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I Tested Positive for Group B Strep. Now What?

bella-baby-belly12I’ve been having a really great pregnancy so far.  Everything has been smooth sailing with no problems or bumps along the road.  I’ve been planning a natural childbirth, free of drugs or unnecessary interventions and have planned to labor at home for as long as possible before heading off to the hospital.  However, at my doctors appointment last week, I was informed that I’d tested positive for Group B Strep, which adds a tiny hitch in my plan. According to the Dr. Sears website, “Group B Strep is a kind of bacteria that approximately 30 percent of healthy pregnant women carry in the vagina, rectum or surrounding area.  While it normally does not cause any health problems for the woman, it can migrate up into the uterus during labor after the bag of waters has broken and infect both the newborn infant and the mother.  It is for this reason that IV antibiotics are given during labor to women who are Strep positive.  The antibiotics suppress or kill the bacteria so they do not infect the newborn or the mom.  It is generally felt that if more than 12 to 18 hours passes after the water breaks, this greatly increases the chance of infection. If, on the other hand, less than 12 hours passes, the chance of infection is minimal.” My doctor advised me that if labor starts with my water breaking that I’ll need to head to the hospital as quickly as possible.  She said I didn’t need to break any speed records and I’d have plenty of time to take a shower and grab a quick snack.  I know that the water breaking only occurs in 8-10 percent of all women but I now can’t help but worry that I’ll be one of those 8-10 percent.  Plus, to make matters more difficult, I’m allergic to Penicillin, which is the most common drug administered during labor for Strep.  So instead of Penicillin, I’ll be put on a similar antibiotic which will be administered every 4 hours or so through an IV.  However, apparently which my doctor stated that the alternative antibiotic could still cause similar side effects as Penicillin.  Then after the baby is born, he’ll have to remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours for observation.  There go my hopes of an early discharge! Long story short, not only am I really hoping that contractions start before my water breaks so I can at least labor at home for a good amount of time, but I’m also hoping not to break out in hives while focusing on pushing my baby out naturally.  So I suppose it’s just a tiny hitch and truly a no brainer to have the antibiotics to protect my baby but I still can’t help but sigh at this unexpected surprise.  But the good news is per my visit with my doctor yesterday, though I’m still only 1cm dilated, I’m now 75% effaced and baby is continuing to drop.  Considering my cervix was not soft at all last week, I guess that means progress!  I suppose it’s just a matter of time now. {image from a beautiful day photography}

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