Archived Q&A and Reviews

Labor and Group B. Streptococci

Jan 2007

I'm pregnant 36 w and was tested for group B. Streptococci. Because the result was positive (apparently up to 40% of women have it), in labor it would be treated intravenously with antibiotics. I wonder, if anybody can tell me how it works practically? Do I have something intravenously in my arm all the time? I'm worried that I can not move freely then. I really don't want any interventions (the pregnancy has gone well), but if this is necessary (is it?)... My first child was born for 3 y ago in Europe and there was no such testing. EKL

Hi there - yes, I had this (just last month) and it was fine. When I got to the hospital and they decided to admit me, they gave me an IV of the antibiotic. It wasn't too constrictive because it took only about 20-30 minutes for the dose, and then they removed me from the IV for about 4 hours. So in between I was able to move around without the IV attached to me. So, every 4 hours or so you will have the whole tripod to lug around - but you don't have to be connected the entire time. Sylvia
Here is what GBS+ looks like once you go into labor. If you're water breaks first then there will be a time line that your doctor/midwife will want to stick to pretty regularly to get you into active labor and make sure they have administered 2 does of the antibiotic before baby is delivered.

If your contractions start first then you will go to the hospital just as you would normally - when in active labor - and start the IV and antibiotic once you have arrived. Again, they would like to get in at least 2 doses before baby is delivered. Doses are administered every 4 hours and take about 30 minutes to run through. In between doses there is no reason to have the IV hooked up and you can have them heplock/saline lock the port until your next dose is needed. This will continue until delivery of baby - even if you are pushing. Sometimes the antibiotic stings going in or burns a little. If this is the case then ask them to dilute it more (which they can do for you easily).

For a second time mom they will be especially eager to start doses since your labor will be faster (most likely) than a first timer. Getting the antibiotics for GBS is completely up to you. Sometimes women choose not to get the antibiotics but it is best to talk to your OB/Midwife about what that means for you and baby. The fear with GBS is that the baby will get an infection from the bacteria on the way through the birth canal which can lead to blindness (rare) and other complications. If you choose not to have the antibiotics after testing positive then the baby will be closely monitored for signs of infection and they usually recommend a series of antibiotics for the baby once delivered. The same will be true if baby is delivered before 2 doses of antibiotic are administered to mom while in labor/delivery. If you need more help on this feel free to email me. Have a happy and healthy delivery! -Gia

I was also Strep B positive ... and it wasn't a big deal getting the IV. They can set it up such that you are only attached to the IV while the antibiotics are being administered. You are otherwise free to walk around, take a shower, etc.

My advice: make sure they insert the IV far enough from your hand that you can bend your wrist. The nurse that placed my IV set it far too high on my wrist and it hurt when I needed to move my hand in certain directions. It wasn't painful enough to subject myself to another IV placement ... but it was certainly an annoyance.

Granted, I would have preferred to not have IV antibiotics, but given the potential risks to the baby ... A

I delivered twice at Alta Bates, group b strep positive both times, and still managed fairly natural, low intervention births.

I don't remember the first that well anymore, but I do recall that per all the reading you are supposed to go in to the hospital right as soon as your water breaks if you are strep B pos. so they can get some of the antibiotics in you in time. My OB was pretty laid back about that though and suggested I take my time.

With the second they just had me hooked up to IV for 10-15 minutes every hour or so (which only worked out to be about twice) and I believe I was even able to labor in the tub while it was hooked up.

The IV definitely felt far less intrusive and limited positions far less then the external fetal heart rate monitor they used once or twice.

