Advice about Strep
Berkeley Parents Network >
Health & Medical >
Advice about Strep
I'm pregnant 36 w and was tested for group B. Streptococci.
Because the result was positive (apparently up to 40% of women
have it), in labor it would be treated intravenously with
I wonder, if anybody can tell me how it works practically? Do I
have something intravenously in my arm all the time? I'm worried
that I can not move freely then. I really don't want any
interventions (the pregnancy has gone well), but if this is
necessary (is it?)... My first child was born for 3 y ago in
Europe and there was no such testing.
Hi there - yes, I had this (just last month) and it was fine.
When I got to the hospital and they decided to admit me, they gave me an
IV of the antibiotic. It wasn't too constrictive because it took only
about 20-30 minutes for the dose, and then they removed me from the IV
for about 4 hours. So in between I was able to move around without the
IV attached to me. So, every
4 hours or so you will have the whole tripod to lug around - but you
don't have to be connected the entire time.
Here is what GBS+ looks like once you go into labor. If you're water
breaks first then there will be a time line that your doctor/midwife
will want to stick to pretty regularly to get you into active labor and
make sure they have administered 2 does of the antibiotic before baby is
If your contractions start first then you will go to the hospital just
as you would normally - when in active labor - and start the IV and
antibiotic once you have arrived. Again, they would like to get in at
least 2 doses before baby is delivered.
Doses are administered every 4 hours and take about 30 minutes to run
through. In between doses there is no reason to have the IV hooked up
and you can have them heplock/saline lock the port until your next dose
is needed. This will continue until delivery of baby - even if you are
Sometimes the antibiotic stings going in or burns a little. If this is
the case then ask them to dilute it more (which they can do for you
For a second time mom they will be especially eager to start doses since
your labor will be faster (most likely) than a first timer.
Getting the antibiotics for GBS is completely up to you.
Sometimes women choose not to get the antibiotics but it is best to talk
to your OB/Midwife about what that means for you and baby. The fear with
GBS is that the baby will get an infection from the bacteria on the way
through the birth canal which can lead to blindness (rare) and other
complications. If you choose not to have the antibiotics after testing
positive then the baby will be closely monitored for signs of infection
and they usually recommend a series of antibiotics for the baby once
The same will be true if baby is delivered before 2 doses of antibiotic
are administered to mom while in labor/delivery.
If you need more help on this feel free to email me. Have a happy and
I was also Strep B positive ... and it wasn't a big deal getting the IV.
They can set it up such that you are only attached to the IV while the
antibiotics are being administered. You are otherwise free to walk
around, take a shower, etc.
My advice: make sure they insert the IV far enough from your hand that
you can bend your wrist. The nurse that placed my IV set it far too
high on my wrist and it hurt when I needed to move my hand in certain
directions. It wasn't painful enough to subject myself to another IV
placement ... but it was certainly an annoyance.
Granted, I would have preferred to not have IV antibiotics, but given
the potential risks to the baby ...
I delivered twice at Alta Bates, group b strep positive both times, and
still managed fairly natural, low intervention births.
I don't remember the first that well anymore, but I do recall that per
all the reading you are supposed to go in to the hospital right as soon
as your water breaks if you are strep B pos. so they can get some of the
antibiotics in you in time. My OB was pretty laid back about that though
and suggested I take my time.
With the second they just had me hooked up to IV for 10-15 minutes every
hour or so (which only worked out to be about
twice) and I believe I was even able to labor in the tub while it was
The IV definitely felt far less intrusive and limited positions far less
then the external fetal heart rate monitor they used once or twice.
i was also discouraged to find out that i had group b. strep and that
i'd be hooked to an i.v. at the hospital. however, my labor progressed
so quickly (i was ready to push at home) that they didn't have a chance
to stick me when i got to the hospital. no complications arose from not
having the antibiotics. i would suggest researching any negative effects
you or your child may experience if you forgo the antibiotics, but i
believe you can sign a consent form to forgo the drugs.
I tested positive for strep too and was treated with antibiotics during
labor. If you are delivering in a hospital, you will have an iv
regardless of your situation. Basically, they stick an iv in your hand
on checking in! The nurse warned me that the antibiotics would sting,
but I didn't feel a thing. good luck!
