I first became aware of strep b whilst pregnant with Eliot back in 2013. With it being my first pregnancy and experiencing a couple of scares I was an anxious expectant mum and read up on everything I could.
If you're not sure about group b strep and what it can mean for your baby here's why Strepelle advise on taking the test...
'Most pregnant women who carry GBS bacteria have healthy babies. However, there is a risk that GBS can pass to your baby during childbirth, creating serious and life threatening complications or causing lifelong disabilities'.
Knowing that group b strep could be potentially life threatening to my baby, towards the end of my pregnancy I asked my midwife about it and was told there was no testing. I was not aware of any self testing kits available at that time, so at that point I had to hope for the best!
As it turned out I ended up needing IV antibiotics every four hours whilst in labour with Eliot as my waters were the first thing to go and he wasn't delivered within 24 hours, which meant he was more susceptible to infection. If group b strep was present without my knowledge, the antibiotics obviously protected Eliot.
During my second pregnancy I was aware Strepelle was available to do a home test so when the opportunity arose to try it out and review I of course said yes. Even though I have felt much less anxious during my second pregnancy, group b strep has still been something that was on my mind and I had been thinking about purchasing Strepelle.
You can do the test at home from 35 weeks of pregnancy. You're advised to do the test and post it between a Monday and Thursday so your sample doesn't lose strength over the weekend period. I took samples and posted on a Wednesday when I was 35+4, I'd read a couple of other reviews by bloggers which I found helpful before I read the instructions in the kit.
The kit contains two sealed swabs & tubes, instructions, a form to fill out with your details and a stamped, addressed envelope bag to send your samples back to be tested in the lab.
From reading the other reviews I was already aware that one swab was a vaginal swab and the other a rectal swab. The instructions give you very clear directions along with diagrams, with how to take the samples which I found very easy to follow.
I must admit it wasn't the easiest thing for me trying to collect samples with a big bump acting as an obstruction but certainly not unmanageable!
Besides I would much rather take the samples myself rather than have someone else do it if the test was available on the NHS!
One thing I wouldn't have known if I hadn't read one of the reviews prior to taking my samples was that there are stoppers in the top of the tubes that you need to place the swab in once you have taken it. These need to be removed before you can put your sample in. It's not mentioned in the instructions and I probably would have ended up trying to force the swab in before realising I needed to remove the stopper.
Once both samples were taken I filled out the 'Test Order Form' and stuck labels with an identification number onto each tube before placing in the envelope.
On the form you can select which way you'd prefer to receive your results, either by email, text or post. I opted for text message as I felt this would be the fastest way to receive my results.
If the result for strep b is positive then you are also sent a letter so you can share with your midwife/doctor and make a plan for your labour.
I felt a sense of relief that I'd been able to take a test for group b strep and did not worry about whether or not the results would be positive. I was pleased that I would know one way or another and be able to plan for IV antibiotics if needed.
You usually receive result within 5 working days but this wasn't the case for me so I contacted strepelle via the email address on the half of the test order form you keep with your unique identification number. It advises you to get in touch if you haven't had your results back within 7 days.
I received a very speedy response apologising for the delay and with a letter attached confirming that my results were negative which was fantastic news!
Strepelle has definitely giving me peace of mind about group b strep, enabling me to have one less thing to worry about! I certainly recommend it, it's really a no brainer when the possible outcomes of passing group strep b to your baby are so worrying!
The test is £39.99 and available to purchase here.
* I was sent the Strepelle test kit in exchange for a review. All thoughts & opinions are mine