Group B Strep – Easy, Natural Treatments For Group B Strep
Have you been told that Group B Strep will likely kill your baby? Has your doctor put the fear of God in you that if you don’t treat Group B Strep with their exact protocol (penicillin) for 4 hours during labor, you will be causing extreme danger to your little one and it will probably kill them? I get a lot of emails and phone calls concerning GBS (group b strep) and frankly I am tired of ‘everyone’ being afraid of this bacteria that is commonly found in healthy individual’s intestines. I have done a lot of research about the treatment of Group B Strep. My goal for the research was to figure out if it really is in our favor and is it really safe to take antibiotics during labor to prevent the baby from contracting GBS during delivery. Read my disclaimer please, because my lawyer/husband doesn’t want you to incarcerate me because you think I’m a doctor :-)
Pregnancy – What Causes Group B Strep?
Group B Strep can be found in your intestines at any given time whether pregnant or not. The problems come when it colonizes (multiplies) during pregnancy to the point that it becomes a danger to your health and potentially to your babies health and in very rare cases will kill your baby if it goes undetected.
As a side note, if wonder if you are more susceptible to testing positive for GBS, keep reading. If you have had one or more yeast infections during your pregnancy, that is a sign that your good bacteria in your gut is becoming out numbered. Yeast also loves sugar, so maybe you are eating too much sugar. Eating yogurt daily or taking a daily probiotic like a capsule (if you can’t do dairy) is a wonderful thing to do for your diet, colon and health. If you have been on antibiotics, you definitely need to be on a probiotic. Daily if possibly. Antibiotics kill all bacteria – the good and bad. Probiotics (like acidopholis found in yogurt) helps your body grow and multiply (colonize) the good bacteria that eats the bad bacteria in your system.
The Group B Test
Your care provider will usually do the Group B Test sometime during weeks 35-37. If you decide to get the test done, I would recommend doing it week 35 or 36 and get your results right away so you can take action to get rid of the GBS before the baby comes.
If you have a say over the test, in my opinion, I would have the only swab the vaginal area. Some swab both vaginal and rectal. Since the baby is born vaginally, then there is no need to swab the rectum.
If you test positive for Group B Strep, your care provider will recommend or demand that you be on antibiotics with you start labor as to ‘protect’ the baby from contracting GBS during delivery. See Statistics below.
Antibiotics During Labor
As stated above, antibiotics kill all bacteria -good and bad- in your system and likely to kill the same in your baby. When given antibiotics for any reason during labor, the chances of your baby developing thrush (yeast infection) is great. Also, since the good bacteria gets killed too, you now know longer have a defense system working in your favor to protect you from all the other germs, bacteria and viruses you will be exposed to in the hospital. Antibiotics also lead to the problems of ‘super bugs’ (very serious) which are resistant to normal strength antibiotics. One intervention leads to potentially more need for intervention and concern.
How To Avoid Group B Strep
- Eat lots of good yogurt throughout pregnancy
- Try to avoid all antibiotics during pregnancy
- Throughout pregnancy eat fermented foods (they are high in probiotics) like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, homemade sauerkraut, and tempeh, to name a few.
- A week or two before the test, increase your probiotic intake.
- Insert a garlic clove vaginally nightly for a week or two before the test day. Click here for ‘how to insert garlic‘. No, really, I’m serious – garlic is an amazing thing. Bacteria can not live in the presence of garlic. If the pharmaceutical companies could patent garlic, they would be even more wealthy than they already are.
Natural Remedies For Treating Group B Strep Before Deliver
- Start inserting a garlic clove vaginally every night. Click here for ‘how to insert garlic’. -why at night? because you will probably taste it and it’s easier for you and others to deal with the taste/smell when asleep. If you taste it, that is a good sign because that means it’s active and working! You can slit the garlic a bit to make it more potent.
- Take mega doses of probiotics. A good product is called Fem-Dopholis by Jarrow
- Eat fermented foods (they are high in probiotics) like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, homemade sauerkraut, and tempeh, to name a few.
- If you can’t find Fem-Dophilus locally, you can order it from amazon or vitacost.
- Get another Group B Step test done 2 weeks later (week 37/38) you can do it as early as 8 days later if you are running out of time.
- Continue treatment until labor starts or until water breaks – which ever happens first
- Echinacea and Astragalus help boost your immunity and are safe during pregnancy. (both available at health food stores or online)
- additional protocols that can be added to the above are listed here
Alternative Approach To Treating Group B Strep
“It’s well known that the percentage of babies who actually benefit from antibiotics is very small. And, increasingly, the routine use of antibiotics during labor is causing problems with resistant GBS or resistant e. coli.
So, in this area, some OBs and pediatricians have a new approach; for cases of prolonged rupture of membranes, they’re only giving antibiotics if the mom runs a fever (100.4 or higher). Otherwise, they just do a simple blood test on the baby (can be done from cord blood or a heelstick if they miss the cord blood opportunity) to check for C-reactive protein. This is an indicator of an acute infection. If it’s negative, everyone can be reassured that baby’s fine, even though mom didn’t get antibiotics; if it’s positive (for whatever reason!), then baby will be appropriately treated for an acute infection. This has great potential for focusing the treatment where it is most needed and not exposing all the others to unnecessary side effects and increased risks from resistant bacteria. HURRAY for progress!” quoted from gentlebirth.org
Rapid Testing For Group B Strep
If you don’t want to wait the 48+ hours it takes to get your GBS test results back, check into one of these tests listed on this website: Rapid GBS Testing
- Studies show that approximately 30% of pregnant women ate found to be colonized with GBS in one of both areas.
- Approximately one half percent of women found to have Group B Step at 35 to 37 weeks into their pregnancies and choose not to be treated with antibiotics will go on to deliver a baby who becomes ill from GBS.
- Out of 200 women that use antibiotics for Group B Strep only one baby would have actually contracted GBS during birth.
- Research is beginning to show that the benefit of giving antibiotics during labor is being outweighed by increasing the number of other forms of infection.
- Conservative studies find that the use of antibiotics during labor fails to prevent up to 30 % of GBS infections and 10 percent of deaths from GBS disease or infections.
- Resourced from here.
Testimony from a midwife:
”I would like to share with you a case I had last year. Mother’s culture at 36 weeks yielded a result of 2+ colonization, which was the same at 38 weeks. I had her take 500mg Vitamin C every 4 waking hours, 1 EHB (NF Formulas) capsule every 4 waking hours, Propolis 4x daily, and she inserted a tampon soaked in 2% Tea Tree oil solution 2%Tea Tree essential oil, 98% Olive oil). She left the tampon in for 4 hours each day for 6 days. Culture at 39 weeks was negative for GBS. She had a long labor, a high leak for 72 hours, then a rapid active phase and 2nd stage, healthy baby, normal placenta, and normal recovery.”
Here is another article that explains it differently and has more options and statistics are here at the Healthy Home Economist site: GBS Pregnancy.