i was also discouraged to find out that i had group b. strep and that i'd be hooked to an i.v. at the hospital. however, my labor progressed so quickly (i was ready to push at home) that they didn't have a chance to stick me when i got to the hospital. no complications arose from not having the antibiotics. i would suggest researching any negative effects you or your child may experience if you forgo the antibiotics, but i believe you can sign a consent form to forgo the drugs. best, lydia
Hi, I tested positive for strep too and was treated with antibiotics during labor. If you are delivering in a hospital, you will have an iv regardless of your situation. Basically, they stick an iv in your hand on checking in! The nurse warned me that the antibiotics would sting, but I didn't feel a thing. good luck! anon
Hi there, I have Group B Strep also - and I would DEFINTELY do EXACTLY what your OB is telling you. I had a vaginal birth (w/ the 2nd pregnancy) and they put an IV in w/ the med. Anyway, to make a long story short, w/ my first pregnancy they did not test me and my baby almost died. If infants contract the strep they can become very ill. Our baby was in the NICU for some time. Yes, you may not be able to walk and labor - but- so what - please do what is safe. K.
Hi, I just gave birth about a week ago. I had our baby at 36.5 weeks-so I didn't get the strep b test at 37 weeks. They give you a dose of antibiotics so you are hooked up to an I.V. for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Then it can be removed. I was also concerned about not being mobile, but you can just ask that it be on a battery during that hour, so you can move around with the I.V. during the short period. I don't think it was a problem at all. Hope this helps. Sherri
I believe the IV antibiotics are given over 20 minute to half and hour and then its done. there's no reason an IV of any sort should prevent you from walking around and moving as you wish. you may ask them to place the IV in a place that will not interfere with bending your arm. there may be a little pain at the site while you're getting the antibiotic, in that case they should just lower the rate so you get it slower. good luck

Positive Strep B Test - Pregnant

June 2006

I am 37 weeks pregnant and recently learned that I am Strep B positive. The doctor wants to put me on IV antibiotics as soon as my water breaks or within a few hours of starting labor. I'd prefer not to go on an IV--I had hoped to labor at home as long as possible. Has anyone else had to make this decision?

I'm strep B positive as well. My water broke before I got to the hospital with my son and they had to not only put me on an IV but also put my newborn son on antibiotics. Something I would have preferred to avoid. Don't mess around, although it seems like an insignificant issue it's not. A friend of my husband's didn't know she was strep B positive and her baby was infected and ended up brain dammaged. Ok, that's probably an extreme case, but it can happen and it's just not worth the risk for a little IV. Seriously, don't risk it.
Strep B Carrier
I was strep B pos. for both births. For number one I called when my water broke, and labor was still very managable. My OB told me not to worry, that I probably had hours ahead of me. Next thing I knew I was transitioning at home. I got to the hospital about 4-5 hours before my son was born, and they had plenty of time to get the antibiotics into me.

With number two I labored at home for a while, but wanted to get into the hospital sooner for other reasons (wanted to avoid stressful trip to hospital later in labor). They were able to take me on and off the IV to get two doses of antibiotics in during the 4 hours I was there before my daughter was born. I was even able to labor in the bathtub with the IV in!

Long story short - I think that a bigger deal of getting there to get the anticiotics in right away was made before labor than during labor. Hope that helps!

OB = Dr. Huibonhau
Hospital = Alta Bates

It is really important to remember that this test is beneficial in regard to the baby being healthy. There are a number of alternative treatments that you can try to reduce your infection: garlic clove insertion, vitamin c, tea tree. I recommend talking with a Naturopath or Herbalist for specifics.

You should also know that you can refuse the IV. There are pros and cons on both sides, so please do your research. The possible effects to your baby are critical, so you want to make sure the baby is safe.

The good news is that you can always be retested in a couple weeks...see if you are still ''positive'' If you are, you can have the IV done...take the Antibiotics...and then have the IV tubing removed so you don't have to be attached to the pole for your laboring. This is called a Saline Lock. They will just re- attach the tubing every 4-8 hours to administer more antibiotics. Good luck! Deanna

