The Baby Bean Blog

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Dammit, I'm Group B Strep Positive

At my prenatal appointment yesterday, I found out that I'm Group B Strep (GBS) positive. What is Group B Strep? Well, basically, it's a bacteria that about 20% of adults carry in their lower intestines--women can also carry the bacteria in their vaginas. For adults, it is harmless. However, if a baby were to be infected by GBS while being born, it can cause devastating illness and/or death. However, only 1 in 200 babies born to women who are GBS positive will get infected. That means that there's a 99.5% chance that such a baby would not get infected. Nonetheless, GBS is the number one infectious killer of newborns.

As I mentioned before, the chances of my baby contracting GBS from me are quite small: 0.5%. But because of the seriousness of the infection should my baby contract it, steps are taken to further minimize the risk. Gone is my completely unmedicated, untethered birth plan. Now I will be given IV antibiotics once I go into labor. Depending on the antibiotic I receive, it will take 20 to 90 minutes to administer, after which time they will leave the "hep lock" in my arm so that I can get another course of antibiotics every 4-8 hours (depending on the antibiotic) until I deliver. By administering antibiotics to me during labor, the chances of my baby being infected with GBS are reduced to 1 in 800.

After the baby is born, they will do a heel stick to get a few drops of blood from him or her, and this sample will be tested for infection. Previously, I could have left the birth center 4 hours after my baby was born. Now I will stay for 12 hours so that the baby can be observed. Also previously, I could have waited two or three days to see a pediatrician. Now I will take my baby to a pediatrician within 24 hours of being released from the birth center.

All in all, it's not that big of a deal. I'm not particularly worried about my little one contracting GBS. The odds are pretty remote. And getting the IV antibiotics shouldn't be too annoying. I guess I just saw this as the last hurdle to jump, and I hoped I'd make it over. I've passed the other tests, like the one for gestational diabetes, and the baby did well on the quad screen and the ultrasounds. My blood pressure is always nice and low. I had it in the back of my mind that I might fail this test. Not for any reason. Like I said, being a carrier of GBS doesn't cause any symptoms to an adult. But I had the feeling nonetheless. Sort of reminds me of this line from a Sarah Harmer song: "Everything was going so good I thought something bad might happen."

Oh well. C'est la vie. I just tell myself that of all the tests I could have failed during this pregnancy, this one is really the best one to fail.


  • I'm thinking only pure, positive and totally hopeful thoughts in your direction... ~:^)

    By Blogger foxymama, at 7:03 PM, August 08, 2005  

  • Thanks, Foxy. Everything should really be okay. I found out this that I have to get the drug that takes 1.5 hours to "feed" through the IV. That will suck, but of course I'll do it for the little bean!

    By Blogger Oz, at 5:25 AM, August 10, 2005  

  • Hey nice info you posted.
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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 PM, October 19, 2005  

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