Preventing Group B Strep Naturally in Pregnancy

Disclaimer -  This post is not intended to give medical advice; I am only sharing what I have found through research.

All information found here is from personal research. At the university, I studied public health science/pre-nursing (e.g. chemistry, nutrition, physiology, biology and health classes, etc.) and did public health research for the World Health Organization.

I've also had a natural interest/affinity towards all things organic, natural, and health-related since a pre-teen.  Therefore, in all my study and learning, I feel confident in my ability to grasp the principles that govern and guide the health of our bodies, even at chemical levels.

Why Researching Health is Important to Me Now More Than Ever
In my last pregnancy, antibiotics were used during and after labor and birth. However, during this time, and in the many months after, I became devastatingly and chronically sick, so naturally, I began researching like crazy as to why. I desperately wanted answers because I felt like my valuable and exciting role as "mommy" and my role as a wife struggled with a devastated immune system.

I hope to help you obtain a little bit personal power from gaining some knowledge and insight today.

What is Group B Strep (GBS)?
Streptococcus is a gram-positive streptococcus bacteria. It is considered a regular part of our gut flora. When it moves to other areas of our body, it can become a health hazard, especially for the pregnant, the elderly, or the immunocompromised.

For pregnant women, the biggest health concern is when GBS has migrated into the genitourinary (a.k.a. vaginal and urinary tracts) areas. GBS in the urinary tracts causes a risk for pre-term labor and death in the unborn child. It can lead to urinary tract infections, or spread to the kidneys and into the mother's blood, and then passed to the fetus through the umbilical cord, sometimes causing stillborn deaths or sepsis in the baby.

Before birth, a baby is protected from GBS in the vaginal canal by the mucus plug. GBS in the vaginal canal, then, only becomes a concern during labor and birth, when the child can come in contact with it passing through the birth canal. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend the administration of intravenous antibiotics during labor and birth to all GBS positive (+) mothers.

Group B strep positive mothers risk transmitting GBS to their babies if they

a) show signs of infection (e.g. fever over 100 degrees) during labor,
b) labor more than 18 hours past the rupture of membranes (a.k.a water breaking),
c) labor and birth prematurely (before 37 weeks) or
d) have frequent cervical checks, especially after their membranes rupture (excessive cervical checks push GBS towards the cervix and amniotic fluids, thus, closer to baby).

In these more critical situations, antibiotics can significantly reduce the risk of GBS transmission, but not entirely.

The following articles further illustrate the rates and risks babies have becoming GBS infected born to GBS+ mothers. I encourage you to read them.

Antibiotics administered intravenously during labor and birth is not to be taken lightly. Little or no studies have been done as to the short- and long-term side-effects on both mother and baby after receiving antibiotic drugs (a.k.a mycotoxins that kill).  Administering antibiotics as standard procedure is a concern because of the increasing rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including some resistant strains of GBS. More holistic, less invasive ways to prevent GBS transmission to the baby exist.

If you are a GBS+ pregnant mother, here are some less invasive ways you can avoid spreading GBS to your child.

Practical Prevention of GBS in pregnancy and labor

Others have blogged on natural ways to prevent GBS going into labor and birth. I'll also invite you to read through this information and consider what may apply and be helpful to you.

In addition to the above insights, here are some practical ways I feel, after doing my research, may help you and I prevent GBS problems during pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Before that, let's review the three primary causes of imbalance in our bodies, leading to disease, sickness, and general unwellness. These three things are

I wrote a more in-depth post about these three things here.

An imbalance in one or more of these three above areas will lead to an imbalance everywhere in our bodies. Therefore, it is logical to restore proper balance in our bodies for health and wellness; we would focus our efforts on fortifying these three areas.

As pregnant women, pregnancy hormones further weaken our immunity, so we have need of reinforcing our health even more. In doing so, we protect the health and development of the baby, too, a win-win situation.

GBS Prevention at Home 

1. Urinary Health - sustained through proper hydration and nutrition. Urinary health will prevent devastating effects of over-colonization of GBS in pregnancy since it prevents urinary tract infections, kidney infections and life-threatening situations for both mom and baby.

If the presence of GBS is in the urinary tract, there are some herbs* and foods with organic sulfur compounds. Organic sulfur is known to weaken and burst bacterial cell walls, killing bacteria naturally. You can incorporate these foods and herbs into your diet and make herbal teas (aiding in properly hydrating yourself).


Herbs* - Alfalfa, Comfrey, Dandelion, Echinacea, Fennel, GarlicKelp, Parsley, Peppermint, Sarsaparilla, Thyme, etc.

(I bold my favorites because these are often more available, easy to incorporate, are considered safe in moderate amounts, and are generous in other nutrients helpful during pregnancy.)

Foods - fish, eggs, cabbage, dried beans, nuts, radishes, brussel sprouts, wheat germ, lean meat, etc.

(Information from "The How To Herb Book: Let's Remedy the Situation" by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon, p. 143)

*Note: Many say to stay away from herbs as there is "no evidence" for their safe (and I'd like to add, no proof of their unsafe) use during pregnancy. However, all we ingest, be it food, herbs, or drugs, has a chemical effect on our bodies, for good or ill, and therefore must be used with wisdom and care. 

