics Necessary?
How to Treat a Vaginal Infection With a Clove of Garlic
Herbal Treatments for Group B Strep


  1. Love this! I am sure so many women will be helped by this.

  2. I used a birthing center and their five midwives with the birth of our daughter. The midwives suggested taking the pro-biotics and eating lots of fermented foods the month before the test. I think we tested in week 30 or so.

    She also suggested the rectal swab which was good because when I started to pushing a little poo did come out. This is a fairly common. I'm debating whether to leave that part about poo in there. Well, I'm going to. Not talking about it won't make it not happen.

    1. Hello Foy! Thank you for sharing your experience. Yeah, not talking about the poo doesn't mean it doesn't happen! LOL!!

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  4. How much kefir would you reccomend I drink per day? Is plain yogurt still beneficial if I mix it with fruit in a smoothie? Its the only way I've been able to have it since I got pregnant.

    1. Hello CTorres,
      As much as you can tolerate! If the kefir or yogurt is store-bought, make sure there is no sugar. Yes, you can still get the benefits drinking your kefir or yogurt in a smoothie with fruit. When I was pregnant with my 2nd, 3rd and 4th babies... I drank a large kefir smoothie almost everyday. Really, you can't have too much kefir or yogurt! :)

  5. Hi
    I'm very upset I tested positive and all of the things said about gbs births (stillbirth,seizures, limpness, etc)
    Has me devastated
    I'm 36w &6days
    Im goin to try the remedy n pray it works I'm due Feb 16th
    So plz pray for my baby n if u want an update u can email me

    1. Hi there, I understand what you are going through and feeling. I will keep you in my prayers!

      I really encourage you NOT to worry or stress. Don't even think about it. Do the remedies and pray for the Lord's strength to protect your baby.

      Did you find out how high the counts were? Be sure to double your intake of probiotics and everything else. Trust the Lord to bring healing and strength for you and the baby!

      Let me pray now... Lord, please put your hand of peace and healing over this gal. Give her strength to believe and trust in You. Bring people alongside her to encourage and pray over her. Lord, I know you already have her and her baby in your hands and taking care of this situation. Thank you Lord! Amen.

  6. I've read and re-read this blog post of yours several times as I struggle with our own decision. I was GBS+ at 36 weeks, 37 weeks, and again at 38 weeks, despite the arsenal of things I added to my already healthy whole foods diet when I first found out.

    This is my third, and I tested neg. with my first two babies. So this + test is really throwing me for a loop.

    Unfortunately, the test my OB's office uses now doesn't give a scale for the GBS counts. It's just a pass/fail test. SO....I don't even have a way of knowing whether my efforts have improved my counts. Ugh.

    I'm struggling every day with wanting to make the best decision for my little girl but not knowing exactly what the best choice is. I've cried out to God, and he's reassured me that I am not alone. He's with me all the way. I just keep praying to hear his leading clearly on this issue.

    I'm also due this Sunday, February 16, and I'd love it if you'd pray for me!

    1. Hello Jennifer, I understand your struggle and will be praying for you! I just emailed you.

  7. This is fascinating to me. I tested positive for gbh with my first 3. We're about 5wks with #4 and I really don't want a repeat. However, some of the diet recommendations are a no-go. I get terrible hyperemesis gravidarum; cracked ribs & all. The thought of most meats when I'm pregnant is enough to make me start throwing up. I can't tolerate foods that are normally no problem. Swallowing pills makes me throw up too. Any ideas? Can I buy bone broths? Boiling & cooking meat causes problems for me too. I just started dabbling in essential oils, and so far, they don't bother me. Any ideas?

    1. Hello Emily, can you tolerate smoothies? You can hide coconut oil in smoothies with kefir or yogurt along with probiotics to get it all down. What CAN you eat that won't bother you?

      What about tea? My Happy Belly tea is good, but you could add some other herbs to maybe help.

      With bone broths, yes you can buy them, but they are not the same quality has homemade broth. Plus, they usually have too much salt in them.

      You could mix together some lavender and tea tree essential oils with coconut oil or olive oil and rub it inside daily... like what I shared in my post.

