Important Message for Mommies to Be: GBS Awareness

I haven’t really talked publicly about this much, but for the past couple years my husband and I have been trying to start a family. It’s been a long and difficult path, and I’ll share the whole story about our journey soon. But I wanted to share some information with all the mommies-to-be out there because my Cincy Chic team recently connected with (and went to NYC with!) the local experts at Meridian Bioscience to learn about a special test pregnant women can get to detect some really important things you should know about your little baby bean before you give birth!

I guess their message hit me more since we’ve been trying so hard to just GET pregnant, and I couldn’t imagine putting its little life at risk when it could have been easily been detected by a simple test… which, as just the cherry on top, happened to be developed by local experts!! I was even just talking to Shari Goldsmith, our “Coach Shari” columnist on Cincy Chic about this GBS test, and she said her son actually was affected with that, and she wished she had taken the test! What a small world!!

So, I wanted to share an article that Meridian Bioscience wrote about GBS awareness and I hope you’ll share this with the mommies to be in your life! Have a great week with your family this week and happy holidays!


When Tests Get It Wrong

There are few things more devastating than losing a child — especially when it could have been prevented. The tiny lives lost each year from infection with Group B Streptococcus can be saved by screening and appropriate treatment.

But sometimes things go wrong.

Group B Strep (GBS) is just one of the many bacterial communities that colonize a healthy adult. GBS bacteria live harmlessly in somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of healthy women. However, when the bacteria are transmitted to a baby during birth, the newborn can become seriously ill. Fortunately, it is rare for an infant to become infected with GBS, but when it happens, it is all too often deadly.

Negative Test, False Reassurance
Stephanie Worthy was tested for GBS 33 weeks into her pregnancy and the test was negative. Her son, Jaxton, was born on the evening of December 7, 2011. He was completely healthy and sailed through all the newborn tests with high marks. Six hours later he was in neonatal intensive care for observation. Four days later he was dead. “They didn’t diagnose him [with GBS] for eight hours,” Worthy explains, presumably because her GBS test was negative.

RaeAnne Latimore also tested negative for GBS, at 35 and a half weeks. Her son, Blake, was born at 5:30 in the afternoon of January 6, 2012, one month after Jaxton Worthy was born. At one o’clock the next morning Blake was making strange grunting sounds and Latimore couldn’t rouse him for feeding. She became concerned, but the nurse reassured her that the noises were normal. Latimore insisted that they look Blake over in the nursery. Half an hour later the doctor came in to tell Latimore that Blake was seriously ill. At 8:37 that morning, “our little fighter gave up his fight,” says Latimore.Ā  “They ruled out GBS because of my negative test,” she explains, but a nurse practitioner who had been on the team that tried to save him thought the symptoms looked like GBS and asked the pathologist to check for it in the autopsy.”

She was right. GBS infection was the cause of Blake’s death. “Testing negative doesn’t mean you are negative,” warns Worthy.

Better Tests
“False negatives can be a problem,” explains Amanda Smith, medical technologist in the microbiology department at The Pathology Lab in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “We were researching why even with patients who were getting good prenatal care, mothers who tested negative were sometimes delivering babies that were infected,” says Smith. In January of this year, The Pathology Lab switched from the old culture-based test to the illumigeneĀ® GBS test from Meridian Bioscience, Inc. because the molecular test is more sensitive, according to Smith. As more labs switch to the more sensitive molecular test, perhaps outcomes like Blake’s and Jaxton’s will become even more uncommon.


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