While I was carrying Leo, I had every pregnant woman’s dream. No morning sickness, no weird cravings, I still fit into all my clothes so none of that ‘my jeans fit me’ one minute and the next ‘the zipper won’t even go up!’ But one thing I was definitely, 100% lucky with was a urine sample which showed I had Group B Strep (GBS).
It doesn’t sound like a pleasant thing to have, but a third of adults carry it (most without knowing) and typically has no symptoms or side effects with it, but it can be dangerous to pregnant women.
When I found out, I was just handed a letter by my midwife saying it showed up positive for group B Strep in a sample I gave, but I didn’t have to worry about it – so I didn’t.
I was due on the 13th of February, and on the 17th after having two sweeps, I started in early labour. I was told to go into hospital with my notes (which had the letter inside), and as normal the midwife read them, then sent me home as it could be a few days yet.
Saturday showed no signs…
Sunday came and nothing…
6:30am Monday, it all began. I was told several times to ‘not come in yet’ which was understandable, I wasn’t ready. At 1pm I rang the hospital and they said to come in.
The midwife read my notes and said to come back when I was absolutely ready to go.
When you have group B Strep, it can cause your baby to become ill during labour unless you are given antibiotics before giving birth (I was later told at least 2 hours).
Not only can it be a threat during delivery, it can be during the pregnancy and after birth, (if your baby is infected with GBS, there are symptoms to look out for).
Most babies can be treated successfully, but if not it can cause life-threatening illnesses such as blood poisoning, pneumonia, or meningitis.
I am incredibly thankful, every single day that the midwife who delivered Leo actually took the time to open that letter in my notes, as without her I would dread to think what could have happened to our baby boy.
I was seen by 2 midwives before, and neither opened the letter or acknowledged it – I was sent away and told to come back when I was ready to push.
In the UK, pregnant women are NOT offered a routine check for group B Strep and you have to pay around £40 to find out if you carry it or not.
A woman named Kim Poulton was expecting her fourth child and had a healthy pregnancy, when sadly after being induced, held her baby in her arms for the first and last time. It was after her baby girls death that she found she was a carrier of group B Strep and is now pushing for routine checks on pregnant women, alongside the Group B Strep Support Group.
It was by chance that my midwife through the pregnancy asked for the results of a sample to be looked into a bit more, but I was never told what it was or any affects it could have.
When I was told by the midwife who delivered Leo about the antibiotics and the group B Strep, I didn’t have time to worry as I was in labour (luckily a slow labour so the antibiotics could work), it was only afterwards I realised how bad it could have gone.
So many people aren’t aware of what group B Strep is, and so many pregnant women don’t know they carry it until it (sometimes) is too late.
I had to stay in hospital 48 hours after Leo was born, just in case he showed any symptoms of early-onset GBS infection.
1 in 10 babies born with GBS will die from the infection.
Not many people are lucky enough to know if they are a carrier, and they can even have an extremely healthy baby, but the next might not be so lucky.
Please share and sign this petition to make it compulsory to have routine checks for group B Strep. It could save so many innocent lives, and prevent so many heartaches.