Grieving mum wants all pregnant women to be tested for Strep B
A mother in the UK is petitioning for routine Strep B tests after her daughter was stillborn nine days after her due date.
Referred to as Group B Streptococcus, Group B Strep or GBS, it is a normally occurring bacterium that up to a third of all men and women carry in their intestines without symptoms and roughly a quarter of women of childbearing age carry in their vagina at any one time. It is an organism that lives on another without harming it. For most women there are no symptoms of carrying group B strep bacteria.
However, where Group Strep B can become problematic is when the bacteria passes from a labouring woman to her baby. It is one of the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies.
And this is something Kim Poulton was unaware and uniformed about when giving birth to her fourth child.
"It was only when we received all the results back following Faiths death that I found out I had Group B Strep. My results showed I was heavily colonized with Group B Strep, as was my urine, placenta and Faiths swabs. I will be treated for Group B Strep in future pregnancies, but have had to wait for my baby to die to find out I even had it!!! I am now passionate about raising awareness of the possible risks of Group B Strep."
Strep B, which is not routinely tested in Ireland as well as the UK, can be prevented with prompt and appropriate treatment. However, there are usually no symptoms of carrying Group B Strep, therefore the only way to find out you have it is to be tested.
Through Change.org, Kim has created a petition with the hope to make Strep B tests part of every pregnant women's check up.
"It is my hope and mission that every pregnant woman be routinely tested around 37 weeks with the GBS-specific ECM (enriched culture medium) test for Group B Strep carriage and if found colonized be offered antibiotics in labour. Until such screening is offered, every pregnant women should be told about GBS during an antenatal appointment and informed of where to be tested privately" she added.
You can read the whole petition and give your support here.