Our Medical Advisory Panel’s recommendations for stopping GBS infections in newborn babies are the same for home births as for hospital births – women whose babies are at higher risk of developing early-onset GBS infection should be offered intravenous antibiotics from the start of labour until delivery.
If you want a home birth with intravenous antibiotics during labour until your baby is born, do discuss this with your medical team. It may be possible for your midwife to give you IV prescribed for you by your GP. However, this is not widely available. Some areas won’t permit IV to be given at home – there is a small risk that you would get a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics and, obviously, there is no intensive care unit nearby. The risk is small and the antibiotics make the chance of the baby developing group B Strep infection much smaller, but your health professionals may be anxious. Of course, around 20-25% of women having home births are likely to be carrying GBS when they give birth without knowing it.
Can I take oral antibiotics instead?
Oral antibiotics are not recommended for women for GBS carriage during pregnancy or labour. There’s no evidence that they prevent GBS infections in babies.
If you want a home birth and it’s not possible for you to have the IV antibiotics at home, you may wish to consider having intramuscular antibiotics. However, our Medical Advisory Panel does not recommend these instead of the IV antibiotics during labour, but they may be better than nothing if that really is the only alternative.