Raising Awareness on Group B Strep
Guest Sarah Gwen Smith (soon to be Townsend)
Firstly I would like to say thank you for agreeing to be our guest blogger for this post and secondly, thank you for all your great work with campaigning to raise awareness on Group B Strep!
Aaah thank you. Sorry I haven't been so hot at replying! As you know, toddlers keep you BUSY!
Q. So, what is Group B Strep?
A. Group B Strep is an infection present in 40% of people, especially women. Most people don't even know they have it and it rarely causes any problems.
But it can be passed to babies during labour.
Group B Strep is the number 1 cause of more serious illnesses such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in babies under 3 months.
Q. Why are you campaigning for Group B Strep to be recognised?
A. Because I had NO CLUE what it was when I was pregnant.
The first time it was explained to me, was because my son, Joshua, had stopped breathing at 18 hours old. He was having seizures. He was heavily sedated and whisked off to a higher dependancy hospital without me.
The first time Group B Strep was explained to me, it was over the phone and when I asked Joshua's doctor “Can you just tell me my son is going to be okay?”. His reply was “I'm sorry but he's very poorly, I can't tell you that right now”.
I hate the thought that any mother should have to hear that in what should be a moment of joy!
Our ordeal might have been avoided if I had known more!
There is a test available. There are some arguments over the accuracy of the test, because if the result is positive, then you know are a GBS carrier but, if it is negative it may just mean that its not present at that moment. Also, the infection can come and go (kind of like the cold sore virus I suppose!)
Q. What are the signs pregnant women should be looking out for?
A. For adults, pregnant or not its rare that you would actually get any symptoms. However for newborns it's most important to look for the signs of sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. Things like grunting, fast respirations, a mottled rash were all symptoms Joshua experienced.
Q. Where can we find out more information about Group B Strep?
https://gbss.org.uk/product-category/info-materials/ - Free Resources Available
Here is little Joshua now! Thankfully safe, happy, smiley and is passing all of his milestones.