Every other week a baby dies from Group B Streptococcus infection in the UK. In my work with pregnant women, I am sad to say too many babies have been lost because of this illness.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your unborn child?
Streptococcus (Group B Strep) is a normal bacterium usually carried in the gut of humans. Around 25% of women carry this in their vagina. It’s important to point out this is not a sexually transmitted disease. Most carriers display no symptoms or side effects.
Group B Strep is not routinely tested for among pregnant women in the UK.
The bacteria can sometimes be passed on to the baby through the amniotic fluid (a clear liquid that surrounds and protects the unborn baby in the womb) or as the baby passes through the birth canal during labour – NHS website.
Symptoms to get checked out:
- Changes in cervical mucus, including strong bad smelling odour
- Bleeding/spotting/pink tinge to discharge
- Faster heart rate than usual
- Reduced fetal movement
It is always important to check these symptoms out anyway. They may not mean Group B Strep, but peace of mind is essential. A vaginal swab can detect if this virus is present, even if your urine tests come back clear.
As the infection can be passed on to babies usually during delivery, when the virus is detected before labour, the mother can be medicated during labour. Intravenous antibiotics are administered to the mother in order to protect the baby. This is a personal choice, but without medication your baby’s life could be at risk.
Does my new baby have Group B Strep?
Take action if your baby displays any of these symptoms:
The symptoms of a strep B infection in a newborn baby usually develop within the first few hours or days of giving birth, and include:
• being floppy and unresponsive
• poor feeding
• grunting when breathing
• an unusually high or low temperature
• unusually fast or slow breathing
• an unusually fast or slow heart rate
Babies can go downhill very quickly. DON’T DELAY – CALL 999
For more information, visit these essential information pages:
About the blogger:
Marie Behenna is the author of The FitMama Method, published by Souvenir Press 2012 and creator of the ChillMAMA Pregnancy Meditation
Buy The FitMama Method
Marie teaches exercise and nutrition to pregnant and post partum mothers in North Hampshire, United Kingdom. www.fitmamastudio.com