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Lets Talk About Group B Strep – Birth Puppets

So here’s something a little more fun for you. I’ve started to make some birth puppet videos. The idea is to try and help educate but it a fun way that isn’t intimidating to women.

Let me know what you think. Info on GBS below the video.

 

Learn more about Group B Strep (GBS)

“The history of neonatal sepsis related to early onset group B streptococcus (GBS) emerged in the early 1970s. The neonatal mortality rate was 55% for those neonates with invasive GBS disease. The first adopted guidelines by the medical community to prevent early onset GBS were developed in the 1990s. One year after implementation of the guidelines, the mortality rate dropped to approximately 5%. Despite the great accomplishments in reducing the mortality rate, GBS remains the number one cause of infant morbidity and mortality in the United States.”

“Early-onset GBS infection is characterised by the rapid development of respiratory distress (breathing problems) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning). Early-onset GBS infection has a higher mortality rate than late-onset infection – approximately 15% of babies die.”

For more information on the importance of antibiotics during labour: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/group-b-streptococcus-infection.pdf

What is GBS?

GBS is one of many bacteria that can be present in our bodies. It doesn’t usually cause any harm. When this happens it’s called “carrying” GBS or being colonised with GBS.

It’s estimated about one pregnant woman in five carries GBS in their digestive system or vagina.

Around the time of labour and birth, many babies come into contact with GBS and are colonised by the bacteria. Most are unaffected, but a small number can become infected.

Early-onset GBS infection

If a baby develops GBS infection less than seven days after birth, it’s known as early-onset GBS infection. Most babies who become infected develop symptoms within 12 hours of birth.

Symptoms include:

  • being floppy and unresponsive
  • not feeding well
  • grunting
  • high or low temperature
  • fast or slow heart rates
  • fast or slow breathing rates
  • irritability

What complications can GBS infection cause?

Most babies who become infected can be treated successfully and will make a full recovery.

However, even with the best medical care the infection can sometimes cause life-threatening complications, such as:

  • blood poisoning (septicaemia)
  • infection of the lung (pneumonia)
  • infection of the lining of the brain (meningitis)

One in 10 babies born with GBS will die from the infection. Another one in five babies who survive the infection will be affected permanently. Early-onset GBS infection can cause problems such as cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, and serious learning difficulties.

Rarely, GBS can cause infection in the mother – for example, in the womb or urinary tract, or – more seriously – an infection that spreads through the blood, causing symptoms to develop throughout the whole body (sepsis).

Preventing early-onset GBS infection

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has published guidance for healthcare professionals on preventing early-onset GBS infection.

If you’ve previously had a baby with GBS, your maternity team will either monitor the health of your newborn baby closely for at least 12 hours after birth, or treat them with antibiotics until blood tests confirm whether or not GBS is present.

Late-onset GBS infection

Late-onset GBS infection develops seven or more days after a baby is born. This isn’t usually associated with pregnancy. The baby probably became infected after the birth – for example, they may have caught the infection from someone else.

GBS infections after three months of age are extremely rare.

Breastfeeding doesn’t increase the risk of GBS infection and will protect your baby against other infections.

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