Everything You Need to Know About Group B Strep |

Everything You Need to Know About Group B Strep

Mariah Leach October 17, 2022

As a mama of one, I remember hearing about GBS, and many would portray it as a severe and scary problem to have in pregnancy/labor. I pictured this simply as something that a pregnant woman either got or didn’t when being tested. But I realized through research that it is something that can be avoided. Not only that, but when being tested, some women can have false results. To be 100% confident in your test results, you should be tested again to confirm results.

After doing some research, I discovered that, yes, this was serious, but I also found some incredible natural options to change your GBS test from positive to negative. I never completely understood exactly what GBS was or how to even go about handling it if I ever needed to. I can see how many new moms may not know where to begin their GBS research.

I want to help you out, mama! Let me tell you a little more about Group B Strep, and how to know if you are GBS positive at birth. Even the benefits of taking natural preventatives, how to prevent a positive result, how to handle it if you still are testing positive after trying natural preventatives, risks of GBS for you and your baby, and help you feel fully prepared for any outcome! I hope that you feel informed, encouraged, and fully confident in your medical decisions regarding your labor and delivery. 

What Is Group B Strep (GBS)?

So are you wondering precisely what GBS is? GBS stands for Group B Streptococcus, a bacteria that can cause illness in any age group. Some results in newborns with GBS could show infection of the brain and spinal cord, meningitis, lung pneumonia, and a blood condition called sepsis.

First, GBS makes its home in the intestine and then moves down to the women’s vagina, rectum, and urinary tract. 10-30% of pregnant women worldwide will colonize or carry GBS, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will get the GBS infection. (1)

Many women who test positive for GBS don’t show infections or symptoms. It is very rare for babies to contract this infection; research shows that only 1-2% of newborns with early onset GBS will have invasive infection cases. This is based on the 20–30% of pregnant women who will have it colonized in the vagina and/or rectum and 50–70% of newborns who become colonized. (2)

Risk Factors that lead to GBS:

  1. Numerous sexual partners
  2. Oral sex male-to-female 
  3. Sex recently or frequently 
  4. Inconsistent hand washing
  5. Younger than 20 years old
  6. Tampon use

How Do I Know If I Am GBS-Positive At the Time of Birth? 

This test is usually done by your ob-gyn around 36-37 weeks pregnant. Usually, your provider will ask you if you have any questions about the test, then take a routine GBS test. This test consists of using a small Q-tip to swab the inside of the vagina, and then sending it to a lab to get the results. By your next visit, your care provider should let you know what your GBS results are and how this may affect the rest of your pregnancy.

You always have the right and option to refuse this test, but it is a recommended test to get done, especially if this is your first or second pregnancy. But, if you have had more than three GBS-negative pregnancies, you may not even want to get tested, considering the odds are much lower.

How Do I Prevent a Positive Test Result?

There are some fantastic natural ways to help your body before taking a GBS test, to potentially even prevent a positive result. Here are some super easy and great options to try:


Yes, you heard that right! Raw garlic has impressive antibacterial properties. There have been studies done on putting garlic extract and GBS in a dish together to see what happened, and the results were that the garlic ultimately killed the GBS within three hours! (3)There are few research studies on this method, but it is an option to try! Some say that putting garlic in your vagina overnight to kill any GBS you may have may help your GBS test the next day. 


Making sure to have a good amount and sources of probiotics may lessen your chances of having GBS during pregnancy. Based on a few clinical trials done on pregnant women with a positive GBS result, probiotic capsules reversed the results to a negative test of GBS. (4). This is another incredibly natural way to go about helping your body by lessening those chances of GBS being positive, getting rid of GBS, it can help the body be ready for labor and delivery as well.

Colloidal Silver 

This silver has antibacterial properties that may help avoid GBS infections. There are no studies on this, but it is a natural way that may work for you and as a preventive if you are at high risk. Many natural doctors recommend trying this! Colloidal silver is a powerful natural antibiotic that can be a great tool. 

Vitamin C 

Another great way to possibly avoid GBS infections is by boosting the amount of vitamin c you intake. Some top foods to try and increase your levels are grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, and red pepper. Try adding these to your diet daily. 

What If I Still Test Positive?

