Thursday, March 01, 2007

Me And Group B Strep

Sounds like a title of a bad country song, doesn't it? So let me tell you about my relationship with Group B Strep.

When I was pregnant with G, I tested positive for GBS. This bacteria usually doesn't cause any symptoms, but if the baby is exposed to it, it can make the baby very sick. So, once you are in labor you get regular doses of IV antibiotics so that the baby has some protection when they are delivered. Normally it's not a huge deal until your water breaks. Then you need to deliver within 24 hours or there's a much higher chance of the baby contracting the infection. My case was that my water broke and it was almost 12 hours before my labor really started. Which put a timeline on things and made labor a bit stressful. Fortunately, in the end, they didn't have to augment my labor with Pitocin but the threat was always there.

When I got pregnant the second time and started spotting, my midwife ran some routine tests and one of the cultures came back positive for a GBS infection. She diagnosed my spotting as due to this and put me on some antibiotics but I still had a miscarriage - most likely due to the septum.

Fast forward to this week and my cramping. Guess what's apparently causing it? Yup: GBS. So I am on antibiotics right now and will be on them when I go in for delivery. I can only hope that my water won't break so early this time and will give me some time to labor without feeling like there's a stopwatch about to go off.

I did a lot of research before and I did some more today on GBS. About 10-30% of pregnant women have the bacteria present but it is apparently quite rare to actually have symptoms from it. Symptoms or not, it can cause pre-term labor and premature rupture of membranes. An infection of the baby is the leading bacterial cause of infant death. Scary stuff! So, even though we have an apparent answer for the cramping, there is still probably some concern of a pre-term birth. As with so much else in life, we'll just have to wait and see.

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