That said, herbs, as plant-based, are closer chemically to the healthiest foods that exist, than to artificially synthesized drugs often prescribed us. Herbs also naturally have a high vitamin, mineral, and other phytochemical content, placed there by a wise Creator, something which processed foods (we frequently eat) cannot boast of having.

2. Intestinal Health - Our guts are highly chemically sensitive environments, where 80 percent of our immunity resides. Therefore, it is imperative we protect our gut immunity with proper nutrition, hydration, and stress-management. Our guts connect to our endocrine system, the hormone regulating/producing system of our bodies. We can protect this immunity by

a. Hydration - especially drinking lots of de-chlorinated, purified water.

Water is the #1 most important nutrient for our bodies. Water carries nutrients to and waste away from all cells, flushes out toxins, and balances the pH levels in our bodies.

Consume one-half ounce to one ounce of clean water per pound of body weight. A person weighing 130 pounds would need between 65 ounces to 130 ounces of filtered water each day to stay properly hydrated. Physically active individuals and those in drier climates need closer to one ounce of water per pound of body weight, if not more.

b. Probiotics | Sourced from
1) a high quality, high potency supplement like this one and this one,
2) plain yogurt (sugary yogurts negate the power of the live cultures),
3) water kefir, and 4) other probiotic-rich foods.

c. Prebiotics (a.k.a. food for probiotics) | These include
1) whole, unprocessed, high-fiber foods (e.g. whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.) and
2) supplements** (e.g. psyllium fiberalfalfa tablets, etc.) Don’t forget to drink lots of water after taking fiber supplements.

d. Herbal Drinks/Teas | Gut-friendly herbs include most, if not all herbs (in proper dosages).
1) Alfalfa | tablets or tea
2) Chlorophyll | Green drink = 1 tsp. Chlorophyll + 1 c. Purified water
3) Garlic | capsules or raw
4) Ginger
5) Peppermint and
6) Oat straw

to name a few.

For more information as to why these herbs are so good, I recommend reading 
"The How To Herb Book: Let's Remedy the Situation" by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon.

For herbal teas, I recommend seeping freshly dried leaves instead of tea bags, for maximum nutrient benefits. If freshly dried herb leaves are not available, tea bags are okay. Drink herbal teas daily for maximum benefits.

e. Plant Oils | Consume only extra virgin, cold pressed oils. My favorites include 1) olive oil, and 2) coconut oil. Coconut oil, in particular, has natural anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibiotic properties. These oils will keep all gut and bodily tissues healthy and bile ducts lubricated. Also, many vitamins require healthy fats to be utilized by the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which are essential for optimal health and disease prevention.

f. Exercise | Regular physical activity strengthens and tones all muscles and tissues, including intestinal muscles and tissues, helping them work more efficiently.  A regular (moving), clean bowel is essential to a working immune system.

As pregnant women, we may have to modify our pre-pregnancy exercise routine (depending on how intense it was before and our doctor’s recommendations), but regular, moderate physical activity during pregnancy can do wonders for our physical, mental, and emotional health, not to mention our stamina during labor and birth.

Check with your healthcare provider as to what physical activities are appropriate for you.

g. Avoid Bowel Irritants - these include 1) too much caffeine, 2) chocolate, 3) refined sugars, 4) refined grains (processed foods in general), 5) refined salt, 6) avoidable pharmaceuticals, and 7) other harmful environmental chemicals that disrupt the sensitive bowel chemistry.

3. Vaginal Health see "Urinary Health" and "Gut Health" above; these three systems (intestinal, vaginal, and urinary) are interconnected, the health of one will affect the health of another. However, in addition to the above recommendations, you can also try

a. Probiotic-saturated Panty Liners - You can just take some plain yogurt and coat a panty liner with it before placing it in your lady undergarments. Use these daily or nightly before bed. (It will be cold at first but will quickly warm to your body temperature.)

See this blog post for additional ideas on how to protect and restore vaginal health naturally.

The practices outlined above should be safe enough to do anytime during your pregnancy when appropriately done. All are exceptionally useful and recommended during all of the third trimester, especially to avoid GBS complications. Always follow the recommended dosages prescribed on labels. Check with your healthcare provider if you are unsure about the safety of or use of any of these practices. Again, this information is not intended to replace professional medical advice.

GBS Prevention (to Ask For) at Medical Facilities

1. Request Minimal Cervical Checks - Why? If you are GBS+, the more cervical checks performed on you, the greater the chance GBS will be pushed up toward your cervix and amniotic fluid, and the greater the chance your baby can ingest it. Therefore, you can request minimal cervical checks from your OB or midwife on a Birth Preference Sheet and in your prenatal checkups. I would do both just so there is no room for doubt.

Make sure the on-staff nurses who attend your labor and delivery have a copy of the Birth Preference Sheet, also. After checking in at the hospital, go over your Birth Preference Sheet with the on-staff nurse attending your labor; either you or your birth partner can do this. Remember, a few cervical checks are necessary, but a surplus of them are not. If you feel like cervical checks are being performed unnecessarily, it is okay to ask to postpone cervical checks until you feel you are closer to being fully dilated, or until they are necessary.

If you have any further questions or insights, please feel free to post them in the comments below. 

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