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 TestIf 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!
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:
Gentlebirth.org - GBS
Treat GBS: Are Antibiotics Necessary?
How to Treat a Vaginal Infection With a Clove of Garlic
Herbal Treatments for Group B Strep