I have Group B Strep also - and I would DEFINTELY do EXACTLY what your
OB is telling you. I had a vaginal birth (w/ the 2nd
pregnancy) and they put an IV in w/ the med. Anyway, to make a long
story short, w/ my first pregnancy they did not test me and my baby
almost died. If infants contract the strep they can become very ill. Our
baby was in the NICU for some time. Yes, you may not be able to walk and
labor - but- so what - please do what is safe.
Hi, I just gave birth about a week ago. I had our baby at 36.5 weeks-so
I didn't get the strep b test at 37 weeks. They give you a dose of
antibiotics so you are hooked up to an I.V. for about 1/2 hour to 45
minutes. Then it can be removed. I was also concerned about not being
mobile, but you can just ask that it be on a battery during that hour,
so you can move around with the I.V. during the short period. I don't
think it was a problem at all. Hope this helps.
I believe the IV antibiotics are given over 20 minute to half and hour
and then its done. there's no reason an IV of any sort should prevent
you from walking around and moving as you wish.
you may ask them to place the IV in a place that will not interfere with
bending your arm. there may be a little pain at the site while you're
getting the antibiotic, in that case they should just lower the rate so
you get it slower.
I am 37 weeks pregnant and recently learned that I am Strep B
positive. The doctor wants to put me on IV antibiotics as soon
as my water breaks or within a few hours of starting labor. I'd
prefer not to go on an IV--I had hoped to labor at home as long
as possible. Has anyone else had to make this decision?
I'm strep B positive as well. My water broke before I got to the
hospital with my son and they had to not only put me on an IV but
also put my newborn son on antibiotics. Something I would have
preferred to avoid. Don't mess around, although it seems like an
insignificant issue it's not. A friend of my husband's didn't
know she was strep B positive and her baby was infected and ended
up brain dammaged. Ok, that's probably an extreme case, but it
can happen and it's just not worth the risk for a little IV.
Seriously, don't risk it.
Strep B Carrier
I was strep B pos. for both births. For number one I called when
my water broke, and labor was still very managable. My OB told me
not to worry, that I probably had hours ahead of me. Next thing I
knew I was transitioning at home. I got to the hospital about 4-5
hours before my son was born, and they had plenty of time to get
the antibiotics into me.
With number two I labored at home for a while, but wanted to get
into the hospital sooner for other reasons (wanted to avoid
stressful trip to hospital later in labor). They were able to
take me on and off the IV to get two doses of antibiotics in
during the 4 hours I was there before my daughter was born. I was
even able to labor in the bathtub with the IV in!
Long story short - I think that a bigger deal of getting there to
get the anticiotics in right away was made before labor than
during labor. Hope that helps!
OB = Dr. Huibonhau
Hospital = Alta Bates
It is really important to remember that this test is beneficial
in regard to the baby being healthy. There are a number of
alternative treatments that you can try to reduce your
infection: garlic clove insertion, vitamin c, tea tree. I
recommend talking with a Naturopath or Herbalist for specifics.
You should also know that you can refuse the IV. There are pros
and cons on both sides, so please do your research. The
possible effects to your baby are critical, so you want to make
sure the baby is safe.
The good news is that you can always be retested in a couple
weeks...see if you are still ''positive'' If you are, you can
have the IV done...take the Antibiotics...and then have the IV
tubing removed so you don't have to be attached to the pole for
your laboring. This is called a Saline Lock. They will just re-
attach the tubing every 4-8 hours to administer more antibiotics.
I am about to have my third kid and for some reason with this one
I am also positive for Strep B. All I can tell you is what I am
going to do. I picked my OB b/c I love her philosophy and I
trust her 100%. She said that with her second child she was
positive and tried to go without the antibiotics and by the time
the baby was born she and the baby had raging fevers and were
horribly sick, requiring medication. That was enough for me.
