Have you heard of Group B Strep? You probably haven’t and neither did I until the worst possible thing happened to myself and husband the day our lives changed forever.
Group B Strep seems to be a infection/bacteria that doesn’t get talked about although it can be one of the most harmful bacteria’s to carry whilst pregnant. I had never been told or heard about Group B Strep throughout my first pregnancy. It was only until after I knew what it was and at that point for us it was too late.
In October 2017 whilst pregnant with my first daughter Violet Esme we had decided on a natural birth I was ten days overdue and still waiting for her to make her appearance! My waters finally broke after a couple trips back and forth we decided to stay in hospital. I started to become unwell and that’s when we called our midwife in, at this point I wasn’t really expecting what she was about to tell me it never crossed my mind. She started my observations my temperature was fine my heart rate was fine only to find Violet’s heartbeat wasn’t. I’ll never forget her face when she put the Doppler on my bump and she asked if she had moved position. We all looked at each blankly because we already knew that Violet had died I just had that feeling. I got taken away for this to be confirmed with a scan where they told myself and husband ‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat’ the worst and most heartbreaking days of our lives they also told me at that point that I had Sepsis a deadly infection. I went onto to have a natural birth whilst I was battling with Sepsis and septic shock.
I hadn’t had a test done for Group B Strep through out my pregnancy as it wasn’t needed later knowing that actually every mother should be tested as Group B Strep can have little to no symptoms, come and go or be carried by a mother and have no impact. A swab was taken and confirmed I had Sepsis/Septic Shock. They later confirmed that I also was a carrier of Group B Strep and this was most likely to have caused the Sepsis as my waters went. Our question was how did I get it? Why wasn’t I tested? They told us the test for Group B Strep isn’t routinely tested within the NHS. It would only be picked up if I’d had a swab for something else. I still can’t believe it isn’t tested for or talked about during pregnancy for us if the test was done Violet could possibly still be alive.
The Group B Strep can be passed through to your baby via your waters breaking. During my pregnancy I already was aware how important infection is after the waters breaking and how it can be passed through the waters a reason why I was being extra careful after they had broken at home. It still wasn’t enough. I wish no parent had to go through the loss of a child especially from something that can be prevented.
After giving birth to Violet I searched and searched to see if anyone could help the only support I came across was Instagram I found other mums in the same situation as me I spoke to them about how they too were not tested. I also came across Group B Strep Support they are a charity who raise awareness of the infection, support parents, provide information to the NHS and other medical professions and supports study/research days. Since speaking to GBS I realised how much it isn’t spoken about and how many other mums are unaware of the infection. GBS needs to be tested for within the NHS Group B Strep are an amazing charity and someone who we regular speak to and raise funds for through our fund we set up in memory of Violet ‘Violets Wishes’.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy I would definitely recommend mentioning it to your midwife or buy a private test which can be done in the last few weeks of pregnancy, as in the UK it isn’t in the NHS guidelines therefore it would be up to your midwife to talk about it. If you have already been tested or have been told you are a carrier you should be given antibiotics during labour via an IV drip to stop any infection passing on, more information can be found by speaking to Group B Strep Support.