I am about to have my third kid and for some reason with this one I am also positive for Strep B. All I can tell you is what I am going to do. I picked my OB b/c I love her philosophy and I trust her 100%. She said that with her second child she was positive and tried to go without the antibiotics and by the time the baby was born she and the baby had raging fevers and were horribly sick, requiring medication. That was enough for me. After having two kids I feel like there are enough wild cards in labor and delivery and I just don't feel like messing around and taking any chances so I am just going to go in for the IV as much as I hate the idea. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Well, in reading more about Strep B after the fact, it seems my case was the exception, but here's my story, fwiw: I went into labor 3 weeks early, before my Strep B results came back, so they started an antibiotic IV drip as soon as I got to the hospital, but that was only about 45 minutes before my son was born. He was and is fine, though it turned out I was Strep B positive. So you don't necessarily have to be on a drip for hours and hours. My understanding is that your positive/negative status can change from week to week, so the test you had done at 30 wks or whenever that was may not be accurate, anyway. My doctor wasn't too worried about it, so I wasn't either, though I have since heard some cautionary tales. If it were me (in my totally non-medical opinion!), I'd probably labor at home for at least a bit - it really is nicer than at the hospital. But see what other readers say - no matter what the specifics of your labor are, you'll be more comfortable if you're not worrying about your baby's health on top of everything else. JP
Yes, I had to make that decision last year. Chose to have a no- drugs labor and a no-drugs midwife-assisted delivery at a birth center (arrived there 7 cm dilated), no antibiotics. Went home 6 hours after birth. The following article helped a lot. on/group-b.html Having a team of supportive midwives and a supportive pediatrician helped a lot, too. My son is 16 months now. We haven't had a sick visit to the pediatrician yet.
I think you can still labor at home... but no matter how long you wish to be home you should go to the hospital as soon as your water breaks. It is important for the antibiotic to be administered in a timely manner to get through your body prior to the baby entering the birth canal. (At least that is how it was explained to me.)
Strep B Momma too
I too was strep B positive when I gave birth two years ago and did a ton of research on this, but I can't remember where I read everything, but here is what I know. (I did check the medical literature on PubMed so what I know is from medical and scientific journals.) The old guidelines (CDC? AMA? don't remember) called for IV anti-biotics with a strep-B positive mom when there was prolonged labor after the water broke (if the baby was not born after 18 hours of having the water broken) or if the mom developed a fever. They then switched to giving all strep-B moms IV anti-biotics during all labors no matter what. This is actually causing problems for moms and babies as it is increasing anti-biotic resistance and makes the babies MORE prone to infection and less responsive to anti-biotics in the first months of life (six months to a year?) and maybe longer. So, it may be good to fight an infection in the first week, but with the cost of increasing dangerous infections later in life. Most likely hospitals will go back to the old recommendations, but change is slow in hospitals and with OBs due to liability issues, bureaucracy, etc. So, I told my OB no IV anti-biotics unless it had been 18 hours since my water broke and there was no baby, or I got a fever. (I did get a fever and infection at the end of my labor so I did get the anti-biotics, but it was shortly before the birth.) My labor had complications but my baby is fine and was super healthy after the birth. As long as you follow the old guidelines, you and your baby should be fine. good luck!

Addition to my last post about the research: I too labored at home as long as possible. You decide when to go in, not the doctor. My water hadn't broken (and I was going to wait 18 hours for an IV even it had broken anyway) and I had no fever. Also, every time they give you a vaginal exam during labor, they introduce bacteria up into your cervix/uterus area and that is bad for the baby. (their gloved hands are clean but the area around the outside of your vagina is not and they push those germs up inside when they examine you.) When you labor at home, there are no vaginal exams and nothing is being put inside your vagina so no bacteria is being introduced. (Everything is flowing the opposite way which protects the baby.) So, staying at home longer and avoiding vaginal exams protects you and your baby from infection. Stay home and labor!

I had to have IV antibiotics during labor b/c of previous open heart surgery. It was not a problem, as the IV fluids bag is suspended from a rolling frame, and I was able to moves and walk with it around the L room. It seems your greatest comcern is with mobility. The IV did not really interfere. It was good to have my mom to watch and handle the tubing and bag for me, even tho she drove me crazy wither her tube obsession at the time!

I did most of my laboring at home without antibiotics, and the IV was placed only when I was at the hospital. You can probably labor at home, but when your water breaks you should get to a hospital as soon as possible (if you are not already there). if you are positive for strep, the antibiotics after the water breaks necessary for the health and safety of your child, and to prevent systemic spread of strep in you.If you are planning a home birth you might be able to arrange antibiotic IV at home. My dad received IVs and cntral line medication at home, a nurse or nurse-midwife can do this for you.