After having two kids I feel like there are enough wild cards in
labor and delivery and I just don't feel like messing around and
taking any chances so I am just going to go in for the IV as much
as I hate the idea. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Well, in reading more about Strep B after the fact, it seems my
case was the exception, but here's my story, fwiw: I went into
labor 3 weeks early, before my Strep B results came back, so
they started an antibiotic IV drip as soon as I got to the
hospital, but that was only about 45 minutes before my son was
born. He was and is fine, though it turned out I was Strep B
positive. So you don't necessarily have to be on a drip for
hours and hours. My understanding is that your
positive/negative status can change from week to week, so the
test you had done at 30 wks or whenever that was may not be
accurate, anyway. My doctor wasn't too worried about it, so I
wasn't either, though I have since heard some cautionary tales.
If it were me (in my totally non-medical opinion!), I'd probably
labor at home for at least a bit - it really is nicer than at
the hospital. But see what other readers say - no matter what
the specifics of your labor are, you'll be more comfortable if
you're not worrying about your baby's health on top of
Yes, I had to make that decision last year. Chose to have a no-
drugs labor and a no-drugs midwife-assisted delivery at a birth
center (arrived there 7 cm dilated), no antibiotics. Went home 6
hours after birth. The following article helped a lot.
Having a team of supportive midwives and a supportive
pediatrician helped a lot, too.
My son is 16 months now. We haven't had a sick visit to the
I think you can still labor at home... but no matter how long
you wish to be home you should go to the hospital as soon as
your water breaks. It is important for the antibiotic to be
administered in a timely manner to get through your body prior
to the baby entering the birth canal. (At least that is how it
was explained to me.)
Strep B Momma too
I too was strep B positive when I gave birth two years ago and
did a ton of research on this, but I can't remember where I read
everything, but here is what I know. (I did check the medical
literature on PubMed so what I know is from medical and
scientific journals.) The old guidelines (CDC? AMA? don't
remember) called for IV anti-biotics with a strep-B positive mom
when there was prolonged labor after the water broke (if the
baby was not born after 18 hours of having the water broken) or
if the mom developed a fever. They then switched to giving all
strep-B moms IV anti-biotics during all labors no matter what.
This is actually causing problems for moms and babies as it is
increasing anti-biotic resistance and makes the babies MORE
prone to infection and less responsive to anti-biotics in the
first months of life (six months to a year?) and maybe longer.
So, it may be good to fight an infection in the first week, but
with the cost of increasing dangerous infections later in life.
Most likely hospitals will go back to the old recommendations,
but change is slow in hospitals and with OBs due to liability
issues, bureaucracy, etc. So, I told my OB no IV anti-biotics
unless it had been 18 hours since my water broke and there was
no baby, or I got a fever. (I did get a fever and infection at
the end of my labor so I did get the anti-biotics, but it was
shortly before the birth.) My labor had complications but my
baby is fine and was super healthy after the birth. As long as
you follow the old guidelines, you and your baby should be
fine. good luck!
Addition to my last post about the research: I too labored at
home as long as possible. You decide when to go in, not the
doctor. My water hadn't broken (and I was going to wait 18
hours for an IV even it had broken anyway) and I had no fever.
Also, every time they give you a vaginal exam during labor, they
introduce bacteria up into your cervix/uterus area and that is
bad for the baby. (their gloved hands are clean but the area
around the outside of your vagina is not and they push those
germs up inside when they examine you.) When you labor at home,
there are no vaginal exams and nothing is being put inside your
vagina so no bacteria is being introduced. (Everything is
flowing the opposite way which protects the baby.) So, staying
at home longer and avoiding vaginal exams protects you and your
baby from infection. Stay home and labor!
I had to have IV antibiotics during labor b/c of previous open
heart surgery. It was not a problem, as the IV fluids bag is
suspended from a rolling frame, and I was able to moves and
walk with it around the L&D room. It seems your greatest
comcern is with mobility. The IV did not really interfere. It
was good to have my mom to watch and handle the tubing and bag
for me, even tho she drove me crazy wither her tube obsession
at the time!
I did most of my laboring at home without antibiotics, and the
IV was placed only when I was at the hospital. You can probably
labor at home, but when your water breaks you should get to a
hospital as soon as possible (if you are not already there). if
you are positive for strep, the antibiotics after the water
breaks necessary for the health and safety of your child, and
to prevent systemic spread of strep in you.If you are planning
a home birth you might be able to arrange antibiotic IV at
home. My dad received IVs and cntral line medication at home, a
nurse or nurse-midwife can do this for you.
