If you are aware of it is probably due to the wonderful work of Group B Strep Support which is the charity that made me understand what it was.
If you’ve already read my blog you know that this is an IVF pregnancy after years of infertility, I am an avid twitter user and have a huge network of other people who are struggling with infertility, some have become pregnant, others have not. I first read the words Group B Strep on twitter from one of those who was pregnant, I didn’t have a clue what it was and I had never heard about it before. Me being me, I love to know everything and I pride myself on knowledge of things infertility and pregnancy, I’m a reader, so I had a google, what I found was that it’s an infection that anyone can have, but lies dormant with no symptoms, so whats the big deal right? Well in pregnancy it can be a VERY big deal, if you have this infection present when you are full term, there is a chance of it being passed on to your newborn baby during birth, if you baby contracts it can be very dangerous, make baby very poorly and can even be deadly.
I then read that this is something that the NHS do not test for, my first reaction was shock, especially when I learned that its routinely tested in pregnancy in countries such as Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Oman, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland and the US.
So the NHS do not test, Group B Strep support suggest that women ask their NHS midwives and consultants to ask for the test, so maybe they become aware that there is a demand for it, and an awareness.
I personally am going to pay for a test privately, they cost around £35 and can be ordered online, done at home (it really is that easy and each test is provided with instructions) or you can ask your health care provider to do the swab for you (they may charger you a small fee).
I have just ordered my test today, they advise to have the test done between 35 and 37 weeks as Group B Strep is something that can come and go, test too early and a negative result may not be negative a month later. This also gives enough time for them to get the results back to you before baby makes an appearance.
There are various suppliers of tests and they can all be found here; http://gbss.org.uk/sub_sub_section.php?section_id=3&sub_sub_id=21&sub_id=121&content=ECM%20test.%20Where%20&%20how
So now your thinking what happens if my result comes back positive? My baby is going to die of some horrible infection?! No, it is easily prevented by IV antibiotics during labour, or if you choose not to have antibiotics close monitoring of your baby by trained medical staff for 24-48 hours.
More in-depth information can be found here at the charity’s website; http://www.gbss.org.uk/home.php
I will update with my self testing experience and results when the time comes.
The charity was founded by Jane Plumb who’s son Theo sadly passed away due to a Group B Strep infection shortly after birth 17 years ago, after his passing she found that his death could have been prevented and has been campaigning for awareness and testing ever since.
This year she won the Tesco Mum Of The Year Award for her work. An amazing achievement.
Are you pregnant? Are you aware of Group B Strep? Are you a mum and were you tested during pregnancy?