The typical provider protocol for testing positive at 36 weeks pregnant is by receiving antibiotics during labor to lower the risk for early GBS infections in newborn babies. Both benefits and disadvantages may harm a baby while taking antibiotics during delivery. What is known about taking IV antibiotics during labor is how it can affect your baby’s microbiome. (5) Although it is rare, it can affect the baby’s microbiome, but in studies, it is found to be only temporary and can be helped by breastfeeding. 

That is why it is vital to research and talk with your midwife or ob-gyn about the risks and benefits, then plan how you want to handle GBS during pregnancy and labor. Also, you have every right to ask your provider or midwife to test you multiple times before making your final decision. This also means you can test again anytime before labor as well to see if your results have changed. There is no limit to what you want to do!

Have you ever tested positive for GBS? If so, what did you do?

This is the writings of:

Mariah Leach
A holistic health enthusiast who loves all things related to natural living, natural eating, and helping others. She has two years of experience as a health and wellness copywriter. Someone who desires to help others share simple natural ways and/or products that help steward long-lasting health in others. Her dream is to start her own health blog with tips, tricks, and encouragement for those who need help starting their health journey.


  1. I got a positive GBS result at 38 weeks and was distraught at the thought of:

    A. Having to go into hospital as soon as labor started because our plan was to stay at home for as long as possible, to avoid being sucked into unnecessary hospital interventions to “hurry things along”.

    B. Exposing myself and baby to high levels of antibiotics.

    I did a lot of reading and talking with my husband, the midwives at our practice, and our family doctor, and was pleased that – although they always began by giving me the worst case scenarios – they were all on board when I said I would decline the antibiotic IV.

    The interesting things I learned during my “research” into GBS were:

    1. To help reduce the chances of a positive result, start taking a probiotic supplement e.g. Florajen 3 at 30 weeks to cultivate good gut health (I guess you should clear this with your HCP first).

    2. The antibiotic route isn’t all that…
    “This review finds that giving antibiotics is not supported by conclusive evidence. The review identified four trials involving 852 GBS positive women. Three trials, which were around 20 years old, compared ampicillin or penicillin to no treatment and found no clear differences in newborn deaths although the occurrence of early GBS infection in the newborn was reduced with antibiotics. The antibiotics ampicillin and penicillin were no different from each other in one trial with 352 GBS positive women. All cases of perinatal GBS infections are unlikely to be prevented even if an effective vaccine is developed.” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007467.pub3/abstract)

    3. My midwife told me that the American College of Nurse Midwives had concluded that babies born in water have a reduced risk of picking up the GBS infection during birth.

    4. When being tested for GBS, ask for a vaginal swab only. You may have a colonization of the bacteria in your bottom, and that shouldn’t be a factor during birth.

    5. In the UK women are not routinely screened for GBS because the risk is seen as so low. Therefore thousands of women each year outside the USA are not routinely bombarded with antibiotics for a condition they may or may not actually have at the time of birth.

    Pardon the pun, but do your own research and let your gut tell you what’s best for you and your baby.


  2. A cesarean for 18 hours with ruptured membranes and GBS +???! seriously?! When the risk of infection is .5 to 1% that’s a pretty ridiculous protocol. In our area that’s not standard of care at all.

    Also you state GBS normally lives in the vagina – this is not true. GBS lives in the lower colon and rectum and can migrate to the vagina. Good hygiene is important – wipe fron to back!

    It’s important to note that homebirth midwives in different parts of the country do different things. Many do NOT do prophylactic IV antibiotics at home – the possibility of anaphylactic shock at home as a result is one many midwives will not risk.


  3. What can be given to the newborn baby whose mother had antibiotics during labor for GBS, to help colonize good bacteria in the baby’s gut as soon as possible? Please give brand names if possible. Thank you for your response.


  4. […] Apple Cider Vinegar Bath  – “This method is quite possibly the most effective. Three times a week, take a bath with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar added to the bath. The smell might be less than desirable, but it works. The theory is that the bacteria cannot live in the acidic environment of the vinegar and therefore dies.” (source) […]


  5. […] Apple Cider Vinegar Bath  – “This method is quite possibly the most effective. Three times a week, take a bath with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar added to the bath. The smell might be less than desirable, but it works. The theory is that the bacteria cannot live in the acidic environment of the vinegar and therefore dies.” (source) […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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