I hear your concern and wanted to relate my experience. I was strep positive at 37 weeks and also hoping to labor at home as long as possible. My midwife explained about strep B (basically everyone has it, it's just how high the level is when you're tested) and said she'd had success with women inserting garlic into their vagina overnight (a clove tied to a string) and then re-test at 38 weeks to see if the result was negative. Even though my friends thought I should try it, it was a bit too out there for me. Then, not really intending to, I got the hospital at 10cm pretty ready to push my little guy out. I heard the protocol was to try and get two rounds of IV antibiotics in at least 4 hours the birth but the medical staff had a lot of trouble even finding a vein. I got one round of antibiotics about 20 minutes before the birth. I thought, great, no problems, but then about 8 hours after he was born he started having some problems with spitting up old blood and breathing funny, and something about low blood crits(?). They werent sure if it was related to Strep B or not, which was kinda scary and the culture they did to test him for Strep B was going to take 24 hours, so they proceeded to treat him as though he was positive. It turned out he was negative and hes fine but I couldnt help but think that if I hadnt waited so long to get the hospital I could have gotten the antibiotics in time and not worried that I had potentially exposed him to something I knew could be dangerous. Oh, the other thing my midwife recommended to prevent possible yeast infections from the IV antibiotics was to request penicillin instead of the more widely used ampicillin and to apply a very, very small amount of nystatin (which she prescribed) directly to my nipples before nursing during the first week. Whatever you decide, good luck. Babies are cool no matter how they come into the world.
I was also Strep B positive for my second child and so was told I need to go in VERY early because labor was expected to go much faster, and they needed to administer the IV antibiotics. I was told that if I didn't get there in time to administer them, then they would give them to the baby after but we might have to stay longer. I also did a little research and the problems for babies who do get strep seemed pretty severe - life threatening - such that I really didn't want to take the risk. You should ask your doctor about the risks and options for you because everyone is different.
been there
20 yrs ago when they didn't know to test for Strep B prior to delivery; my friend pregnant with twins went to the hospital immediately when her water broke. Her labor didn't start for 36 hours, so for 36 hrs her fetuses were exposed to strep. Unfortunately, the first baby died from the strep within 3 days; the second survived because she was in a separate sack but she was in intensive care for 6 weeks. That made a significant impression on me. With my fourth pregnancy, suddenly they were testing for Strep B and I learned that I was positive also. Having 3 children who never showed up by their due date, with the fourth I planned the induction date and went in and got the IV before I let them start the induction. Ultimately, what we all want is a happy healthy baby, which does not always come according to our perfect birth plan.
mother of 4
Same thing happened to me with strep B. I didn't want an IV either. In fact, my ''birth plan'' didn't include any drugs or interventions, so I wasn't happy about the prospect of intravenous antibiotics. At 41 weeks pregnant I went in to the hospital for the routine tests and they found the amniotic fluid a little low, so they immediately showed me to my (delivery) room so the birth could be induced. Argh, another hitch in my perfect plan for an Ina May Gaskin dream birth! I actually told the doctor that I'd prefer to go home and come back later after I thought about it for a bit. She calmly talked me out of that. And to tell you the truth, once labor started to kick in to high gear, the IV wasn't even a concern of mine. I quickly learned what it is to be ''in the moment'' and just put all my concentration into birthing the baby. They gave me cervidil, pitocin, and of course the antibiotics and 22 hours later my 8.2 lb. baby was born. No epidural! Though I did accept their kind offer of intravenous fentanyl at one point. Oh yeah, they set me up with a heplock, so I was not hooked up to the IV drip until about 12 hours into it. This was great because I was able to walk around and get into a shower for a long while, which felt wonderful and helped me though some painful contractions. Good luck to you!
i was positive for strep b too. i labored at home for 20 hours, then went to Alta Bates and got hooked up to the IV. doctor broke water many hours later. i had wanted to be iv/drug free, but by 20+ hours i was less picky.
I was also strep B positive and when I found out I felt really disappointed. I too did not want to have an IV hooked up to me but realized this was probably one of many things that wasn't going to go my way. Basically they just administered the antibiotics when I was admitted and left a ''cap'' in (I think that is what it was called). It was as short tube inserted into my arm and once the antibiotics where finished, I could come off the IV line. I was able to move freely. I ended up getting a C-section anyway so having the cap in made it easier once I was admitted into the OR. Having gone through it, it wasn't as much as an inconvenience as I thought it would be. Trust me, you will be focused on other things once your labor hits. Good luck! Jackie
Honestly, when my babies were born (one in '03 and one in '05), I was far more into their health than my birth experience. I am not a fan of hosptial beds, but was more than happy to spend time in one to get through my two cycles of antibiotics or was it one -- I really can't remember because I was busy focusing on the letter 'e' on the wall trying to get through my contractions while my husband fed me ice and my best friend --an OB, though not mine--helped me remember to breathe. Is it Mick Jagger who sings 'You don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need?' -anon
I was positive w/both of my boys, most recently in Aug. W/the first I labored all day at home until the contractions were about 5 min. apart though my water didn't break until shortly b/f he was born. W/the second my water broke at 4am and he was born at 8:45am. I delivered at Kaiser WC both times and no one ever told me to come in sooner to get the antibiotics going. W/the second, when I arrived in triage, since my water had already broken, but I wasn't having regular contractions, they didn't want to check to see if I was dialated probably b/c of the strep. Also, since it went so quickly, they only had time to give me one bag of antibiotics instead of, I believe, two. One piece of advice: If they try to talk you into Pitocin, tell 'em you'd rather try nipple stimulation first. It immediately kicked me into regular and strong contractions and he was born about 2 hrs. later.
Good luck! Caroline
I tested positive for Strep B w both my pregnancies. It's a hassle to be hooked up to the IV but it's a necessary evil. -- I will always remember listening to a heart- breaking interview on the radio about a UK couple who had a still-born baby bc of a reaction to the mother's strep. (The Strep test was not mandatory in the UK and this couple was lobbying for it to become so.)