I hear your concern and wanted to relate my experience. I was
strep positive at 37 weeks and also hoping to labor at home as
long as possible. My midwife explained about strep B (basically
everyone has it, it's just how high the level is when you're
tested) and said she'd had success with women inserting garlic
into their vagina overnight (a clove tied to a string) and then
re-test at 38 weeks to see if the result was negative. Even
though my friends thought I should try it, it was a bit too out
there for me. Then, not really intending to, I got the hospital
at 10cm pretty ready to push my little guy out. I heard the
protocol was to try and get two rounds of IV antibiotics in at
least 4 hours the birth but the medical staff had a lot of
trouble even finding a vein. I got one round of antibiotics
about 20 minutes before the birth. I thought, great, no
problems, but then about 8 hours after he was born he started
having some problems with spitting up old blood and breathing
funny, and something about low blood crits(?). They werent sure
if it was related to Strep B or not, which was kinda scary and
the culture they did to test him for Strep B was going to take 24
hours, so they proceeded to treat him as though he was positive.
It turned out he was negative and hes fine but I couldnt help
but think that if I hadnt waited so long to get the hospital I
could have gotten the antibiotics in time and not worried that I
had potentially exposed him to something I knew could be
dangerous. Oh, the other thing my midwife recommended to prevent
possible yeast infections from the IV antibiotics was to request
penicillin instead of the more widely used ampicillin and to
apply a very, very small amount of nystatin (which she
prescribed) directly to my nipples before nursing during the
first week. Whatever you decide, good luck. Babies are cool no
matter how they come into the world.
I was also Strep B positive for my second child and so was told
I need to go in VERY early because labor was expected to go
much faster, and they needed to administer the IV antibiotics.
I was told that if I didn't get there in time to administer
them, then they would give them to the baby after but we might
have to stay longer. I also did a little research and the
problems for babies who do get strep seemed pretty severe -
life threatening - such that I really didn't want to take the
risk. You should ask your doctor about the risks and options
for you because everyone is different.
20 yrs ago when they didn't know to test for Strep B prior to
delivery; my friend pregnant with twins went to the hospital
immediately when her water broke. Her labor didn't start for 36
hours, so for 36 hrs her fetuses were exposed to strep.
Unfortunately, the first baby died from the strep within 3 days;
the second survived because she was in a separate sack but she
was in intensive care for 6 weeks. That made a significant
impression on me. With my fourth pregnancy, suddenly they were
testing for Strep B and I learned that I was positive also.
Having 3 children who never showed up by their due date, with the
fourth I planned the induction date and went in and got the IV
before I let them start the induction. Ultimately, what we all
want is a happy healthy baby, which does not always come
according to our perfect birth plan.
mother of 4
Same thing happened to me with strep B. I didn't want an IV
either. In fact, my ''birth plan'' didn't include any drugs or
interventions, so I wasn't happy about the prospect of
intravenous antibiotics. At 41 weeks pregnant I went in to the
hospital for the routine tests and they found the amniotic fluid
a little low, so they immediately showed me to my (delivery)
room so the birth could be induced. Argh, another hitch in my
perfect plan for an Ina May Gaskin dream birth! I actually told
the doctor that I'd prefer to go home and come back later after
I thought about it for a bit. She calmly talked me out of that.
And to tell you the truth, once labor started to kick in to high
gear, the IV wasn't even a concern of mine. I quickly learned
what it is to be ''in the moment'' and just put all my
concentration into birthing the baby. They gave me cervidil,
pitocin, and of course the antibiotics and 22 hours later my 8.2
lb. baby was born. No epidural! Though I did accept their kind
offer of intravenous fentanyl at one point. Oh yeah, they set me
up with a heplock, so I was not hooked up to the IV drip until
about 12 hours into it. This was great because I was able to
walk around and get into a shower for a long while, which felt
wonderful and helped me though some painful contractions.
Good luck to you!
i was positive for strep b too. i labored at home for 20
hours, then went to Alta Bates and got hooked up to the IV.
doctor broke water many hours later. i had wanted to be
iv/drug free, but by 20+ hours i was less picky.
