A second west Wiltshire mum has called for routine testing for the bacterial infection Group B Strep after being diagnosed with it during her pregnancy.
Chelsea Carpenter, 19, of The Crescent, Westbury, was diagnosed with GBS and given antibiotics to fight the condition, which is the most common cause of life-threatening infection to newborn babies.
Miss Carpenter, who is on maternity leave from her job as a manager at McDonald’s in Trowbridge, gave birth to daughter, Izzabella, on December 27, two weeks early.
She feels strongly that screening for GBS should be mandatory and free on the NHS.
She said: “Lots of mothers have Group B Strep but aren’t tested for it. It can be very serious and give newborn babies meningitis. It’s just a five-minute swab test.”
Miss Carpenter was diagnosed with the infection when she was seven months pregnant after doctors discovered she had contracted pre-eclampsia.
She said: “I would advise women to ask their midwife about where they can have the test done.
“I would have been devastated if I hadn’t found out – it’s a matter of life and death.”
The danger of the condition was previously highlighted by Trowbridge couple Nadia Skinner and Tim Mason, whose baby, Keeley Eva, developed GBS meningitis after becoming infected during birth. She died in August, aged nine weeks.
NHS Wiltshire does not run a routine screening programme for GBS and tests have to be sought privately.
If a baby becomes infected it can lead to breathing problems, blood infections and in more serious cases, meningitis and blood poisoning.
In some cases GBS can be dormant, so tests can be clear at the start of pregnancy. The national Group B Strep Support group backs calls for more information on GBS and routine testing.
Miss Carpenter, a former Matravers School pupil, had to stay in hospital for nine days after giving birth to 5lb 1oz Izzabella at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
She thanked her mother and birthing partner, Anne Carpenter, 40, for her help.
“During the pregnancy she was brilliant. When I needed to go to hospital she was always there with me. I really couldn’t have asked for more,” said Miss Carpenter.
“I can’t really remember a lot about the birth because I was knocked out,” she said.
“They rushed me in for an emergency c-section but they didn’t have enough time and she was born within 13 minutes of arriving at the hospital. I’m getting back on my feet now and I’ve got plenty of support from my family.”