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hits since 24 Dec 2001

You're GBS+ and your scared?

The first many women hear about GBS is often when their doctor tells them they have it. They are too shocked to ask meaningful questions and sometimes, providers just don't offer any reassurance whatsoever. "You'll recieve IV antibiotics in labour and that's all you need to worry about." is sometimes all that a GBS+ mom is told about it.

But when they start to research Group B Strep on the internet, words like stillbirth, meningitis, multiple sexual partners, infection can cause many women alot of anxiety, guilt and fear.

Finding out you are GBS+ should not be worrysome. It is perfectly normal and by itself it's not harmful. There's nothing dirty about carrying GBS and it says absolutely nothing about your sexual history. You did nothing to put your baby at risk.

Please read this open letter by GBS educator and mom, Lisa Porter to women who are frigntened by learning they are GBS positive.

Over the past eight years, I've talked to many moms who were frightened when they learned that they carried the bacteria during pregnancy. I wanted to address this issue, b/c it's a common, NORMAL reaction to the unknown. Here are some things to think about:

1) Learning that you carry GBS *before labor* is actually a blessing in disguise. Although it can be scary at first, knowing that you carry GBS a few weeks before birth means that you have time to learn about GBS and make plans for prevention. I can tell you (from personal experience) that it's horrible to learn about GBS for the first time when your child is already sick. In the past, many women learned about GBS AFTER they developed a risk factor in labor. This meant that they had to try to learn about GBS in LABOR, when most women aren't at their most logical. Knowing that you carry GBS now gives you time to learn! Take the time, learn all you can, and put your mind at ease. Once you know the facts, GBS isn't as scary.

2) If for some reason you aren't given four hours of IV antibiotics before birth, the risk of GBS infecting your baby is about 1/200 (if you haven't had any risk factors.) That's a 99.5% chance of a HEALTHY baby, and only a .5% chance of a sick one. Those are good odds! Recent studies showed that treating GBS with IVs during labor can prevent 80% or more of the cases of early-onset GBS infection in baby. This means that instead of a 1/200 risk of infection (if you don't get IV antibiotics before birth) the risk of infection in baby is less than 1/1,000 if you get treated with IV antibiotics during the birth and avoid infection risks (like fetal scalp monitoring and >4-6 internal cervical checks.) The odds are on your side!

3) Keep GBS in perspective: GBS infections are VERY preventable. With a little forethought and education, your GBS results can help you do everything you can to make sure you have a healthy labor and a healthy baby.

4) NO OTHER prenatal screening test offers the option to prevent the illness. NONE. Try to look on these results as a "heads-up," not as a prediction of doom. Being GBS+ doesn't mean that your baby will automatically get sick -- it means only that you have warned that the possibility of infection exists. To keep the risk of problems low, you have to avoid *adding* risk of infection (by avoiding induction, internal monitoring, etc.) in labor. Then, get IV antibiotics during labor and delivery. Knowing you're GBS+ gives you a chance to look at birth interventions in a more critical light. Avoid adding infection risk, and your chances of having an infected baby are very, very low.

Take care,