If you’re pregnant or have been pregnant, you know that hospitals will want to put you through a bunch of tests you’ve never heard of. One of these tests may be Group B Streptococcus or GBS. As stated in Mothering.com, “the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that all pregnant women be screened between weeks 35 and 37 of their pregnancies to determine if they are carriers of GBS. Studies show that approximately 30 percent of pregnant women are found to be colonized with GBS in one or both areas“.
30 percent is a lot! But that’s because many people normally carry the GBS bacteria without a problem. However, during labor, GBS can pass onto a newborn vaginally, and that is when issues can arise. For that reason, if a pregnant woman tests positive, the protocol is to place the mother on antibiotics during labor. The only issue is that the use of antibiotics should be limited to emergency situations when possible. Babies and moms exposed to antibiotics run an elevated risk of developing yeast infections, including diaper rash and thrush. These issues can make the first days and weeks of parenthood much more difficult. Webmd also states that “antibiotic overuse doesn’t just lead to drug-resistant superbugs, it may also permanently wipe out the body’s good bacteria. Good bacteria in the gut help people in many ways, including helping make vitamins and boosting immunity. Some researchers think that killing them off with antibiotics may be contributing to rises in chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, and cancer.”
People who follow holistic living tend to care a lot about “good gut bacteria.” After all, “70% of the cells that make up the body’s immune system are found in the wall of the gut.” So if one wants a strong immune system, a strong gut would be essential. In my household, I try my best to protect the sanctity of our guts through good nutrition, prohibiting the use of chemical hand sanitizers with triclosan, eating probiotics daily in foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and limiting the use of antibiotics to emergencies.
As for GBS, there is actually a way to help reduce your colonization while pregnant. [Current research implies that this regimen can help reduce the occurrence of GBS colonization, however it has yet to be scientifically proven. Research is currently underway by Floragen to help determine if probiotics help the vaginal flora]. My midwifery put me on this 2 week regimen before my GBS test:
- Acidophilus- 3-4 billion live cultures per day (you can get this from Floragen Probiotic or yogurt. One Dannon yogurt has 1.7 billion live cultures).
- Echinacea (450 mg) 4x per day (Make sure it does not contain Goldenseal as echinacea is often paired with Goldenseal but should not be taken during pregnancy).
- Vitamin C (500 mg) 4x per day
- Zinc (100mg) 2x per day
Taking that many supplements can be confusing so here’s a little time table I followed:
8:30am: 6oz probiotic, zinc, vitamin c, Echinacea
11:30am: Echinacea, Vitamin C
3pm: Echinacea, Vitamin C
6pm: Zinc, Vitamin C, Echinacea
8pm: 6oz Probiotic
Thankfully, my test came back negative. Who knows if I would have been negative already, but I certainly was glad to take this immune boosting regimen. At 35 weeks pregnant a bunch of people around me got sick, and I feel like this regimen kept me from catching their sicknesses! WellnessMama also suggests the use of garlic. You can read her blog post on the same topic here. She was actually able to get rid of GBS after testing positive without the use of antibiotics!
I’m no doctor or a medical professional. But I’m a mom on a serious hunt to help my family be as healthy as possible. From my own experience in seeing both a OBGYN and midwife, I learned that levels of care in traditional western medicine and holistic practices are extremely different. In my perspective, prevention and holistic care aligns with how I want to live my life. I’m just sharing my journey here in hopes to help encourage others who believe what I do.
The Handbook, South Coast Midwifery & Women’s health Care