Group B Strep (GBS), or Group B Streptococcus is a bacteria that lives in 25% of healthy women in the vagina or rectum. It is rare to occur (1 in 2000 babies in the US), but it is possible for a woman to pass this on to her baby during birth. Of women who test positive for GBS, 1 out of 200 of these babies who aren’t treated with antibiotics will get GBS.
The most common complications from GBS are sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Although it is unlikely the baby will develop GBS even if you test positive, it is important to try to prevent yourself from getting GBS to avoid any complications.
The standard treatment for GBS is to give women IV antibiotics during labor. The first choice of antibiotics is penicillin. However, if you are allergic like me, you would have to be treated with alternative antibiotics. Vancomycin is the next choice after penicillin. Clindamycin and Cefazolin are also used as an alternative to penicillin.
What is the problem with these drugs? First of all, all antibiotics destroy all bacteria in your gut, good and bad. This creates the ideal environment for the “bad” bacteria to take over. Why does this matter with pregnancy? Science shows us that babies born vaginally take on their mother’s gut bacteria. If the mother’s “good” gut bacteria is wiped out prior to birth, the baby will take on the balance of bacteria existing in her gut.
The worst case scenario is if the woman is given drugs like Vancomycin, Clindamycin and Cefazolin. These drugs have the ability to destroy your mitochondrial DNA, or the ability of your cells to repair themselves. This is permanent damage. This was why I wanted to avoid getting Group B Strep at all costs.
The following are great natural alternatives to preventing Group B Strep in the first place and treating the infection. I am happy to report that I tried many of the methods below and I tested negative for Group B Strep! Make sure you talk to your doctor about any changes you implement.
Take Vitamin C
Take a whole food based Vitamin C powder like acerola or camu camu for at least 2 weeks prior to taking the Group B Strep test. Work with your doctor, midwife or health professional to determine the appropriate amount for you to take.
Eat Raw Garlic
Eat at least 1-2 cloves of raw garlic every day for 2 weeks prior to the test. If you are able to stomach eating more, that is great! Garlic is naturally anti-bacterial. One method that is easier to get garlic down is mincing it small and swallowing it with a glass of water, preferably with a full stomach. You could also put the minced cloves on a slice of buttered bread which is delicious. I like mixing a clove or two with a little raw honey and rinsing it down.
Insert a Whole Garlic Clove
I was a little lazy about this method. I didn’t start inserting a garlic clove vaginally until a week before the test. I would recommend doing this every day for 2 weeks before the test. I peeled a whole garlic clove, then took a needle and thread to string through the garlic clove. I tied knots at either end so I would be able to pull out the clove easily.
Take a Probiotic
I took a probiotic daily throughout pregnancy and prior to conceiving. I took 2 pills a day of Bio-Kult. I then gradually increased my dose to 6 pills a day prior to the Group B Strep test. 2 weeks before the test, I increased my dosage to 3 pills a day for 2 days straight, then 4 pills a day for 2 days straight and so on. Other great probiotics include Prescript Assist, Femdophilus, In-Liven (not gluten free) and FastTract.
Insert a Probiotic
I started inserting a probiotic vaginally (Bio-Kult) 2 weeks prior to the test. However, I heard if you continue doing this through the last few days before the test, the test could give a false positive. I stopped inserting a probiotic pill 4 days before the test.
Apply Kefir or Yogurt
I did not try this method myself, but I hear it is effective. You can apply grass fed kefir or yogurt vaginally every night for 2 weeks. This method is a little messy, so that is the main reason I opted not to do this. Applying good bacteria from the yogurt or kefir may help to balance your vaginal flora.
You can take an apple cider vinegar (ACV) bath daily for 2 weeks prior to the test or apply a diluted rinse of ACV with water vaginally every day. I didn’t try this method, but it is worth trying. It will not hurt you.
Drink Tea with Ingredients from Your Kitchen!
I asked my acupuncturist what I should do to prevent getting Group B Strep. She advised me to drink a tea with orange peel, ginger and green onion up until the test. I started drinking this tea every day 2 weeks prior to the test.
- A few pieces of an organic orange peel with the white and orange skin
- One organic green onion, chopped in half with the white and green
- One inch of organic ginger root, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 large organic garlic clove, sliced (optional)
- ¼ organic lemon with the rind intact (optional)
- 2 tablespoons red raspberry leaf tea leaves
- ½ tsp organic nettle leaf
- Raw local honey to taste (optional)
- Coconut milk, grass fed whole milk or cream to taste (optional)
- Fill a small pot with 2 cups filtered water.
- Put tea leaves into a tea ball. This step is optional as neither nettle nor red raspberry leaf tea helps to prevent or treat group B strep. However, I drink red raspberry leaf tea as a uterine tonic and nettle tea to boost my Vitamin K and iron levels. It is not necessary to combine this with the other ingredients, but it kills two birds with one stone.
- Place remaining ingredients in the pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Steep for at least 5-10 minutes or until cool.
Hepar Sulph and Streptoccocinum are used to treat and prevent Group B Strep homeopathically. However, I insist that you work with a trained homeopath to determine the correct course of treatment for you. Homeopathy is very individualized, so these remedies may or may not work for you. They are strong homeopathic antibiotics, so it is VERY important that you work with a homeopath who knows what they are doing.