One note: I had a fairly unusual reaction to the antibiotics in that they killed off all the good bacteria in my intestines, leaving me with pretty awful diarrhea several days after birth. If you experience this, see your doctor asap and stock up on pro- biotic yogurts / drinks / supplements. Did give me a bit of a kick start with the old post-preg weightloss though! ;--) Good luck!
Mother of 2 beautiful boys

I so rarely respond to advice messages, but just had to respond to your message. I, too, tested positive for Strep B. Had a textbook pregnancy and no real problems. Didn't think much about it, as apparently 1/3 of all pregnant women test positive.

I didn't think much about the antibiotics either, as I had intended all along to have our baby in the hospital, whenever they told us to get there. My case was an absolute freak of nature (I can't even remember the percentage), but the Strep B was growing in the placenta. We didn't know that until my OB had the placenta biopsied afterward.

I don't want to scare you (those odds are long), but my daughter would have died had we not totally submitted to the quick reflexes of my OB. I would have done the antibiotics during labor anyway, but I also ended up with an emergency C-section and a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for almost two weeks as a result of all this (room 1, bed one for 4 days). Those 12 in the NICU days were an absolute terror. And, we were in virtual quarantine for 6 months after she got discharged from the hosspital to prevent her from getting even a sniffle.

The staff at the Alta Bates NICU were so unbelievable, but I would not repeat the experience for anything. Childbirth *is* a natural phenomenon, but there can be unforeseen issues.

I was positive for strep too. Believe me, the IV of antibiotics in my arm was the LAST thing that bothered me during my 36 hours of unmedicated back labor.

