Thursday, March 25, 2010

Group B Strep 101

Sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, stillborn, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, cerebal palsy

I've been reading way too much about GBS on the internet lately. It weighs heavily on my mind these days. What frustrates me is people’s lack of knowledge about it. Granted it's rare for complications to arise, when they do, they can be very serious with lifelong complications, or death. This one girl wrote about how her Dr prescribed her an antibiotic during her pregnancy but she didn't take it because she thought it was "no big deal". I still feel annoyed when I think about that post.

So, to make myself feel better, I thought I'd throw some GBS education out there...

“Group B Strep is a bacterium that causes life-threatening infections in newborns. GBS most commonly causes infection in the blood (sepsis), the fluid and lining of the brain (meningitis), and lungs (pneumonia). It can cause babies to be miscarried, stillborn, or die after being born. Some GBS survivors have permanent handicaps such as blindness, deafness, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy.” Link 1 below

There, does that sound like "no big deal"?

GBS is a bacterium that your body naturally produces. There is nothing you can do about it, other than to treat with antibiotics when it shows up. Even then, once done with treatment, your body can naturally produce more. Normally, GBS is not a threat to the newborn until labor and birth. After the water breaks, the baby is most at risk of becoming exposed. Some babies might appear fine for a few days, and then develop late-onset GBS. Please, if you have a newborn who is sick, call the Dr immediately! It can take their life within 24 hours.

For some woman, the GBS can travel through the membrane walls and get to the baby well before labor begins. "Many Group B Strep germs also make special molecules that can dissolve through the cervix, or the mucin between the vagina and the cervix. Many of these germs also make toxins, which can damage the baby and the placenta before birth." I quote this from an interesting article, GROUP B STREP: A Patient/Provider Approach for Optimizing Care. Link 2 below

In addition, a mother can become seriously sick if the GBS gets to parts of the body that it shouldn't. When I delivered Andrew, my uterus was inundated with GBS and my fever shot up to 106 within minutes. If not treated properly, this can be deadly to the mother as well.

GBS is serious. And I ever hear anyone I know say it’s "no big deal", you better watch out, I'll be coming after you.

Link 1 -

Link 2 -

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