by Corrie Donahue (Plainville, MA)
As if pregnant women don't have enough to worry about during pregnancy… what about Group B Strep??? I tested positive during my second trimester through a urine test and received antibiotics (Clindamycin) which made me very sick while taking them.
Everything seems fine now but I will be tested again between 35 and 37 weeks. I have been eating very healthy and have increased my probiotic as well as fermented food intake.
I'm worried about having to receive IV antibiotics or penicillin during labor due to research I've done regarding antibiotic resistance due to large numbers of women receiving antibiotics or penicillin at during birth… also additional problems with allergic disease in infants.
What are your thoughts on this?? I appreciate any information that you have to offer!
Corrie A. Donahue
I'm sorry you had such a rough time with the antibiotics after testing positive for Group B Strep. I haven't heard many women who have been tested for it earlier in pregnancy than around 36 weeks.
There's a lot of controversy about Group B Strep because it's pretty natural to have it culture out in the female body. In fact, you can test positive for it at one point during pregnancy and be negative by the end of pregnancy.
There's also controversy about just how much good the continuous antibiotics actually do during labor.
Many midwives and moms take steps to naturally reduce the chance of culturing positive, just like you are talking about with taking probiotics and eating fermented foods.
Switch to cotton panties only (and make sure you change frequently, especially if they're getting damp which tends to happen during pregnancy with increased fluids).
Frequent Vitamin C is recommended, and Echinacea tea is a good idea. I think adding Nettle to the tea would also be helpful because it gently aids the body in cleansing and is very nourishing.
Keep up with the probiotics and fermented foods.
Watch your carbohydrate intake, and eat all carbs (breads, potatoes, etc.) with plenty of fats to help your body break them down and use them efficiently without getting a huge sugar rush for bacteria to feed on.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is an expert on gut health and gut flora, and she recommends this protocol for all women preparing to birth:
In the last month or so leading up to birth, apply yogurt (sugar free, plain yogurt, preferably homemade, otherwise a high quality store bought like Seven Stars) gently to the vagina and labia. The nipples and armpits are also a good idea. Do this after showering and allow the yogurt to dry then get dressed in natural fibers. You can also use kefir for this.
In addition to your oral probiotics, put a probiotic capsule directly into the vagina one night a week. A high strength formula like Biokult is recommended.
These measures help populate your vagina with good bacteria which prevents bacteria like Group B. Strep and also gives lots of good bacteria for your baby's gut as he or she comes through the birth canal. Using the yogurt or kefir on the breasts and armpits helps keep flora in good balance and prevent mastitis.
If you feel comfortable with these measures, they're generally very effective.
Best of luck to you throughout the rest of your pregnancy and with your birth Corrie!
Update: I've written a full article on How to Prevent Group B Strep here!