Due in 3 weeks - tested positive for Grp.B Strep

June 2003

I have just tested positive for GBS bacteria and have been told that it means I will need an IV with antibiotics when I go into labor (due in 2-3 weeks). My midwife says oral antibiotics aren't as effective. According to what I've read (Simkin's Birth Partner book), if I don't get IV antibiotics, the newborn baby will get pumped full of antibiotics until a full workup of tests (including a possible spinal tap?!) can be completed. GBS is apparently present in 1/3-4 women. Is there an alternate way to deal with this? I'm not crazy about having an IV during labor, but if the alternate is a spinal tap for my newborn, I'll certainly do it. Any advice, my fellow moms?? natasha

I wasn't thrilled with the idea of an IV either. I don't have any advice for alternatives to an IV, but wanted to let you know that you do not have to be hooked up throughout your labor. Administering the antibiotics takes just a few minutes, twice during labor (if there's time), and you can ask to be disconnected between the two times so that you can move around. In my case, my midwife asked the nurses to do this before I had a chance to. GBS positive
I also tested for Grp. B strep with my first baby. Like you, I didn't like the idea of an IV and being filled with antibiotics. However, after talking with my doctor, doing some research, I came to the decision that the benefits far outweighed the risks, especially if it's passed onto your baby and you didn't have the antibiotics. In the end, I was glad I made that choice, it gave me peace of mind, and with everything else that is going on during childbirth, it's the last thing you'll notice. Also, if you're getting an epidural, you'll have an IV anyways. Interestingly, with my second baby, I tested negative, so it wasn't an issue, but I would have easily chosen to have antibiotics again if necessary. anon
On the flip side, the IV really isn't a big deal. I had 2 births with an IV because of strep and it wasn't a problem. I barely noticed it and they can make it portable so you can still walk around.... and once you are in heavy labor you really don't notice it! Also, even if you find a way to deal with the strep you may end up having an IV for other reasons such as being induced with pitocin (which happened with my second labor). roxanne
I was Group B strep positive as well, and am one that always seeks a natural remedy first (homopathic, etc.). But... The following is from the American Acadamy of Family Physicians' website: ''Neonatal group B streptococcal infection is the primary cause of neonatal morbidity related to infection.'' In other words, it can be deadly. So my advice, just take the antibiotics. It is a lot less invasive than the alternatives and there are no effects on your baby, especially when considering the long lasting, devestating effects an infection could have on your child. I was on IV antibiotics for 14 hours. My son is healthy, fine developmentally and has not been sick (knock on wood).

The plus side of being GBS positive is that, if you are having your baby in a hospital, they admit you once your waters have broken, even if you aren't in active labor, so that you can get enough antibiotics before delivering. So you don't have to play the game of going to the hospital only to be sent home again. That was easier for us, and I found I was more relaxed being at the hospital than at home. anon

I also tested positive for GBS as did a friend of mine who had her baby 5 days before I gave birth. For some reason her hospital failed to give her antibiotics until minutes before the baby was born and consequently I believe she said they poked her newborn 5 times for various tests which resulted in a false reading and some scary moments for them. I was also very against basically any intervention and was upset about the need for drugs and an IV- I had a doula and wanted to have a completely natural birth. Luckily I was giving birth at a hospital that was very supportive of this and I was able to get my antibiotics intravenously and then just have a heparin lock (just the IV shunt) in my arm so I wasn't actually attatched to anything. I was even able to labor in their tub. The one major down side of having GSB is that my water broke but I didn't actually start labor. Instead of just letting me start on my own (within 24 hours) they made me come in and jump started labor with a small dose of pitocin for 1/2 hour-they wanted to minimize any exposure of the baby to GBS since my amniotic sac was ruptured. I was still able to avoid any pain relieving drugs but it was a tough labor (even compared to my first labor with twins in which I did not receive Pit). I would recommend talking to your midwife about the heparin lock and realize that while it is important to be informed about how you would like your labor to proceed you also need to be flexible as no one can truly predict how it will happen. In the end you will have a beautiful, sweet smelling reward for all your sacrifice and it will all seem worthwhile. good luck, mom of 3
I have absolutely never heard that newborns are pumped full of antibiotics if you test positive for group B strep and refuse an iv during labor! Yikes. I hope that your book is either very dated or that you, perhaps, misread it. According to my ob the baby is not exposed to the strep bacteria until your water breaks and it has to be broken for 18 hours before it becomes a problem for the babe in most cases. I was strep B positive with both my kids and got the antibiotics for the first and refused them for the second and the only thing the pediatrician wanted me to do was to stay in the hospital for 48 hours as opposed to 24 hours (though I did leave after 24 after agreeing to bring my new little one in to get checked out the following day).

