Thursday 27 July 2017

Group B Strep with Strepelle

July is Group B Strep Awareness month and also marks the month where I turn 35 weeks pregnant; before this point, testing for GBS is not accurate in predicting if I will be carrying GBS at the time of labour.

What is Group B Strep?
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria of which can be present in our bodies and usually doesn't cause any harm. It is thought that around 1 in 5 pregnant women in the UK carries GBS; unfortunately testing for this is not routine within the NHS.
GBS isn't something I can say I'd ever heard of before, despite being on my second pregnancy. I started to do my own research and honestly couldn't believe that testing for this is not routine in the UK during pregnancy. For the majority of cases, many of the babies that come into contact with GBS are unaffected, but a small amount are.

Group B Strep Symptoms in Babies
Approximately two thirds of GBS cases are early onset within the first seven days of a babies life. Symptoms can include the following:
- Poor feeding
- Grunting
- Being unresponsive and floppy
- Low or high temperature
- Fast or slow heart/breathing rates
- Irritability
The remaining one third of GBS cases are late onset in the form of sepsis and meningitis. An alarming statistic is that 10 per cent of babies born with GBS will die of the infection and 20 per cent of those who survive will be permanently affected.
Strepelle Group B Strep Test
When I was contacted by Strepelle to test our their DIY GBS Test I instantly jumped at the chance. Nothing is more important to me than my babies well being and if there is any way for me to find out if something is wrong before anything drastic happens then I am all for it.
I never really knew how GBS was tested for and I figured it may involve some sort of swab being taken. When the test arrived, I had a read through and it turns out that two separate swabs are needed; a vaginal and a rectal one. This in itself surprised me and caught me slightly off guard; at this point in pregnancy I was concerned on how on earth I would get myself into the position to take these and make it out unscathed!
What also slightly daunted me was the sheer seriousness of the test; the swabs alone were scary as you weren't able to touch certain parts of them and then making sure everything was correctly filled out and labelled before being sent off.
One thing I will advise of which isn't mentioned in the instructions, is that there is a cap on the tube of which you need to insert your sample into. It is not very noticeable and the instructions make no mention of it, so please make sure that this is removed. It took me a while to realise this after trying to jam the swab into the tube!
Luckily, I managed to obtain both samples for the swabs and sent them back in the post in the Freepost envelope that Strepelle provide. You can opt to receive your results via email, post or text message - I opted for text message as I figured this would be one of the quicker options. As soon as Strepelle receive your test they will run your test and provide your results within three working days.
If your result is negative, then that is great! If it is positive, then you will need to contact your GP or midwife as soon as possible to advise them.
 I would highly recommend this DIY test if you are concerned about GBS - you can go ahead and purchase it here. As July is GBS Awareness month, you can now obtain the kit until the end of this month for slightly less at £35.00 including P&P.

* Disclaimer * I was kindly sent a Strepelle Group B Strep Test to review (RRP £39.99). All thoughts and opinions are that of my own.

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