I was also strep B positive and when I found out I felt really
disappointed. I too did not want to have an IV hooked up to me
but realized this was probably one of many things that wasn't
going to go my way. Basically they just administered the
antibiotics when I was admitted and left a ''cap'' in (I think
that is what it was called). It was as short tube inserted into
my arm and once the antibiotics where finished, I could come
off the IV line. I was able to move freely. I ended up
getting a C-section anyway so having the cap in made it easier
once I was admitted into the OR. Having gone through it, it
wasn't as much as an inconvenience as I thought it would be.
Trust me, you will be focused on other things once your labor
hits. Good luck!
Honestly, when my babies were born (one in '03 and one in '05), I
was far more into their health than my birth experience. I am
not a fan of hosptial beds, but was more than happy to spend time
in one to get through my two cycles of antibiotics or was it one
-- I really can't remember because I was busy focusing on the
letter 'e' on the wall trying to get through my contractions
while my husband fed me ice and my best friend --an OB, though
not mine--helped me remember to breathe. Is it Mick Jagger who
sings 'You don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get
what you need?'
I was positive w/both of my boys, most recently in Aug. W/the
first I labored all day at home until the contractions were
about 5 min. apart though my water didn't break until shortly
b/f he was born. W/the second my water broke at 4am and he was
born at 8:45am. I delivered at Kaiser WC both times and no one
ever told me to come in sooner to get the antibiotics going.
W/the second, when I arrived in triage, since my water had
already broken, but I wasn't having regular contractions, they
didn't want to check to see if I was dialated probably b/c of
the strep. Also, since it went so quickly, they only had time
to give me one bag of antibiotics instead of, I believe, two.
One piece of advice: If they try to talk you into Pitocin,
tell 'em you'd rather try nipple stimulation first. It
immediately kicked me into regular and strong contractions and
he was born about 2 hrs. later.
I tested positive for Strep B w both my pregnancies. It's a hassle to be hooked up to
the IV but it's a necessary evil. -- I will always remember listening to a heart-
breaking interview on the radio about a UK couple who had a still-born baby bc of a
reaction to the mother's strep. (The Strep test was not mandatory in the UK and this
couple was lobbying for it to become so.)
One note: I had a fairly unusual reaction to the antibiotics in that they killed off all
the good bacteria in my intestines, leaving me with pretty awful diarrhea several
days after birth. If you experience this, see your doctor asap and stock up on pro-
biotic yogurts / drinks / supplements. Did give me a bit of a kick start with the old
post-preg weightloss though! ;--) Good luck!
Mother of 2 beautiful boys
I so rarely respond to advice messages, but just had to respond
to your message. I, too, tested positive for Strep B. Had a
textbook pregnancy and no real problems. Didn't think much about
it, as apparently 1/3 of all pregnant women test positive.
I didn't think much about the antibiotics either, as I had
intended all along to have our baby in the hospital, whenever
they told us to get there. My case was an absolute freak of
nature (I can't even remember the percentage), but the Strep B
was growing in the placenta. We didn't know that until my OB had
the placenta biopsied afterward.
I don't want to scare you (those odds are long), but my daughter
would have died had we not totally submitted to the quick
reflexes of my OB. I would have done the antibiotics during
labor anyway, but I also ended up with an emergency C-section and
a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for almost two weeks
as a result of all this (room 1, bed one for 4 days). Those 12
in the NICU days were an absolute terror. And, we were in
virtual quarantine for 6 months after she got discharged from the
hosspital to prevent her from getting even a sniffle.
The staff at the Alta Bates NICU were so unbelievable, but I
would not repeat the experience for anything. Childbirth *is* a
natural phenomenon, but there can be unforeseen issues.
I was positive for strep too. Believe me, the IV of antibiotics
in my arm was the LAST thing that bothered me during my 36 hours
of unmedicated back labor.
I have just tested positive for GBS bacteria and have been told
that it means I will need an IV with antibiotics when I go into
labor (due in 2-3 weeks). My midwife says oral antibiotics
aren't as effective. According to what I've read (Simkin's Birth
Partner book), if I don't get IV antibiotics, the newborn baby
will get pumped full of antibiotics until a full workup of tests
(including a possible spinal tap?!) can be completed. GBS is
apparently present in 1/3-4 women. Is there an alternate way to
deal with this? I'm not crazy about having an IV during labor,
but if the alternate is a spinal tap for my newborn, I'll
certainly do it. Any advice, my fellow moms??