      Ideally, you need to take the stuff recommended in the above post for it to be affective. Simply rubbing something on and drinking store-bought broth will not, in my opinion, be effective enough. It is VITAL to be taking LOTS of probiotics of some form... pills, lacto-fermented foods, lacto-fermented drinks, etc...

      Another thing you should think about is getting magnesium lotion to help with your food intolerate.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Thank you so much for writing this! I'm 371/2 weeks and just got my GBS test back and it's positive. :( Honestly, more than anything else I appreciate the encouragement to NOT worry and instead bring it to God. :)

  9. I was wondering if you could help me understand the tea tree oil part a bit. I am following your regimen and have been for the past week. But I have also been obsessively reading on this trying to convince myself that I am not hurting my baby by declining antibiotics. My husband and I have read enough to know the long term effects of the antibiotics are far worse. My sisters baby died 6 years ago from a simple cold that it caught in the hospital and the doctors were very apologetic because they said the antibiotics had killed her good bacteria and stunted her immune system enough that something so small killed her baby in only a few days of showing the signs of a cold...... my actual question is this: tea tree oil can be extremely toxic. So much so that one drop ingested by a cat can kill it. Can it cause damage or cause a still birth to a fetus inside if you are putting the tea tree oil up in the vagina? I have had no problems so far but just thought I would ask if you have heard of anything like that. Thanks so much.

    1. Hello Iiana, Sorry for the delay in responding... my family and I are traveling in the states right now. I understand your concern and respect your desire to be cautious. How do you feel and how does your baby feel to you? Has anything happen to you or your baby to cause concern? If everything feels good then I wouldn't worry.

      I want to assure you that the tea tree essential oil is safe and I personally know other mamas who have used tea tree with no effect to their babies (myself including). Keep in mind, that essential oils should be treated like medicine. You don't take antibiotics whenever you fee like it right? That should be the same for essential oils as they are very powerful and should only be used when needed.

      Are you are diluting the tea tree with coconut oil or olive oil? If you have already been doing it for a week... you shouldn't need to do that anymore now, but continue on with the other remedies. Be sure to take LOTS of probiotics and keep sugar out of your diet. Also, it would be a good idea to keep putting plain coconut oil up the vagina too.

      As for tea tree being toxic for cats... that is true, but you must understand that cats have a different system then humans do. There are a lot of things we consume that are toxic to some animals. Such as garlic and potatoes and tomatoes... they are toxic for dogs and cats.

      I hope this was helpful and praying that you have a smooth pregnancy and birth!

  10. I just want to add the other side. Our family adopted a beautiful little girl who was abandoned at the hospital. Unfortunately she was infected with GBS and died a horrible death after 6 weeks. We learned later that the mom had given birth previously to a GBS infected child that hd also died.

    Please don't think that your health care person is jut trying to scare you... sometimes terribly sad things do happen.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss! Did the mother take antibiotics for GBS? I would think so if she had a previous birth infected with with GBS. Also, do you have any information on the mother's background? What her diet was like? Her lifestyle? These all play a huge part on the baby and the chances of survival against GBS.

      Again, I am sorry for your loss and pray that you will find healing through it.

  11. It's fine to give advice based on experience but people should be cautioned that this is not science and there is really no solid evidence to suggest any of this works or is safe based on a few outcomes. People seem to have a very difficult time understanding probability. We look at two or three experiences and conclude that there is a trend based on their outcome. In the case of GBS, even with a positive test and no treatment, there is only a 1 in 400 chance of adverse effect for the baby. So you can have 1, 3, or even 300 healthy babies with a GBS infection and it doesn't demonstrate anything. If you were never retested after your self-treatment, there is no way of knowing whether it actually worked or you were just one of the 399 out of 400 women who have a healthy birth with GBS. Even antibiotics are not a miracle cure, they reduce the odds to 1 in 8000. So yeah, there is a very high probability that whether you do nothing or engage in a self-treatment that may or may not be effective, you'll still have a good outcome. However, with millions of women giving birth every year, some are going to be that 400th woman who aren't lucky. I think it's fine if people want to try alternative methods but, if you do, you should get re-tested and then make a decision based on the results. Just trying this and hoping it works is crazy.

    1. thank you for your thoughtful comment! I, too, agree with you to get re-tested even though I don't say that in my post. It is a decision for each individual and what they feel is best for them.

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