Category Archives: first birth

Group B Strep: what is it?

July is Group B Strep awareness month.

I asked Oliver Plumb, Partnerships and Campaigns Officer for Group B Strep support, to summarise what women expecting their first child in the UK should know about Group B Strep.

Hi Oliver, can you tell us what Group B Strep is please?

Group B Strep is one of many bacteria which live normally in and on humans without causing any harm or symptoms. About 1 in 4 women will carry group B Strep bacteria.

Why should women who are preparing to give birth for the first time know about it?

Pregnant women should know about group B Strep because, if they are carrying the bacteria around the time they give birth, there’s about a 50% chance their baby will be exposed to it and, if they are, a 1-2% chance their baby falling seriously ill with meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia. If they know they carry group B Strep bacteria, they can have simple and safe antibiotics in labour which reduces the chance of infection by about 80-90%.

How can women know whether they carry the bacteria? Don’t they get tested as part of their routine antenatal care?

There are no symptoms associated with carrying group B Strep, so the only way to find out is to be tested. This isn’t done routinely on the NHS, as the UK National Screening Committee aren’t convinced screening would do more good than harm. We think their view is flawed, and overlooks widespread evidence from other countries that screening is simple, safe, and effective. For example, our rate (how many babies fall sick per 1000 babies born alive) of early-onset group B Strep infection is about 2.5x that of the United States, where they have been routinely screening all pregnant women since the early 2000s.

If a woman wants to get tested to see if she’s carrying group B Strep, she can do so privately for about £35. We have a curated list of reputable providers of the group B Strep test at

Once women get the results, what should they do? And what should happen?

Whether a woman gets a test result that’s positive or negative for group B Strep carriage, she should let her midwife or doctor know. If the result is positive, she’d be offered antibiotics in labour or when her waters break. This is usually Penicillin, so it’s very important for her to let her midwife or doctor know if she’s allergic to Penicillin as alternatives are available.

Thank you for your answers. Where can women find more information?

My pleasure, if anyone reading this wants more information they can have a read through our page on group B Strep and pregnancy at, email us on or call our Helpline on 0330 120 0796.

Perineal massage before birth. Is it worth it?

This is good summary of why perineal massage in the later stages of pregnancy for first-time mums-to-be is beneficial.


Thank you

This is a post to thank all the organisations and websites who helped me gather information to write Preparing to give birth for the first time.

All the references and links I mention in the book can be found here.

Thank you…



Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence



NHS Choices

Stripey Stork

Cochrane Library


Wiley online library

Babycentre UK

UK Fed is best

Twins UK


Care Quality Commission

Royal College of Midwives


Group B Strep Support

Royal College of Psychiatrists


PANDAS Foundation

Maternal OCD

Bipolar UK

The Miscarriage Association


Action on Pre-eclampsia


Women’s Aid

Broken Rainbow UK


Child bereavement UK


Samaritans UK

Rethink Mental Illness


The Little Heartbeats


Birthmark Support Group

Lullaby Trust

Parent-infant sleep lab at Durham University


The Breastfeeding Network

La Leche League


Go real

Bum deal

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

MASIC Foundation

Bladder and Bowel UK

Birth Trauma Association

Birth Tear Support

4th Degree Tear Support Group Facebook group

Living with Obstetric Fistula Facebook group


Unfold your wings Emma Jane Sasuru

PND and me Rosey Adams

Reaching Out Positive Motivation Hope Mark Williams

PND Daddy Tony

Dads in Mind