I wasn't thrilled with the idea of an IV either. I don't have any advice for
alternatives to an IV, but wanted to let you know
that you do not have to be hooked up throughout your labor. Administering
the antibiotics takes just a few minutes, twice during labor (if there's time),
you can ask to
be disconnected between the two times so that you can move around. In my
case, my midwife asked the nurses to do this before I had a chance to.
I also tested for Grp. B strep with my first baby. Like you, I
didn't like the idea of an IV and being filled with
antibiotics. However, after talking with my doctor, doing some
research, I came to the decision that the benefits far
outweighed the risks, especially if it's passed onto your baby
and you didn't have the antibiotics. In the end, I was glad I
made that choice, it gave me peace of mind, and with everything
else that is going on during childbirth, it's the last thing
you'll notice. Also, if you're getting an epidural, you'll have
an IV anyways. Interestingly, with my second baby, I tested
negative, so it wasn't an issue, but I would have easily chosen
to have antibiotics again if necessary.
On the flip side, the IV really isn't a big deal. I had 2 births with an IV
because of strep and it wasn't a problem. I barely noticed it and they
can make it portable so you can still walk around.... and once you are in
heavy labor you really don't notice it! Also, even if you find a way to
deal with the strep you may end up having an IV for other reasons such
as being induced with pitocin (which happened with my second labor).
I was Group B strep positive as well, and am one that always
seeks a natural remedy first (homopathic, etc.). But... The
following is from the American Acadamy of Family Physicians'
website: ''Neonatal group B streptococcal infection is the
primary cause of neonatal morbidity related to infection.'' In
other words, it can be deadly. So my advice, just take the
antibiotics. It is a lot less invasive than the alternatives
and there are no effects on your baby, especially when
considering the long lasting, devestating effects an infection
could have on your child. I was on IV antibiotics for 14 hours.
My son is healthy, fine developmentally and has not been sick
(knock on wood).
The plus side of being GBS positive is that, if you are having
your baby in a hospital, they admit you once your waters have
broken, even if you aren't in active labor, so that you can get
enough antibiotics before delivering. So you don't have to play
the game of going to the hospital only to be sent home again.
That was easier for us, and I found I was more relaxed being at
the hospital than at home.
I also tested positive for GBS as did a friend of mine who had
her baby 5 days before I gave birth. For some reason her
hospital failed to give her antibiotics until minutes before
the baby was born and consequently I believe she said they
poked her newborn 5 times for various tests which resulted in a
false reading and some scary moments for them. I was also very
against basically any intervention and was upset about the need
for drugs and an IV- I had a doula and wanted to have a
completely natural birth. Luckily I was giving birth at a
hospital that was very supportive of this and I was able to get
my antibiotics intravenously and then just have a heparin lock
(just the IV shunt) in my arm so I wasn't actually attatched to
anything. I was even able to labor in their tub. The one
major down side of having GSB is that my water broke but I
didn't actually start labor. Instead of just letting me start
on my own (within 24 hours) they made me come in and jump
started labor with a small dose of pitocin for 1/2 hour-they
wanted to minimize any exposure of the baby to GBS since my
amniotic sac was ruptured. I was still able to avoid any pain
relieving drugs but it was a tough labor (even compared to my
first labor with twins in which I did not receive Pit). I would
recommend talking to your midwife about the heparin lock and
realize that while it is important to be informed about how you
would like your labor to proceed you also need to be flexible
as no one can truly predict how it will happen. In the end you
will have a beautiful, sweet smelling reward for all your
sacrifice and it will all seem worthwhile.
mom of 3
I have absolutely never heard that newborns are pumped full of
antibiotics if you test positive for group B strep and refuse an
iv during labor! Yikes. I hope that your book is either very dated
or that you, perhaps, misread it. According to my ob the baby is
not exposed to the strep bacteria until your water breaks and it
has to be broken for 18 hours before it becomes a problem for the
babe in most cases. I was strep B positive with both my kids and
got the antibiotics for the first and refused them for the second
and the only thing the pediatrician wanted me to do was to stay in
the hospital for 48 hours as opposed to 24 hours (though I did
leave after 24 after agreeing to bring my new little one in to get
checked out the following day).
