I was looked after with such care and compassion by the doctors and midwives. My daughter Meah was born early the next morning, and passed away an hour after birth on 4th February 2009. The following days and weeks went by in a blur for everyone concerned. After registering her birth and death in the morning, I met with my consultant in the afternoon, who had ordered a post mortem as is standard with any loss of a baby over 24 weeks.
The results showed that Meah and my waters were infected with GBS and this had caused my premature labour and her premature death. I now fully understood how impacting GBS could be.
Finding out I was expecting again the following year was both a wonderful and an incredibly scary time. The same consultant took wonderful care of me, and I had weekly infection blood tests and swabs taken, twice weekly scans to measure my amniotic fluid, open access to the maternity unit and, thankfully, after the most anxiety provoking 9 months of my life, my fifth and final baby was born, healthy and completely spoilt.
In my case testing would not have saved Meah, but a vaccine that could have prevented GBS in the first place might have
. The experience opened my eyes to the tragic consequences of being GBS positive in pregnancy.
Testing for GBS is recommended in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy as your carriage rate can fluctuate, and most women labour after 37 weeks. However if you are prone to premature labour, or simply worried about GBS, you should discuss this with your midwifery team. They can advise you about NHS options, or private tests you can pay for.