The Group B Strep Support charity focuses on raising awareness of the Group B Strep (GBS) infection in babies during the month of July. Although rare it is the most common cause of infection in newborn babies so I thought this would be a good time to share my experience with GBS and raise some awareness too.
So what is Group B Strep?
GBS is a very common bacteria that is present in up to 40% of adults, usually without them even being aware that they carry it. However, for vulnerable people, particularly newborn babies, being infected with the bacteria can cause serious illness. Most pregnant women with GBS present give birth to their babies without any problems. But if the bacteria is passed to the baby during labour it can cause GBS disease which will usually cause the baby to be unwell within a week of being born.
Currently in the UK, women aren’t routinely screened for GBS when they are pregnant. This is because the number of babies that actually contract the infection compared to the number of carriers is really low. But there are campaigns to change this and raising awareness of the infection is useful too.
This is obviously a really brief overview so you can read more about GBS here. This is a great resource and they do an amazing job of raising awareness of GBS.
Jasper was born with sticky eyes which remained sticky even after being wiped several times. For us this was the first signs of a GBS infection. After they were wiped a few times the midwife decided to swab them. Then the next evening after Jasper was born, I became unwell in hospital (really fast heart rate, high blood pressure, being sick), and because these are common signs of infection the doctors started me on IV antibiotics.
The next morning, Jasper’s swab result came back as GBS. So he was taken to the neo natal ward to have a cannula put in his hand and then he had to be taken back there every 12 hours for his antibiotics. Luckily, he was allowed to stay with me on the post-natal ward for the rest of the time. It was really hard having to see him with his sore hand and it was difficult to feed and dress him because I was worried about hurting him. But I’m really glad the infection was picked up for him before he got ill. After 3 days of antibiotics every 12 hours, Jasper’s infection markers came back really low and he was able to be discharged.
After a couple of days of IV antibiotics I got changed over to oral antibiotics so that I could also be discharged from hospital. It was such a relief to finally be able to go home. Unfortunately, even though the antibiotics worked in clearing up my GBS infection, I had other complications which meant I stayed unwell for a while afterwards but that’s another story! It is quite unusual for mum’s to become unwell with GBS infection so I’m not sure why I became unwell as well as Jasper.
Thanks for reading, Jen x