You should talk with your midwife about this. It is extremely
common, as you pointed out, to test positive for group B strep and
so I'm sure she has lots of experience w/ it.
I am sure there will be others who know a lot more about Grp. B. Strep,
because I know nothing. However, I have been through labor a couple
of times. The first time, I had never had an IV in my life and was fearful
when they told me they were going to give it to me as a matter of routine
to make sure I had enough fluids. I don't know if all hospitals do this, but
it was nothing and it was definitely the last thing on my mind within
about a second. For my second labor, I don't even remember if they
gave me an IV but they probably did. It makes it very easy for them to
give you painkillers and whatever else you might request or need
quickly, and you might really be grateful for that, I know I was. Do NOT
worry about the IV part!
I too tested positive for group B strep with my first baby (but
not with the second one). The IV sounds creepy, but it isn't
bad. You can move around with an IV line, you just have to push
around a IV rack on wheels. Once you begin active labor, you
won't even notice it.
Good luck and don't sweat it!
grp B mom
I am also a strep carrier and had the IV both times I went into
labour. I think it's pretty much the only way you want to go -
why don't you want the IV? It's painless and the least of your
worries when it comes to labour. We know a couple who were
living in southern Chile and she was a carrier as well but
didn't know it when she had her son. They didn't give her or
her child antibiotics and now he's brain damaged as a result.
I'd say don't take the risk and just go ahead with the IV -
it's a silly risk not to. Keep in mind that if your water
breaks before they get the IV into you then they'll probably
have to give your baby antibiotics anyway because of the
exposure. I've never heard of them doing a spinal tap though -
that sounds a little extreme. Check with a pediatrician on
I would do a LOT more research on this - there were a number of
studies available when I was pregnant, so I know there must be
more resources now. I have tested GBS+ with the last two
pregnancies and decided to design my own protocol for ABX and
within my own protocol I avoided ABX with both pregnancies and
has both babies at home.
A fetus is safe from GBStrep in the womb. However, it can and
probably will contract it during birth on the way past the birth
canal. I know of a case where both mother and baby had high
fevers during birth because of GBS. The bag of waters broke a
little early, weakened by GBS. If your water breaks, rush to
the hospital and get the IV antibiotics ASAP.
All for the inconvenience of an IV tube on your arm and a drip
bag on a wheeled pole in a hospital setting, you can completely
avoid this medical complication, probably avoid follow-up
courses of oral antibiotics, be allowed to travel and come in
early when your contractions are less severe and further apart.
Stay for the full two days that insurance will pay for, so the
nurses can monitor your baby for fever. You'll have to do this
for all your births, none of this cures you of GBS.
Look at it this way: you should dread the infection rather than
the IV needle. GBS can claim its share of mother/infant deaths
before antibiotics were discovered. Count yourself lucky.
My sister-in-law just gave birth to a wonderful 11lb 12oz baby
(her second) at home. She had gestational diabetes, groupB
Strep, and was RH-. She took oral antibiotics for the
groupBstrep (although not every pill). The baby ended up with
some condition (as yet the neurologists can't say just what
caused it) that caused him to be hospitalized in the NICU with
seizures at 4 days old. He was in the NICU for 2 weeks and then
another 1 week in a less intensive ward before being released.
The seizures might have been caused by polycythemia, but many
aspects of his situation are in conflict with that diagnosis.
Considering the onset of the seizures at 4 days old, another
possible diagnosis is that he did get the groupB strep. He ended
up with an abnormal EEG and a scan showing dead parts of his
brain. To date, now at home, breastfeeding and back in his mom's
arms, he seems like a perfectly normal baby, but he could end up
with neurological defects, and/or problems with gross or fine
motor skills. We won't know for months or years. As any parents
might, regardless of the circumstances, my brother and sister in
law are questioning every thing they did during the pregnancy
and feeling incredibly guilty about everything.
