GBS, or Group Beta Streptococcus, is an colonization that affects many people and around 1/4 to 1/3 of women in the third trimester of pregnancy. Many people carry this bacteria in their digestive systems with no problem, but it can cause complications in a newborns of mothers who are colonized.
Mothers are often tested for Group B Strep in the third trimester of pregnancy and if they are positive, are usually given antibiotics during labor. I tested positive for GBS in my fourth pregnancy, though I eradicated it and tested negative before the birth, and then I tested negative in my next pregnancy (thus the title of the post). As there is a very small chance of serious and life threatening complications for baby in GBS positive moms (even with antibiotic use), I wanted to share what worked for me in hopes it would help other women avoid this risk to baby. This is just my experience and is not intended to be medical advice.
For more information on the risks associated with GBS and with antibiotic treatment, check out this well-researched article or this one from Mothering.com. This page provides a compilation of a lot of research on GBS and antibiotic use.
Natural Remedies for GBS
GBS certainly has the potential to be serious and shouldn’t be ignored, but antibiotics carry their own risks and can cause problems as well. Especially with all the emerging research about the transfer of gut flora and immunity from mother to baby during delivery, it would definitely be preferable not to take antibiotics if it can be avoided (especially if testing positive for GBS can be avoided in the first place).
The good news is, at least in my case, GBS can be avoided with natural remedies.
As GBS occurs naturally in the digestive tract for some people, I felt it was important to treat the digestive tract as a whole when working to eliminate GBS instead of just focusing on the genital area. A probiotic rich diet is beneficial for overall health,and I also found it helpful in getting rid of GBS.
When researching, I found the following advice for treating/preventing GBS:
- Eating a probiotic rich diet including things like Kombucha, Water Kefir, Yogurt, Sauerkraut and other fermented foods to help create a healthy gut environment.
- Taking a probiotic supplement and using it vaginally (I used this one orally daily and vaginally every day or two).
- Consuming garlic capsules or raw garlic cloves daily.
- Consuming Coconut Oil for its naturally antiviral properties.
- Using plain organic yogurt vaginally to help balance bacteria.
- Taking Vitamin C daily.
- Using a Chlorhexidine rinse vaginally before and during labor. (This is the usual protocol) This was a last resort for me and I was glad to not have to use it, as the emerging evidence about the bacterial transfer during labor brings this practice into question.
- Consuming raw apple cider vinegar daily and using it as a diluted rinse.
What I Did That Worked
With my fourth pregnancy, I tested positive at 35 weeks for GBS and then at 37 weeks was tested again and the result was negative. What I did during that time (and what a friend did successfully after testing positive very early in her pregnancy) that worked:
- Took 2,000 mg of Vitamin C in divided doses each day
- Consuming 2 cloves of raw garlic each day by finely mincing them and drinking them down with water
- Consuming at least 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil daily for its antibacterial/antiviral properties
- Using a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse vaginally each day
- Taking 6+ probiotic capsules a day
- Consuming large amounts of fermented foods and drinks
- Using a garlic clove vaginally for one night (anecdotal evidence supports that this is very effective)
In my next pregnancy to prevent GBS to begin with, I followed a protocol that is recommended by a midwife I know (and she is yet to have a case of GBS when a mom is following this):
- Taking a high quality probiotic daily (I took 2-4 of these) and occasionally using them vaginally.
- Taking 2,000 mg of Vitamin C daily
- Taking garlic capsules daily
Have you ever had GBS while pregnant? What did you do? Share below!