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Many concerns about GBS and home birth

Last post 04-16-2010 12:51 PM by rojaza. 5 replies.
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  • 03-28-2010 10:00 PM

    Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    I'm GBS positive, 37 weeks pregnant, planning a home birth (possibly a water birth) and have been researching this for weeks now and I am frustrated at the lack of information out there...hoping you guys can help.

    Everything I read either says you have to take antibiotics or your baby will die, OR that antibiotics are worthless and the worst decision. That they don't really show to be a huge help, can create AB resistance, etc.

    I have been trying for weeks to rid my body of the GBS (garlic, vitamin C, cranberry, etc) but nothing works, the swabs are still positive and its been found in my urine a few times.

    I do not want antibiotics (I prefer the more natural way of treating things) especially since my midwife only gives Amoxicillin which has been deemed useless against GBS. But everything I read says I may have a higher colonization since its in my urine.

    I've read many midwife sites recommending tea tree oil tampons or suppositories, inserting cloves of garlic (which I'm starting tonight) and hibiclens (chlorihexidine) flushes or washes during labor to prevent the GBS.....

    My midwife is alright. She wasn't my first choice but all I have due to insurance. She's been great but doesn't provide much relief and mostly blows off the concern, saying there's a 1% chance of the baby getting GBS infection.....however I'm concerned she never treated the GBS in my urine - no sign of infection but I'd have thought she would've or should have treated it?

    I know i sound neurotic, I probably have lost my mind by now trying to make a decision on this. Any thoughts or advise would be GREATLY appreciated.

    I'd love to hear from some midwives if possible, I was not sure which board to post on to get responses from professionals.... I am just exhausted over trying to make this decision.

    Thank you in advance,

    Edited by Brlnbabies, Moderator: Removed links in post.

  • 03-29-2010 11:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    I used several of the solutions mentioned in the article found at this website (I did not hyperlink it, so just copy and paste into your browser) 

    I tested positive at 34 weeks, borderline at 37 weeks, and negative at 39 weeks, and had a fantastic home birth, with no GBS complications.  I don't know if this will work for you, starting at week 37, but it's definitely worth a try! 

  • 03-30-2010 11:10 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    Have you read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth?  There are specific numbers in there regarding GBS.  I don't remember exact numbers, but when I was seeing homebirth midwives for my last two babies and was found to be GBS positive both times, I found the risk to be extremely minimal when it was explained to me (something like a 1 in 5,000 risk of baby dying...again, I don't remember exact numbers).   I chose to do nothing both times (I do mean nothing, I didn't do any garlic suppositories or vaginal rinses).  We watched the babies closely for any fevers or signs of infection in the first month or so, an both of them were very healthy and problems at all.  Also, it really depends on a lot of things like prolonged rupture of membranes, lots of vag exams, etc.  Its very different if your water breaks a day and a half before you birth your baby than if it breaks while you're pushing.  And it makes a difference if you have many vaginal exams in late pregnancy and labor (think of how the germs are getting pushed way up into your cervix every time an exam is done) than if you have none or very few. So there are ways to minimize the risk.  Also, if you do happen to have prolonged rupture of membranes, you could always opt for the antibiotics at that point.  It just seems to me that in my readings, treating every single GBS positive mom is overkill, and although it is protocol, it hasn't really helped much (the numbers aren't showing a significant decrease in infections).  Protocol used to be treating women at greater risk like those with prolonged rupture of membranes, etc (this is all in Ina May if you want to look).

    Because I knew I tended to be strep + a few times during my childbearing years, I took Vitamin C to help strengthen my membranes, and my waters never broke until really late in labor, so that was a good thing in minimizing risk.  Sounds like you've been taking lots of C.  There may also be vaginal antibiotics available to use for a week and then test again.  My midwife mentioned this to me.  I think it was clindamycin.  Here's a study on it, saying it may be useful in eradicating GBS topically prior to delivery. ***ooops, just reread your post and you said you don't want antibiotics**** And I see you've got info on the OTC and natural remedies too.  I was going to say garlic suppositories, but I see you're going to be starting that.

    Hope this helps.  I hope you can reach a decision and have peace so you can rest and enjoy these last weeks.  GOOD LUCK in birthing your little one!!!

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.

  • 03-31-2010 8:53 PM In reply to

    • midwifea
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-12-2009
    • Kailua Kona, HI
    • Posts 476

    Re: Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    Dear Pamela,

    Homebirth and GBS+ status is a tricky thing to navigate as a mama but ultimately you have to be the one to decide your course of action or inaction with this issue.

    In many developed countries there is no routine screening for GBS. 

    Since you stated you do not want antibiotics, (and oral antibiotics have proven to be ineffective in treatment of GBS) I would counsel that you trust your body and your baby and arm your self with the knowledge that will aid you making informed choices about your birth.

    As a homebirth midwife, I do not screen, but if a woman has had screening and the results are positive, then we would treat as you are doing and support the immune system and wait for labor, employing expectant management.

    Planning a homebirth would rule out prematurity and knowing you are gbs+, you should insist no AROM be done and monitor yourself for fever.  Also, employ watchful behavior with your newborn (as is done anyway)

    Please don't let this issue undermine your choice for a homebirth. It would not interfere with my attending a mama in labor. 

    You will have to reconcile the risk vs benefit for your own situation.  IV antibiotics in labor translates to a hospital birth and the all the inherent risks of interventions in your birthing process.


    A good site with many lnks on the issue is;



    "The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside."
    — Shel Silverstein
  • 03-31-2010 9:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    Thanks to everyone for their responses.... I sincerely appreciate it.

    My midwife has already told me that she doesn't do many vaginal exams. She'll do one when she arrives, and one when I mention I feel pressure to insure the cervix is out of the way. She will not rupture my water until he's about to come out. So I'm happy about that.

    She will do IV antibiotics if I want them but she only uses amoxicillin which is completely inaffective against GBS. I will ask her to monitor me for a fever and I plan to continue the current regime I've been on.

    I just started the garlic clove suppository. Not the most fun thing but its worth a try. I have also started grapefruit seed extract (hack!!) and my midwife comes tomorrow to do another urine check and vaginal swab. We'll see.

    I also have childrens echinacea on hand to give to him to strengthen his immune system.

    I'm doing all I can to prevent issues. I just pray my water doesn't break and I don't get a fever....I think I'll be fine if I can avoid those two things :)

    Thanks again everyone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 04-16-2010 12:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Many concerns about GBS and home birth

    "Doesn't do many vaginal exams" really is a matter of perspective.  A minimum of 2 seems completely excessive when you are concerned about GBS!  (Plus, the likelihood of more than 2 is high, since you often find info you don't particularly like with VE's thus requiring more of them) 

    How about keeping fingers out of your vagina and NOT encouraging the bacteria to ascend and just trust your body to birth?  VE if needed, not as a rule, especially with someone who is GBS pos.

    Good luck (just saw the date on this, have you birthed yet?)

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