There are many interventions offered as you prepare to deliver, be educated on the benefits and risks of each. In this article, we cover the GBS test.
By Danielle, contributing writer
There are many tests that a mother will be offered during pregnancy — blood tests, amniocentesis, glucose, and GBS. In this article, we will cover the GBS tests, and its risks and benefits, as well as how you can deal with it naturally.
What is GBS?
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a common bacteria found in most women’s GI tracts, at least 10-30% per the CDC. However, with leaky gut being a problem for most people in the developed world because of our diets, the bacteria can move from where it’s supposed to be to other areas – such as the bladder, vagina, and anus.
The CDC suggests, and its common practice, that all pregnant women are screened for the bacteria (in the vagina and anus) between 35 and 37 weeks gestation. This is done with a vaginal and anal swab, and sent into a lab for testing, rendering a “positive” or “negative” result within days.
Can GBS cause issues during pregnancy and delivery?
The main concern with GBS is infection of the newborn after a vaginal delivery. This bacterial infection may lead to fever, increased irritability, difficulty breathing, inability to maintain body temperature, pnemonia, sepsis, or meningitis.
The CDC states that newborns who receive antibiotics during delivery are 20 times less likely to experience an infection. However, numerous studies have shown that while antibiotics may prevent GBS infections, they do not decrease death rates from GBS infection. Other studies show no or minimal decrease of GBS infection for those treated with IV antibiotics.
However, it can also cause urinary tract infections that can lead to preterm labor, placental and uterine infections.
The real issue is that the bacteria has colonized a place where it should not have, that is moving from the gut to the genital area. Addressing leaky gut, a poor diet, and ensuring you are getting enough good bacteria from soil-rich foods, fermented foods, and probiotics, will often prevent GBS colonization of the genital tissues.
Preparing for pregnancy should include a full body detox and a nutrient-rich diet protocol, for at least 6 months to a year before getting pregnant. An ounce of prevention is worth is worth of a pound of (risky) cure.
How is GBS treated?
To prevent the bacteria from transferring from mother to baby, most physicians will give mothers a steady UV drip of antibiotics throughout labor. This, of course, restricts a mother’s ability to move during labor, making it much more likely for additional interventions to happen. It is also strips the newborn of its first bacterial colonization from the mother, notably one of the most important health aspects of birth.
It’s been shown that babies born via cesarean section do not have the gut flora as compared to babies born vaginally. With antibiotics during a vaginal delivery, the same happens, and the baby is born at a disadvantage.
GBS Antibiotic During Delivery Risks
- Treating with an antibiotic will cause the mother to not be able to move during labor, leading to further interventions.
- Antibiotics will strip the newborn of its first bacterial colonization, leading to higher rates of childhood chronic illness, such as asthma and allergies.
How to Treat GBS Naturally
If you would like to avoid antibiotics during delivery, it’s best to ask to be tested for GBS early (35th week) so you can retest in the event of a positive test result. In this video, a naturopath covers her GBS protocol and successes. You may also decide to turn down the testing, and do some of these protocols regardless. It is your choice.
To prepare for your test, or if you do test positive, consider using these protocols to stop GBS:
- Collodial silver – applied inside of the vagina daily.
- Probiotics – both in the vagina, and taken orally daily.
- Raw garlic – an age-old tactic to stop bacterial infections and growth, used in the vagina daily.
- Grapefruit seed extract – taken orally daily.
- Echinacea tinctures – taken orally daily.
- Astralagus tincture or tea – taken orally daily.
- Hibiclens at the start of labor – vaginally.
Pregnancy, labor and delivery are full of choices. Remember that you are in control of your birth, and be sure to have a birth team that is on board with your choices. The GBS test and antibiotics are in no way mandatory, and there are responsible, effective ways to treat if you are GBS-positive.