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This is a very long post, but I wanted to share everything with you about testing positive for Group B Strep during my pregnancy and all the natural remedies for Group B Strep that I tried along with my results.
I began researching natural remedies for Group B Strep when I got the unfortunate news that I tested positive for Group B Strep at my 36th week appointment.
I was very disappointed to find out that I tested positive for Group B Strep. I thought my test result for would come back negative.
There are many sites with information on natural remedies for Group B Strep, and I’m pretty sure I looked at almost all of them! I spent hours and hours researching every possible way to get rid of Group B Strep naturally. Yet, there isn’t much information on the effectiveness of these natural remedies or many people commenting on if they really worked.
After finding out I tested positive for group b strep during my pregnancy, I wanted to try some natural remedies for Group B Strep since my OB approved.
What is Group B Strep?
Group-Beta Streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria is a normal bacteria that can be found in the vagina/rectum of 25% of all healthy adult women.
Group B Strep is tested in pregnant women between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy because there is a chance of the bacteria passing to the baby during delivery.
Proactively Trying to Prevent Group B Strep with Natural Remedies Since First Trimester
Within the first few months of being pregnant I researched all the tests and procedures typically done during pregnancy. This way, I knew what to expect and could also research everything ahead of time in order to make informed choices about my prenatal care. One of the tests I came across was the swab test for Group B Strep.
I did several things since my first trimester to help prevent having Group B Strep.
- Taking a real food prenatal vitamin
- Taking (food based) vitamin C and vitamin E
- Take a probiotic (with multiple strains proven (by 2016 study) to prevent Group B Strep)
- Eat yogurt daily
- Eat coconut oil daily
- Eat foods with garlic
I thought all of these preventative measures would help insure I wouldn’t have Group B Strep. That combined with the fact that I didn’t have any risk factors for Group B Strep.
Risk Factors for Group B Strep:
According to a recent study, there are some factors that make it more likely that you’ll test positive for Group B Strep.
You’re more likely to have group b strep if you:
- Have multiple sex partners
- Use tampons
- Don’t wash your hands often
- Have had recent or frequent sex
- Have had oral sex
- You’re younger than 20 years old
- You’re African American
Testing All Pregnant Women for Group B Strep is New!
The Group B Strep swab test was never used back when my mom was pregnant with me. Doctors only started administering the Group B Strep swab test to all pregnant women in 2004. Prior to that, Group B Strep was not tested and antibiotics were only given to women during labor if they had any of the risk factors for passing the bacteria to the baby.
Risk Factors for Passing Group B Strep to Baby Include:
According to the CDC, these are the following risk factors that make it more likely that the bacteria will pass to the baby.
- Preterm labor – labor starting before 37 weeks pregnant
- Water breaking 18 hours or longer before delivery
- Fever during labor
My OB’s View Point About Testing Positive for Group B Strep
I went into my doctor’s appointment for the swab test pretty confident that my test result would be negative.
Two days later, I called to check my results and was surprised to hear I tested positive for Group B Strep and would need antibiotics during labor.
This was disappointing to me because my plan was for an all natural birth.
My OB gave me a long spiel about Group B Strep. He said that he has been practicing for over 40 years and asked me how many babies I thought he’s seen with a Group B Strep Infection. I answered that I didn’t know. He said zero! Zero babies in all his years practicing.
He said even without antibiotics he can almost guarantee that my baby will not develop a Group B Strep infection. But, still there is an extremely small chance the baby could. So doctors have to recommend to take antibiotics during labor.
This was very relieving, but I was still going to have to take the antibiotic during labor.
Testing positive for Group B Strep, does not mean your baby will get a Group B Strep infection. Up to 40% of women test positive for Group B Strep, yet only .5% of babies will develop the infection.
I’m 36 Weeks Pregnant and Have Group B Strep, What Do I Do?
I began researching everything I could about natural remedies for Group B Strep.. surely, I thought there must be something I can do. I have 4 weeks until my due date! So I researched studies and more studies and everything about natural remedies for Group B Strep during pregnancy. I ran them all by my OB prior to trying any of the all natural remedies. He said there was no research on natural remedies for Group B Strep, but none of them were harmful.
Natural Remedies for Group B Strep
1. Take Jarrow’s fem-dophilus probiotic – The ONLY natural remedy with evidence-based research. A study from 2016 found that taking the probiotic reduced the presence of group b strep from 42.9% to 18%. That specific probiotic was used in the study.
2. Use probiotics vaginally (no evidence-based research for this, some comment on success with it)
3. Eat raw garlic cloves daily or take a pure garlic capsule supplement (some use raw garlic as a vaginal suppository – I never tried it though)
4. Take vitamin C and vitamin E supplements
5. Apply yogurt vaginally
6. Eat a diet rich in fermented foods (for the good bacteria)
7. Consume coconut oil daily
8. Consume raw apple cider vinegar and/or use as a vaginal rinse (not straight)
Testing Group B Strep More Than Once
In addition to trying the natural remedies, I thought another idea might be to be tested again since there are so many things that influence the accuracy of the test. The sensitivity and specificity of the swab test are not perfect and results can change based on when the test is completed as well.
My Timeline for Using These Natural Remedies for Group B Strep:
36 weeks pregnant – I tested positive for Group B Strep. I began using all of the natural remedies for Group B Strep.
38 weeks pregnant – I was tested again for Group B Strep ( my second swab culture) – tested positive again.
My Results Using Natural Remedies for Group B Strep During Pregnancy
As you can see, I tried several natural remedies for Group B Strep during my first trimester to try prevent having Group B Strep during my pregnancy. Then, once I tested positive for Group B Strep at 36 weeks, I tried even more natural remedies for it.
I would have loved for the natural remedies for Group B Strep to have worked for me, but unfortunately, they did not. For my second test, I still tested positive for Group B Strep. I think only using the remedies for 2 weeks instead of my entire pregnancy may have made them not as effective. I used some of the natural remedies throughout my entire pregnancy, but not all of them. Also, with the Group B Strep Swab test – it is either a pass or fail test. So, the amount of the bacteria may have decreased from using these natural remedies, but just not enough. It’s impossible to know as the test does not give a specific number of the amount of bacteria present.
What I Ended Up Doing and Others’ Results:
I ended up deciding to have the preventative antibiotics during labor, even though the risk of passing Group B Strep was small. The risk was still there. Even when you take the antibiotic, there is still a very small risk of passing the bacteria to your baby. The antibiotic just decreases the risk of passing Group B Strep to your baby by less than 1%.
Even though the natural remedies for Group B Strep did not work for me, I’m glad I tried everything I could.
Some people online have said that these natural remedies have worked for them. I just wanted to share how the methods worked for me because there aren’t that many people commenting on their results. I know when I was researching all the natural remedies for Group B Strep, I wanted to know how effective they were. Hopefully, there will be more research in the future on Group B Strep during pregnancy.
If you have tried any of these remedies, I would love to know how they worked for you!
Please check with your OB before trying any of these methods. My OB and midwife approved of me using them prior to me giving them a try.