3rd Trimester and have Campylobacter... is this bad for baby? mixed information!

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I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant. Symptoms started on the 14th feb, didn't know what it was then, but had typical symptoms for it.  Went to the doc on the 16th.  Was severly dehydrated by this stage, my urine was brown!  The nurse whom I saw first, contacted the midwife and she said to put me on a drip, but when I saw the doc he said I didnt need it....huh?!! ok.  so he prescribed me antacids and nausea pills.  Said come back in 2 days with a specimen if I still have it.  I was in excruciating pain with cramps and braxton hicks every few minutes by that stage.  But home I went, to look after my 1yr old 3yr old, 9yr old and 11 yr old plus 7 day a week business. (luckily I'm just working from home now)

So I still had it really bad 2 days later, I hadn't eaten anything the whole time, just having fluids set off the cramps hence the dehydration.  Took in a specimen and saw another doc, who then gave me panadein and electrolytes and put me on a drip!  Feel much better now (this was yesterday) and have managed to eat something today.

Got a call tonight from the first doc with the test results but he didn't explain much. Just how you get it.  I've can't figure out how I got it. No one else in the household has it...yet cross fingers.  But no one has contracted it the same time as me, so not something I've eaten.  All I can think of is not washing my hands properly after changing a soiled nappy?

So it looks like I'm on the mend, but I've been googling it and some sites say that it's bad for the fetus - intrauterine infection of the fetus, abortion, stillbirth, or early neonatal death.  Not once did any of the docs, nurse or midwife want to check out the baby.  He seems to be moving fine, although not tonight....

From another site - In one case,Campylobacter infection at 28 weeks of gestation was associated with premature labour and delivery with subsequent neonatal sepsis and death. One other infant developed Campylobacter jejuni enterocolitis at 3 days of age. (thats scary as hell!)


Another site says antibiotic treatment is recommended for pregnant women nearing term.  No docs have suggested that.  Should I be on antibiotics

How would another Doctor or Midwife treat this situation?  Going of course from the first doc visit when we weren't sure what I had but I declared all the symptoms of campylobacter even down to the gooey stools! (tmi!)

0 likes, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    I wouldn’t rely on Dr Google for advice because it will make you worry more.  It gives very general information and does not take individual cases into account.

    Speak to your doctor about your worries.  Your doctor may not be concerned and that is why he/she has not checked your baby.  The fact that your baby was not moving the other night maybe for the simple reason that he was asleep!

    You could always of course see a different doctor and midwife and ask about antibiotic treatment.  However, if you are on the mend, you may not need antibiotics at all.

  • Posted

    Are you stool tested positive for Campylobacter jejunii? I can't see the timing of samples.

    If so, this is a very contagious bacterial infection for anyone around you.

    And very crampy painful.

    Hence chefs/cooks are forbidden to work at that time as the amount of bacteria one has to orally intake via rubbing a finger on a lip or touch food, touch a drink glass, is very low in order to get terribly sick. Highly pathogenic thing this bacteria in contrary to Salmonella. 10 Campylobacter bacteria in numbers, which is virtually nothing, and you are sick, 10 Salmonella and nothing happens..... as a housenumber example.

    Usually it clears up by itself over days or weeks.

    Only another stool test can clarify this!

    Usually this is actually mandatory to keep checked in Campylobacter infections until multiple times testing negative!

    Mostly you are managed symptomatically, keep the fluids up, even iv, do not stop diarrheoa (as it needs to come out), rarely antibiotics given,

    and extreme hygiene

    (e.g.touching tap not with fingers after wiping bum, but with a toilet paper,

    which get's thrown into toilet, to open tap in order to wash one's hands, or if it had no screw tap use elbow. Contamination with Campylobacter is so easily done and you have very young kids at home, who are at risk, too Kids can't cope with dehydration like an adult.

    Please be extremely careful and this is a proactive advice, not a panic advise.

    Wipe the surfaces of benches, taps, sinks, toilet seat, door handles with antibacterial wipes, It's extremely important to go overboard with Campylobacter. Don't care what others say. I am an ex-medical scientist and had Campylobacter infections myself and my family.)

    Now regarding the unborn.

    You really want to make sure this infection clears up as at birth a baby comes into contact with the gut biome of mum. Which is actually the good bit. Caesarian borns struggle with this missing 'infection' of gut bacteria from mum. Just it should not contain an access amount of pathogenic bacteria as it can make the vulnerable not fully immune system developed baby very sick. Babies who are nursed are not immune to everything, which is a constant misconception.

    Yet you should have developed Campylobacter antibodies by now,

    which are a kind of protection for your baby, but they are IgM class first, very big and not going into blood system yet. Only IgG are, which come later. IgM antibodies are formed from day 6 on, IgG from day 12 on, from now on in your case I guess.

