If you’re pregnant and expecting a baby, you might have heard about Group B Strep or GBS. More commonly known as Group B Strep, Group B Streptococcus is a natural bacterium found in the birth canal and digestive system which can be passed onto baby during labour. It’s estimated that one in five pregnant women in the UK will unknowingly be carriers of Group B Strep and there’s a small risk that they can pass this onto their babies during delivery. If not treated, Group B Strep can be seriously harmful for newborns.
Currently, Group B Strep isn’t routinely tested for throughout pregnancy in the UK by the NHS unless there is a known risk. Whilst it’s not an STI or harmful to most carriers, it can be a seriously harmful condition for little ones and it’s estimated that one newborn per day develops a Group B Strep infection. Whilst I’m not going to go into the harrowing details of what the condition can present like in a newborn, in most serious cases, it can be fatal. Thankfully, there’s help at hand in the form of a quick and easy home-to-laboratory test, Strepelle, which can be purchased during late pregnancy to rule out such conditions.
Strepelle was created in partnership with midwives to make laboratory testing for Group B Strep more available and convenient in the UK. The quick and easy home-to-laboratory test allows for the bacterium to be identified during late pregnancy (35 weeks+) so that the Mum can be treated with antibiotics during labour and in turn protecting baby from the risk of infection.
The home-to-laboratory test can be purchased for £39.99 and contains all you need to perform the test in the comfort of your own home; instructions, two swabs and a pre-paid envelope.
How to take the test
Once the test kit is received and the lady is 35 weeks pregnant or more, the test is viable. Inside the test kit is two swabs that come sterile packed and must only be opened when you’re ready to test. Once you’ve washed your hands and ready to take the test, one swab is inserted gently into your rectum and a sample is collected. This swab is then put back into the tube and the lid is securely fastened. The other swab is taken from inside your vagina and again, put back into the tub with the lid securely fastened.
You will need to complete the consent form and attach both stickers from the consent form onto the tubes (used for identifying purposes) and then pop them all back into the pre-paid envelope for testing.
The results will arrive within 3 days of receipt of the sample, either by letter, text, or email (whichever is best for the receiver). If a woman is a carrier, all she needs to do is let her doctor or midwife know, and antibiotics will be administered intravenously during labour.
Using Strepelle to test for Group B Strep was quick, easy and painless. It’s recommended that you take the test between Monday and Thursday to allow for quick processing of the results (you don’t want the swabs to sit in the postbox over the weekend or Bank Holiday as this can lead to inaccurate results) but once sent off, the results come back really quickly.
Thankfully, my test results came back to me via email within two days and were negative which is a relief. It’s peace of mind knowing that I don’t have the bacteria that could harm my newborn in delivery. The cost of the test is expensive but lets face it, it’s worth the peace of mind knowing that you have done everything you need to, to prepare for the safe arrival of your unborn child.
To find out more about Strepelle, there’s lots of useful information over on their website which you can access here.
Disclosure: I was sent the test kit in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All words and photographs are my own.