Avoiding Strep B Infection is another third trimester concern. Group B Strep is a bacteria that's commonly found in the intestinal tract. It's also in your throat and commonly in the urinary tract and in the vagina. The problem is many Western medicine docs and a lot of hospitals have rules and regulations around Strep B Infection, because there can be complications that can cause problems with the baby's eyes if you deliver while you have active Group B Strep.
In the natural birthing community, we think that this concern is really overblown. Here is why; women are screened for Group B Strep sometime between week 35 and week 37 of pregnancy. Strep B infection is something that commonly comes and goes, is present at times and then not present at other times in the vagina and in the urinary and intestinal tracts of women. Depending on what's going on with your immune system, it can be there one day and gone the next.
The Standard Medical Model of care says that if you test positive for Strep B infection when you're tested sometime between week 35 and 37 of your pregnancy, you should be hooked up to an IV and you will receive IV antibiotics for the duration of your labor in the hospital. That's something the natural childbirth community wants to avoid at all costs because the antibiotics change your intestinal flora. They also affect the intestinal flora of your baby before it's even born. Antibiotics change the bacterial flora in your intestine and will often cause yeast overgrowth.
Antibiotics get rid of the bad bacteria in your intestines and in the rest of your body, but it also gets rid of the good bacteria.
Until the last 15 years or so, there was a belief that said if you avoid germs and you eliminate bacteria and viruses and if you wash your hands a lot and sanitize, then you can avoid germs, bad bacteria and viruses and prevent sickness.
The reality of this situation is that you actually have about 16 trillion cells in your body that have your DNA, and you have about 10 times as many bacteria, both good and bad, and yeast, both good and bad, and viruses that are both good and bad. Your intestinal flora is really a balance between good and bad bacteria, and maintaining a healthy balance is really what it's all about.
Your intestinal tract is your primary line of defense against disease. When you alter the bacterial flora in your intestines, you actually put yourself at risk for becoming sick. Your baby does not have an intestinal flora when it's born because it's been in a sterile environment inside of you. The first exposure that your baby has to any kind of bacteria or yeast is when it comes out of your vagina.
It is important that your baby be inoculated with your vaginal flora as it comes out through natural childbirth. Research is showing that a lot of issues like ADHD and even autism are caused at least in part by a problem with the intestinal flora of children.
If you want to make sure your child has the very best possible start in life, from an immunity point of view, you want to make sure that you have a natural birth and that your baby has the opportunity to be exposed to your natural bacteria and yeast flora.
Why? Because as your baby passes through your vagina, it will be inoculated with your flora. Then when you pass along colostrum and immunity to your baby through breastfeeding, you inoculate your baby and providing him with antibodies, so that he can process and develop very healthy intestinal flora.
Introducing antibiotics into your baby before he’s even had the opportunity to do any of that is not a good idea. We try to avoid having to be hooked up to IV antibiotics.
We go into all our reasons a lot more deeply in both our pregnancy video as well as our natural pregnancy and childbirth e-book. But there are some definite steps that you can take to make it less likely that you're going to test positive for Strep B infection.
If you do test positive for Strep B infection and you wish to have a hospital delivery, there are some tactics you can use, such as delaying going to the hospital as long as possible. The farther you are along in labor, the less likely you are to have interventions pushed on you; you will also be exposed to the IV antibiotics for a shorter amount of time and they will do less damage.