What is GBS? GBS (group B streptococcus) is a naturally occurring organism found in the human intestinal tract. Through migration it colonizes the rectum and vaginal tracts of many women.
Why does my midwife swab for GBS in pregnancy? At about 35-36 weeks gestation your care provider will do a vaginal/rectal swab to test for GBS. This is a standard protocol due to the fact that bacterial transmission to the newborn occurs during birth. If you are positive for GBS, it is protocol for hospitals and birth centers to give IV antibiotics during labor.
What can I do to prevent GBS colonization? Prophylactically there are measures women can take to prevent GBS colonization. Below I have listed some recommendations. These protocols can be used throughout pregnancy, especially in the third trimester!
- Avoid wearing thongs. Wearing 100% cotton underwear will keep the area dryer and less moist, which prevents bacteria from growing.
- Eat fermented foods. Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi- these are examples of good bacteria foods that help control and regulate the growth of bad bacteria.
- Take your probiotics. Probiotics in pregnancy are important for several reasons. Keeping your intestinal flora healthy is one of them!
- Cook with coconut oil. Known for its antibacterial properties, coconut oil can also be inserted vaginally and even used for lubrication during sex!
- Consume less sugar. Sugar feeds the yeast and bad bacteria in our bodies. Avoid eating too many foods that contain refined sugars.