You should talk with your midwife about this. It is extremely common, as you pointed out, to test positive for group B strep and so I'm sure she has lots of experience w/ it. Molly G

I am sure there will be others who know a lot more about Grp. B. Strep, because I know nothing. However, I have been through labor a couple of times. The first time, I had never had an IV in my life and was fearful when they told me they were going to give it to me as a matter of routine to make sure I had enough fluids. I don't know if all hospitals do this, but it was nothing and it was definitely the last thing on my mind within about a second. For my second labor, I don't even remember if they gave me an IV but they probably did. It makes it very easy for them to give you painkillers and whatever else you might request or need quickly, and you might really be grateful for that, I know I was. Do NOT worry about the IV part! been there
I too tested positive for group B strep with my first baby (but not with the second one). The IV sounds creepy, but it isn't bad. You can move around with an IV line, you just have to push around a IV rack on wheels. Once you begin active labor, you won't even notice it. Good luck and don't sweat it! grp B mom
I am also a strep carrier and had the IV both times I went into labour. I think it's pretty much the only way you want to go - why don't you want the IV? It's painless and the least of your worries when it comes to labour. We know a couple who were living in southern Chile and she was a carrier as well but didn't know it when she had her son. They didn't give her or her child antibiotics and now he's brain damaged as a result. I'd say don't take the risk and just go ahead with the IV - it's a silly risk not to. Keep in mind that if your water breaks before they get the IV into you then they'll probably have to give your baby antibiotics anyway because of the exposure. I've never heard of them doing a spinal tap though - that sounds a little extreme. Check with a pediatrician on that one.
I would do a LOT more research on this - there were a number of studies available when I was pregnant, so I know there must be more resources now. I have tested GBS+ with the last two pregnancies and decided to design my own protocol for ABX and within my own protocol I avoided ABX with both pregnancies and has both babies at home. Kathy
A fetus is safe from GBStrep in the womb. However, it can and probably will contract it during birth on the way past the birth canal. I know of a case where both mother and baby had high fevers during birth because of GBS. The bag of waters broke a little early, weakened by GBS. If your water breaks, rush to the hospital and get the IV antibiotics ASAP. All for the inconvenience of an IV tube on your arm and a drip bag on a wheeled pole in a hospital setting, you can completely avoid this medical complication, probably avoid follow-up courses of oral antibiotics, be allowed to travel and come in early when your contractions are less severe and further apart. Stay for the full two days that insurance will pay for, so the nurses can monitor your baby for fever. You'll have to do this for all your births, none of this cures you of GBS. Look at it this way: you should dread the infection rather than the IV needle. GBS can claim its share of mother/infant deaths before antibiotics were discovered. Count yourself lucky. kim
My sister-in-law just gave birth to a wonderful 11lb 12oz baby (her second) at home. She had gestational diabetes, groupB Strep, and was RH-. She took oral antibiotics for the groupBstrep (although not every pill). The baby ended up with some condition (as yet the neurologists can't say just what caused it) that caused him to be hospitalized in the NICU with seizures at 4 days old. He was in the NICU for 2 weeks and then another 1 week in a less intensive ward before being released. The seizures might have been caused by polycythemia, but many aspects of his situation are in conflict with that diagnosis. Considering the onset of the seizures at 4 days old, another possible diagnosis is that he did get the groupB strep. He ended up with an abnormal EEG and a scan showing dead parts of his brain. To date, now at home, breastfeeding and back in his mom's arms, he seems like a perfectly normal baby, but he could end up with neurological defects, and/or problems with gross or fine motor skills. We won't know for months or years. As any parents might, regardless of the circumstances, my brother and sister in law are questioning every thing they did during the pregnancy and feeling incredibly guilty about everything.

