Normally, Group B Strep (GBS) is a harmless bacteria but can be passed to newborns around childbirth. It can be very serious if the baby then develops GBS infection. Taken from the GBSS site,
"In newborn babies, there are two types of GBS disease: early and late-onset. Roughly 75% of GBS disease is early-onset, occurring in the first 6 days of life and usually apparent at birth. Early-onset GBS disease is normally characterised by the rapid development of breathing problems, associated with blood poisoning. Late-onset disease - which usually presents as GBS meningitis - occurs after the baby is 6 days old and, normally, by age 1 month but, rarely, up to age 3 months. After age 3 months, GBS infection in babies is extremely rare.
GBS is a recognised cause of preterm delivery, maternal infections, stillbirths and late miscarriages.
Preterm babies are known to be at particular risk of GBS infection as their immune systems are not as well developed as those of full-term babies.
Overall, without preventative medicine, GBS infections affect an estimated 1 in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. Each year, based on 700,000 babies born annually in the UK, approximately:
- 230,000 babies are born to mothers who carry GBS; 88,000 babies (1 in 8) become colonised with GBS; 700 babies develop GBS infections, usually within 24 hours of birth; and
- 75 babies (11% of infected babies) die.
It was by pure chance that we discovered I was GBS positive. A urinary tract infection during pregnancy followed by swabs and further investigation was how we found out. There was a sticker placed on my maternity notes to make sure I was given antibiotics during labour and a leaflet. No counselling or explanation and as first time parents we were shocked. Throughout pregnancy we were given information to make informed decisions be it relating to scans, tests, pain control etc etc but GBS was not mentioned anywhere. One leaflet and a sticker. Really?
We turned to GBSS and got all the answers we needed to understand the whys and wherefores. They provided us with the all important peace of mind as to what happens next that expectant parents need. I got the antibiotics during labour and to this day am forever grateful that we understood how important they were. I cannot imagine how it feels for a new parent to lose their precious baby to GBS infection and learn after the fact that they may have been able to do something about it. GBSS work tirelessly to educate and support health professionals and families until such time that testing and information is the norm as part of the antenatal care package here in the UK.
You may wonder what my point is. The beloved Sprout and I get married on 7th June and are using our wedding to raise awareness and donations. There is no wedding list, no gifts that we want or need; we are lucky enough to have all that we require and a little boy that is healthy, happy and brings us joy that we never dreamed. We look to raise money to help others in the hope that they too experience the heaven that is our world. Yes, I am being cheeky and asking you to donate.
Text ASHM76 £1 to 70070
Should you be kind enough to want to donate more simply change the value.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.