Tuesday, May 4, 2010

my experience with GBS

last week i asked to be retested for GBS as i had tested positive in my urine early in my pregnancy. [a low count by the by- and i was prescribed antibiotics to take, but not told why i should take them. since i wasn't having symptoms i did not take the antibiotics and didn't even read up on why she prescribed antibiotics until later]. one midwife told me no. i asked someone else and they said sure. they say having it in your urine indicates a higher risk but if you look into that it is only because you are then assumed to have a high colonization. they say it 'indicates' or 'suggests' you will be highly colonized. i found this small study that retested women [vaginal swab at 35-37 weeks] who had it in their urine and only 30% were still GBS positive! the study concluded "genital tract cultures at 35–37 weeks for GBS correlate poorly with first trimester asymptomatic GBS bacteriuria. Recommendations for GBS prophylaxis in labor in women who have first trimester asymptomatic GBS bacteriuria should be investigated further and reconsidered".. as in you shouldn't just assume someone is highly colonized and give them antibiotics-the swab test right toward the end is a better predictor [although then it's not perfect, GBS is transient, it can come and go] yet this study was done in 2003, have any further studies or changes been made? not that i can find. so when i went to retest the nurse said 'um you know you are still going to be positive'...
which is frustrating but that's all she's been taught. i know more about GBS than any person should now, it's been exhausting.
there are a few risk factors that increase the chance of your baby getting an infection from GBS. now if i reached a point where the risk of infection was greater than the risk of antibiotics- i of course would opt for the antibiotics. but people need to take charge of their own health! there are risks with antibiotics! not only that, with me being allergic to penicillin, the antibiotics they would have to give me would be less effective in preventing an infection, and also increase her chance of getting e.coli or other infections...
there are also things you can do to help reduce the risk of infection in your newborn. while you can't always control preterm labor, fever during labor and premature rupture of membranes [or water being broken 24 hours+ before labor begins]- you CAN decline cervical checks [and/or sweeping membranes] and ask the baby not to be washed. cervical checks obviously can increase risk of infection and vernix has been found to inhibit growth of many bacteria, including GBS. duh. god knows what he is doing. in some countries it is standard that they don't bathe newborns until they are 3 days old.
in addition to that there are things you can do to eliminate the GBS you have in your body. there are LOTS of things you can do, easy google search will give you loads of info- but this is what i did- and will continue to do since i did test positive once, i am going to continue some of these things until/thru birth.
*daily probiotic supplement- i'm taking reuteri primadophilus pearls.. it 'colonizes in the intestine [where GBS is] and provides healthy benefits.'
-i will add that i read pepcid [not sure about other heartburn meds] would kill off the probiotic before it reached my intestines, so i've been steering clear of pepcid as much as possible as well. [at the least i take reuteri in the am and hold out till late evening for the pepcid.. my heartburn is awful!]
-i also have tried to reduce my sugar intake.. which is hard :)
*consistent with prenatals and add Vitamin C supplement. i am not doing this daily but occasionally.
*organic tampon with tea tree oil [diluted with organic olive oil] once a day for a few hours
* garlic suppository [sounds crazy but google it, it works. garlic is amazing. and for me i'd rather use/try something safe, natural and god made if it works before i resort to medicine where we don't always know all the side effects/long term effects etc]
*chlorhexidine - it's a chemical antiseptic and i'm thankful a friend let me borrow some she had, although it is easy to buy-look for the name hibiclens. i have done this a couple times but have it primarily to use during labor, i will 'wash' myself [like a bidet...] after each time i use the restroom while in labor.
*i also happen to have grapefruit seed extract [that we use in a mix for homemade fruit/veggie wash] and i may make a drink with 10-15 drops in there as it has antibiotic/antifungal properties to it
*on my own accord i am also using all natural [no added chemicals/bleach] panty liners and toilet paper. i have read nothing that would tell me this would help but it's just another thing i do to help be clean and safe down there.
ALL this to say, my test came back negative! is this because it is transient or because i have been taking action? i would say it is both. i would recommend to anyone whether they are positive or negative to take a probiotic supplement, decrease sugar intake, request minimal cervical checks, and don't bathe your baby for at least a day.
i feel quite comfortable with what i'm doing and declining antibiotics in labor [as hospital policy they still suggest i take them as i tested positive once.] the midwife i usually see was on par with me and was supportive and encouraging of what i was doing. there are actually several midwives in the practice i see, which is the only downfall to me. there are 2 that have been super supportive of me- one even suggested the garlic to me- 2 who are super nice and neutral in what i want to do, 1 who i felt treated me rudely, and 1 never met as she only works in their other location. PRAYING big time i am able to give birth with one of the two women who i connect with really well! but no matter what i'm still looking forward to it... :)


meridith said...

so awesome you tested negative! good for you for being proactive with your health, i think you have to be these days!

Lindsay Schneck said...

glad to hear you are negative. by the way, this blog reminded me about the one time i told you to put garlic in your ear. ha!

Sailor and Co said...

Never heard of GBS....interesting :) Been following your tweets and laughing. Haven't been much into reading blogs with my butt being whooped by pregnancy, but I miss reading what you have to say :)