I don't mean to be alarmist or share horror stories, but this is an ''it'll never happen to me'' situation for my family. I had my first baby at home, plan to have the second at home, and (before this situation arose) was uncertain I'd even get the next baby to a pediatrician after it's birth. We haven't vaccinated baby 1 (yet) and I'm generally very cautious about allopathic medicine. However, having seen the hell that my family has gone through, it's made me take certain things a little more seriously.

This long response is just a way of saying that my sister-in- law's baby may have had group b strep. If I were in your situation, I'd very carefully evaluate my options and take the potential risks seriously. Also, my (CNM) midwives strongly recommend the IV antibiotics.

Best of luck and have a wonderful birth. Another mom

I too was surprised when I found out how common the Group B Strep is, and what the treatment was. However, perhaps my experience can help. The IV was only needed for 10 minutes every 4 hours - so it didn't affect walking around, being in the shower, or anything else I wanted to do during labor. I didn't notice it really, except that I had to go to the hospital pretty early on, once my water broke. But that wasn't a big deal. More important, however, I think, is the experience of the woman I shared a room with at Alta Bates. She had also tested positive, but didn't tell the admitting nurse when she arrived, because she didn't want to IV (or forgot). Anyway, after she delivered her baby, they had to do tests (or a spinal tap perhaps) on the baby, so she had to wait 3 hours before she and her baby were together in the recovery room. That, I think, makes the IV the obvious choice - for me anyway. Good luck. moira
Seems to me like you have a choice: either they can do something medically invasive to you or they can do it to your child. Believe me, you will suffer more if they have to treat your child. I'd have IVs every day for the rest of my life if it meant I hadn't had to watch them do some of the things they did to my daughter. Been There, Done That
One more thing about IVs during labor. In addition to all the compelling health reasons mentioned in the other posts, the fluids in the IV make it easier to stay well-hydrated. Being dehydrated makes your heart work harder and makes you tire more easily -- not things you want during labor. I wasn't wild about the IV either (same reason -- group B strep). Once my labor was rocking along, though, not only did I hardly notice the IV, but in spite of all the water I downed between contractions, I think I couldn't have stayed hydrated without it. anon

Our family has been battling perianal strep A

May 2006

our family has been battling perianal strep A, which seems to keep bouncing around (even our babysitter has it). this is strep of the anus. i've taken antibiotics, my kids have, my babysitter has, and it keeps coming back. anyone ever deal with this problem and if so how did you get rid of it? which antibiotics specifically, for how long, which doctor? thanks. also, as an aside does anyone know if perianal strep A would cause problems during a pregnancy? thanks. anon

Oh my. We are battling it, too. And the pediatricians and my gyno said that it's unlikely that we can infect each other perianally. But yet, we have it there. And in the throat. And it is PAINFUL.

What Kaiser is doing for us now is this: (As advised by the infectious diseases consultant) The ENTIRE family is on antibiotics at the same time. Everyone. Three of us are on Cleocin, which knocks out the infection and the carrier state. Daddy is on Penicillin, because he was a carrier and never had any symptoms. And we are washing with hibicleanse (adults) and PhisoHex for the kids. It's antibiotic soap. Every day. We are about to finish our meds, and then we all go in and get re-swabbed. If you aren't all on antibiotics at the same time, one could be incubating it, and then reinfect the others when their meds are finished.

I feel for you. I had it in my vagina, too, and I thought I would go nuts.

Also, amoxicillin, which is the first-line antiobiotics they used on the kids, did not seem to work.

I also lysol-wiped the toilet EVERY time someone used the toilet. I am praying that this is it for us and Strep A. Oh yeah, one of our doctors said to throw out all toothbrushes and tootpaste 24 hrs into the meds, and to bleach the bathtub and throwout bath toys. I did all of it. And wash all the clothes and bedclothes in hotwater.

I hope we all get rid of it, both your family and mine!

By the way, I had to be fairly insistent with our doctor to get everyone on meds, although after the infectious diseases consultant was called, all the doctors got on board really quickly, for which I am grateful. The CDC is putting a lot of pressure on doctors to not prescribe antibiotics for people without active infections, which I totally understand. But Strep A is nasty.