I don't mean to be alarmist or share horror stories, but this is
an ''it'll never happen to me'' situation for my family. I had my
first baby at home, plan to have the second at home, and (before
this situation arose) was uncertain I'd even get the next baby
to a pediatrician after it's birth. We haven't vaccinated baby 1
(yet) and I'm generally very cautious about allopathic medicine.
However, having seen the hell that my family has gone through,
it's made me take certain things a little more seriously.
This long response is just a way of saying that my sister-in-
law's baby may have had group b strep. If I were in your
situation, I'd very carefully evaluate my options and take the
potential risks seriously. Also, my (CNM) midwives strongly
recommend the IV antibiotics.
Best of luck and have a wonderful birth.
I too was surprised when I found out how common the Group B Strep
is, and what the treatment was. However, perhaps my experience
can help. The IV was only needed for 10 minutes every 4 hours -
so it didn't affect walking around, being in the shower, or
anything else I wanted to do during labor. I didn't notice it
really, except that I had to go to the hospital pretty early on,
once my water broke. But that wasn't a big deal. More
important, however, I think, is the experience of the woman I
shared a room with at Alta Bates. She had also tested positive,
but didn't tell the admitting nurse when she arrived, because she
didn't want to IV (or forgot). Anyway, after she delivered her
baby, they had to do tests (or a spinal tap perhaps) on the baby,
so she had to wait 3 hours before she and her baby were together
in the recovery room. That, I think, makes the IV the obvious
choice - for me anyway. Good luck.
Seems to me like you have a choice: either they can do something
medically invasive to you or they can do it to your child.
Believe me, you will suffer more if they have to treat your child.
I'd have IVs every day for the rest of my life if it meant I
hadn't had to watch them do some of the things they did to my
Been There, Done That
One more thing about IVs during labor. In addition to all the
compelling health reasons mentioned in the other posts, the
fluids in the IV make it easier to stay well-hydrated. Being
dehydrated makes your heart work harder and makes you tire more
easily -- not things you want during labor. I wasn't wild about
the IV either (same reason -- group B strep). Once my labor was
rocking along, though, not only did I hardly notice the IV, but
in spite of all the water I downed between contractions, I think
I couldn't have stayed hydrated without it.
our family has been battling perianal strep A, which seems to
keep bouncing around (even our babysitter has it). this is
strep of the anus. i've taken antibiotics, my kids have, my
babysitter has, and it keeps coming back. anyone ever deal with
this problem and if so how did you get rid of it? which
antibiotics specifically, for how long, which doctor? thanks.
also, as an aside does anyone know if perianal strep A would
cause problems during a pregnancy? thanks.
Oh my. We are battling it, too. And the pediatricians and my
gyno said that it's unlikely that we can infect each other
perianally. But yet, we have it there. And in the throat. And it
What Kaiser is doing for us now is this: (As advised by the
infectious diseases consultant) The ENTIRE family is on
antibiotics at the same time. Everyone. Three of us are on
Cleocin, which knocks out the infection and the carrier state.
Daddy is on Penicillin, because he was a carrier and never had
any symptoms. And we are washing with hibicleanse (adults) and
PhisoHex for the kids. It's antibiotic soap. Every day. We are
about to finish our meds, and then we all go in and get
re-swabbed. If you aren't all on antibiotics at the same time,
one could be incubating it, and then reinfect the others when
their meds are finished.
I feel for you. I had it in my vagina, too, and I thought I would
Also, amoxicillin, which is the first-line antiobiotics they used
on the kids, did not seem to work.
I also lysol-wiped the toilet EVERY time someone used the toilet.
I am praying that this is it for us and Strep A. Oh yeah, one of
our doctors said to throw out all toothbrushes and tootpaste 24
hrs into the meds, and to bleach the bathtub and throwout bath
toys. I did all of it. And wash all the clothes and bedclothes in
I hope we all get rid of it, both your family and mine!
By the way, I had to be fairly insistent with our doctor to get
everyone on meds, although after the infectious diseases
consultant was called, all the doctors got on board really
quickly, for which I am grateful. The CDC is putting a lot of
pressure on doctors to not prescribe antibiotics for people
without active infections, which I totally understand. But Strep
A is nasty.
this page was last updated: Feb 27, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network