Volume 5 Issue 4

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Abby's Magazine - Volume 5 Issue 4| Page 57 It's prac cally impossible to pick up a newspaper or magazine these days without coming across an ar cle on the importance of a healthy microbiome for our overall health. If you've been educa ng yourself about the microbiome, you've probably learned that an bio cs are one of the things that can have a nega ve impact on it. You may have also read that when young babies are exposed to an bio cs, it can increase their risk for eczema, allergies, and asthma in childhood, and even obesity and diabetes later in life. So, it's understandable that pregnant moms, and even some health care professionals, are concerned about an bio c overuse, and are ques oning the wisdom of universally giving an bio cs preventa vely in labor to women found to have GBS coloniza on during rou ne pregnancy tes ng. But as a mom, it's a confusing decision – take the chance on the low likelihood of your baby developing a serious GBS infec on if you don't do the an bio cs in labor, or take an an bio c that can harm baby's micro biome. This ar cle answers the numerous ques ons real mommas have sent to me, explains what GBS is, reviews the risks to baby if untreated, and will discuss the validity and safety of some of the common GBS tes ng "hacks" being used in pregnancy, as well as alterna ve methods of preven on and treatment. GBS is a complex issue, and while I can't give you "the answer to what you should do," because in truth, there is no one right answer, and much of what we know about the impact of an bio cs on the infant microbiome is s ll emerging, my hope is to give you enough informa on (this is a comprehensive blog!) to make the most educated decision possible that is also within your comfort zone. What is GBS? Let's start with the basics in case you're new to this issue. Group B Streptococcus (Streptococcus agalac ae), Group B Strep (GBS) in Pregnancy: or GBS for short, is one of the trillions of organisms that normally inhabit the human intes nal tract. By migra on from the intes nes, it colonizes the rectum, bladder, and vaginal tracts of many women and can thus be iden fied in cultures of combined rectal and vaginal swab samples. GBS doesn't seem to play a par cularly beneficial role in human health, nor, when kept in check by healthy gut flora, does it usually cause harm. Coloniza on in the mother doesn't mean you actually have an infec on; it just means the bacteria are present, which is the case for about 15% to 30% of pregnant women. What's the Big Fuss? When a pregnant woman is found to be colonized by GBS, as detected on lab tests, the risk goes up that she might pass the bacteria onto her baby. Most healthy babies will just develop their own coloniza on of the skin and gut as a result of contact with the mother's vaginal flora. However, a small percentage who get exposed, will become infected – meaning they get sick, some very sick, from the GBS – and that's what the fuss is about. In the 1970s GBS was recognized as a leading cause of serious infec ons in newborns including pneumonia, sepsis, and meningi s. Most bacterial transmission to the newborn occurs during birth via passage of the baby through the birth canal, or through bacteria that ascend the birth canal during a labor with ruptured membranes (broken "bag of waters"). Premature babies and babies of women with premature or prolonged rupture of membranes (PROM) are at higher risk of developing GBS infec on. GBS can also cross the membranes, so cesarean sec on is not protec ve and carries addi onal surgical risks to the mother. In the pregnant mom, GBS can also cause miscarriage, bladder, and uterine infec ons; it increases the risk of premature labor and premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and s llbirth. What's a Mom to do?

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