I was told today that my group B strep culture came back positive.  And here’s what I learned about that:

  • Group B strep is considered normal flora.
  • Group B strep is not a concern to anyone but pregnant women, or rather, their babies.
  • Group B strep comes and goes, which is why they don’t test until 36 weeks.
  • There are no side effects to me, I’m not sick.
  • 30% of women test positive for group B strep.
  • 5% of the babies born from those 30% will be born with it.
  • It can make the newborn sick.  If that happens, it can happen very quickly and be dangerous for the baby.
  • To prevent this, women who test positive are given IV antibiotics 4 hours before birth.
  • If they do not receive the antibiotics, or receive them too late (they give birth less than 4 hours later), then the newborn’s blood will be tested.  And it won’t be a heel prick.  It’ll be a blood draw.
  • The culture takes 48 hours to come back, but the white blood cell count comes back quickly.  If it is elevated, it is indicative of group B strep and they treat the baby with antibiotics immediately.  If the white blood cell count is not elevated, they do nothing.  The baby probably doesn’t have it.  In 48 hours, the culture will determine whether to quit, continue, or begin antibiotics.
  • Prolonged labor increases the chance that the baby will get group B strep.
  • If a pregnant woman’s water breaks and she does not deliver within several hours (six was the estimate I was given), the baby will be more likely to get group B strep.
  • Babies born to mothers who test positive for group B strep are strongly encouraged to stay the full 48 hours.  And highly discouraged from leaving after only 24 hours.
And here’s what I know about my own medical history:
  • I have quick labors.
  • My water breaks during the pushing stage.  Minutes before the baby is born.
  • I’ve had C. Diff.  Any antibiotic I take is likely to cause a recurrence.
  • I do not want to have C. Diff with a newborn.
So here is what my midwife and I decided:
  • Barring any circumstance that would increase my risk of passing group B strep to the baby, I will not be taking antibiotics during labor.
This increases the chance that the baby will have to be on antibiotics hours after birth.  Which makes me sad.  But it doesn’t sound like there is any great chance that the baby will get sick, given all the precautions.  Whereas me getting an antibiotic will likely make me very sick.
Here are some things I still want to look up (If you know anything, could you please let me know?):
  • How can I give a newborn probiotics to counteract the harmful effects of antibiotics?
  • Does breast milk contain probiotics?
  • If I were to take probiotics while nursing, would it transfer to the baby through my milk?
And here are some things I’d like to give to God, would you please join me?
  • That the labor would be quick.
  • That the water wouldn’t break until the end.
  • That the white blood cell count is normal.
  • That the culture comes back negative.
  • That we can find childcare for our other three during the hospital stay that will now be twice as long as originally planned.
I know that was an awfully dry post.  I just wanted to get it out there.  I promise I’m still spunky when not discussing group B strep. 🙂