Below are real life stories submitted by people around the world for our recently published Article – Group B Strep in Pregnancy: Evidence for Antibiotics and Alternatives.
Ashley ’s Story
Ashley’s baby was born with an early GBS infection. Ashley tested positive for GBS but her doctor’s office forgot to give her the test results. As a result, she did not receive antibiotics during labor.
Baby with GBS
This photo was taken in 1985 of a baby boy who was diagnosed with a meningitis GBS infection during his first day of life. This was before antibiotics were given during labor for GBS. According to his mom, this baby was a “fighter” and miraculously survived. He was diagnosed with a seizure disorder at the age of 11.
I am a mom of 7 great kids and have breasted all of them. With my 7th pregnancy I tested positive for group B strep for the first time. I am allergic to penicillin so I had cefazolin during labor. I chose to take the medication because I did not want to risk him contracting it from me. A few days after discharge from the hospital I took my son for his Pediatrician check up. She noticed that he had thrush and asked me if my nipples were painful. I told her they were raw, red and extremely painful. She said I probably had yeast in my breast from the antibiotic and recommended I get medication. My midwife immediately called in diflucan for me but unlike a vaginal yeast infection that only requires 1 or 2 doses, yeast in the breast is much harder to get rid of. I had to take the medication for a few weeks as well as a nipple cream. My son had to take 2 different medications. Also you have to sterilize the pacifier, pump parts, bottles, and clothes that touch the breast because the yeast spores are difficult to kill. For this reason the infection often comes back. My son is 6 months old now and I have had the yeast infection 3 times. I have had mastitis, blisters on my nipples and a stopped up milk duct over the many years I have breastfed my children but this is by far the worst pain I have every had in my breasts. It literally feels like fire even when I am not breastfeeding. While I am still breast feeding, I can see how some women might get discouraged and possibly stop. I would take the antibiotic again if I had to do it over but I would at least ask for some preventative suggestions to never experience this.
Sarah chose not to get tested for GBS and gave birth at home without antibiotics
Abbi laboring in the hospital with antibiotics for GBS.
Traci, who was GBS positive, labored without antibiotics in a hospital.
“I was GBS positive and delivered in a hospital in Greenville, SC. I was 5 days overdue and delivered naturally. My doula was a great photographer. I had a wonderful experience and would make the same decision again to decline the antibiotics. The hospital did strongly encourage me to stay 3 days so my daughter could be closely observed.”
Amy and her 3rd son. Amy was GBS positive but did not have antibiotics– her son was born 27 minutes after her first real contraction!
“The first is of me with my third son, his birth was very fast and I did not have any antibiotics. Having a history of quick births I had mentioned this to my doctor when I found out I was + (a “light” growth) and he told me not to worry if my labor was so fast that I couldn’t get antibiotics. I also normally have contractions for days/weeks leading up to my births and it was no different this time- going on 10 days of consistent, painful, 10 minute apart contractions I felt that something was somehow different and so we headed into the hospital around 10:30pm when I was 40w1d. I was found to be 4cm (which was where I was earlier in the week when I had come in also thinking I was in labor, that was my first vaginal exam as I decline having them during regular office visits) so my husband, doula, and I just walked around and I labored for a few hours and was checked again a little after 1am and I was still the same. The nurse said that I could go home but also knew of my history of fast labors so she said I could stay until morning if I wanted to, just in case. It’s a good thing we stayed because he was born at 1:47am, about 27 minutes after I felt the first definitely for real contraction, 12 minutes after the nurse came back to check me and found me to be 5-6cm, and about 7 minutes after I walked into the birthing room that they moved us to! He was born with his waters intact, they ruptured right after his head emerged. He was perfectly healthy and we were allowed to go home the next day. The doctors were not worried about him getting GBS since he was born with waters intact (of course I know that is not a 100% guarantee of protection- nothing is).
The second and third pictures are from my labor with my fourth son- the first where I am sitting on the bed in labor around 3ish in the morning, about 6-7cm (I was surprised that one of the positions that felt most comfortable to me during this labor was sitting!), and the second is right after he was born. This labor was not as fast as the others, I was at the hospital for around 10 hours before he was born (he was persistently posterior and I stalled at 7-8cm for a LONG time. Finally we tried a few different things and as I was going through some position changes at the encouragement of my doula he finally turned and was ready to be born IMMEDIATELY- ha!). Even though, looking back, there would have been time to get antibiotics I still chose not to have them for several reasons. For one, I felt that at any time, once I flipped over into a more active labor (my contractions were 10 minutes apart the whole entire time, never got closer together until he turned and was ready to come out!) that he would be born very quickly (based on how my other labors were) and I didn’t want to take on all of risks of the antibiotics without also having the potential benefits- I just didn’t think that I would be able to have two doses 4 hours apart, which from my understanding is what is recommended for protection against GBS. I didn’t even really want a hep well, but ended up consenting to one around 6:15am (and he was born at 10:15am, so who knows if I would have received two doses fully by then even if I had accepted antibiotics at 6:15am). Also, my waters were still intact (they broke right before his head emerged), so I felt that was protective and I was purposely having very few vaginal exams (and had not had any before labor). If at any time I would have experienced any of the high risk factors for passing GBS to the baby (maternal temp, premature baby, waters broken for long period of time, etc.) then I would have been open to receiving antibiotics but none of those things ever occurred in my situation.
Also, when I was pregnant with my third son I made a list of the symptoms of early and late onset GBS (although in my understanding, only early onset can possibly be protected against using antibiotics during labor) so that my husband and I would know and be able to recognize any of these things immediately if they did arise (whether at the hospital or once we were home). I don’t know what your thoughts are about antibiotics during labor for GBS (and I am interested in your upcoming post on it!), but I just wanted to explain how I came to my decisions. Anyway, this baby was also perfectly healthy although apparently the hospital’s policy had changed since my third son was born (15 months earlier) and they wanted to do some testing on my baby but my husband and I declined any testing or antibiotics for him unless he began to show signs of illness. They honestly kind of gave us a hard time about it (or at least made me feel stupid and like I didn’t care about the well being of my baby), it was a completely different experience than what we had with our previous baby even though it was basically the same situation. Our compromise was that we would stay at the hospital for 48 hours (I normally like to go home as soon as possible, it is really hard for me to rest and relax in the hospital) so that our son could be “observed” (although he of course roomed in with us the whole time). He also was perfectly fine and healthy.”
” I am a mother of two, with my second daughter being a VBAC. I tested positive for GBS and was told to come in immediately upon going into labor because of this. Going in early was something I did not want to do, as I wanted to labor at home as long as possible in hopes that this would keep me off my back and off the operating table again. I held out for a few hours, but then ended up going in as with my previous labor, I had not ever had my water break on its own, so I was a little nervous again. ”
“This is a picture of me laboring with my daughter. I was Group B Strep positive and opted to use a hibiclens wash. I used it for the last few weeks of my pregnancy in the evenings before bed. During labor I rinsed with it after using the restroom and every 4 hours. My baby was born a very healthy 10lbs!”
“This was my third homebirth, a water birth. I was tested GBS positive for my 1st and 3rd birth. ( My second birth I did not submit to any tests- but I am sure I was. I think GBS positive is what is normal for me )
I did not take antibiotics. ”
Kimberly laboring with antibiotics for GBS
Ashley’s baby, a survivor of GBS, healthy at 6 months old.
“Ashley’s baby was born with an early GBS infection. Ashley tested positive for GBS but her doctor’s office forgot to give her the test results. As a result, she did not receive antibiotics during labor.”