Thursday, February 16, 2017

Antibiotics don't actually help GBS- but your doctor will make you take them

So at about 36weeks pregnant, your doctor makes you take a vaginal/rectal swab the GBS test (group b strep).  You aren't given a choice about taking it or not taking it.  You aren't given true informed consent about the implications of the test.  You aren't even given heads up weeks or months before the test to help create a strong immune system in pregnancy.

Test comes back, and if you are positive, you are told you will have to have IV (intravenous) antibiotics during labor.  If you were planning a natural birth, that goes out the window.  You are told you need to get to the hospital earlier than later to receive 1-2 doses of antibiotics prior to baby being born.  The doctor does not give you a handout that even gives you the actual chances of your baby becoming infected with GBS in labor/at birth, which according to one of the latest Cochrane studies, "About one in 2000 newborn babies have GBS bacterial infections, usually evident as respiratory disease, general sepsis, or meningitis within the first week".  But the actual risk of a baby developing a serious, life-threatening GBS infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is 1 to 2%.

And did you know that "Late-onset disease develops through contact with hospital nursery personnel and usually manifests in the first 3 months after birth. Up to 45% of health care workers carry the bacteria on their skin, and may transmit the infection to newborns."  Hospitals are one of the most dangerous places to give birth because of the numerous types of bacterium and viruses present.

So back to the part about being told you have to take antibiotics... are you given choices or are you told you "have to"?  Did you know that the latest studies show that giving routine antibiotics is not evidence-based, meaning that no good evidence shows it makes a significant difference?!  But here you are not given that information.  You are not even given the information about the harmful effects of antibiotics, which are infection for the site of injection, "severe maternal allergic reactions, increase in drug-resistant organisms and exposure of newborn infants to resistant bacteria, and postnatal maternal and neonatal yeast infections." (  Meanwhile millions of mothers and babies are given antibiotics when no conclusive evidence shows that it lowers the numbers of neonatal deaths due to GBS infection.

Why are you not given options with their risks and benefits- such as Hibiclens, which contains chlorhexidine, is the form that is typically used by midwives in the US or the natural immunotheraphy to lower the GBS colonization in your system?  Why are you not given your individual risk factors, such has how long has the bag of waters been opened in labor?  Why would child-protective services be called on someone if they declined antibiotics in labor?  

So many questions... have you thought of more?  Do you want to know your choices before you make your decision?  Do you want to know your risk factors and make an individual plan for yourself that is evidence-based and fully informed?  Is it okay for doctors to push pharmaceuticals on mothers and babies when evidence suggests its not the best way?  Why choose a system that does not support informed consent?  What work are you doing to get more information and not just accept what is given or told to you?

some sources:

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