    IgG will go via placenta to your baby, which is good, and into your breastmilk (yet most is digested like a protein, few IgG make it through mucosa into blood stream as a passive protection. It is not a guaranteed protection at all as so many people take it wrongly and go with colds to babies. Makes me mad, but that's another story)

    Please ask a gynaecologist how to go about a current Campylobacter infection and birth.

    The risk of MAYBE intrauterine infection now is given, but it is not an ALWAYS and high risk.

    Please really ask the right docs as I think not experienced docs have been involved so far.

    And Dr.Google (yet I can read without panic and very specifically due to my background) has saved my daughter's life btw. She would not have been diagnosed with a rare vascular disease if I didn't read 1000s of pages of studies. The outlook is bad, but one wants to know what is going on. Knowledge is power. I don't panic easily, so that works into my favour too. I rather know what is going on than being left in the dark.

    You must not go into panic, but I think it is fair enough to know about risks and especially about solutions.

    Solutions are key.

    You can be very diligent to wipe from front to back so that stool bacteria are physically not easily brought to your vagina area. Change underwear many times a day.

    Wash your hands well, desinfect surfaces, but think of the invisible contamination on tabs, that are possible. Underpants are a huge source of contamination, whatever they touch, could potentially make someone sick. So off they go into a plastic bag until washed and the bag thrown out and your hands again desinfected after handling underwear.

    Sorry, but Campylobacter, you are right, is no bacteria to play with, when very young children and babies are involved. A healthy adult will get no harm from them and can  manage conservatively with fluids and time.

    It depends on the how and when how terrible Campylobacter strike and I do not want to smooth talk this, YET please, do not panic, but be proactive in hygiene and it shall be fine.

    Get retested please in a week's time. And be relieved once your test comes back negative, it will come back negative, but the WHEN is the question.

    Find a good advice in a trusted gynaecologist.

    All all the best! I hope as writing this here, your Campylobacter is leaving your body for good.

  • Posted

    Hi, thank you for your responses!  I gave a specimen sample on the 19th and it came back yesterday (20th) as positive for campylobacter.  Since hearing this I have gone through and cleaned everything!  Luckily I have my own bathroom separate from the kids. 

    Update:  Am able to eat again and stools are thickening up, which puts my mind to ease a bit.  But the 2-5 day period in which someone can have it but not show symptoms is still on my mind, so not in the clear with the kids yet.  And continuing to be vigilant with everything.

    I received notification from the medical center this morning (21st) however that the bloods I did on monday show something not right with my liver.  So going back in next week for more bloods and possibly a scan.  But also may suggest being re-tested for campylobacter to be on the safe side.  So there's something else going on there now.  You know, they wouldn't have tested my blood if I had not suggested to the doctor when we weren't sure what was totally wrong, that we should rule out gallbladder infection.  The doc was quite surprised and said yes, you're right, goes hand in hand with pregnancy, we'll get you to do some bloods.

    I feel the doctors are too busy where we live, in a small rural area the only medical center for a 1hr drive north and 2 hour drive south.  They seem to just make a quick diagnosis and give you what you want.  The second doctor I saw, who signed off on the bloods was more thorough, but the first doc I saw, who was the only choice I had that day as everyone else was booked up and he was on-call was the same doctor who sent my elderly mother home one day after complaining about stomach pain to "see how you feel in the morning".  Well she lived rurally, about 45 mins from this town and in the morning she collapsed and banged her head on the bench on the way down, she had appendicitis!  She was then rushed to the main area hospital which was almost 2hrs drive away by ambulance!  She was very lucky.  And so was my brother-in-law, who went to this same doc, he had fallen over pig hunting and bent his knee backwards and was in terrible pain and feeling off colour, lots of swelling.  The doc also said, "go home and see how you feel in the morning"  Bro in-law spoke to his mum's friend who worked in doc reception about it and she said, that's not right, I'd go to Waikato (the main area hospital) so he did and they said if he had waited till morning he would have been dead from blood poisoning!   

    So this is why I'm so full of questions and doubts about these people at our local medical center, and reach out for more information!  Make my own diagnosis with information "Dr Google" has to offer!

    • Posted

      Not necessarily something else going on.

      Campylobacter infections can cause a hepatic lesion or inflammation of the liver. Hence the enzymes rise.

      (note: liver enzymes can also rise, if the blood was hemolytic, when red blood cells burst during taking blood or storage, too hot, too cold. When the serum looks 'reddish'. Our red blood cells have those enzymes inside and when they burst, set them free into serum, and has nothing to do with liver. A small lab note of 'haemolytic' serum is all it needs to make that suspicious and re-do the test)

      They would need to do a blood culture for this bug,

      also retest liver enzymes to see, how it was going now (also to get rid of sample mistake)

      and stool sample and see, if you needed antibiotic treatment.

      It is a big hassle for you with these distances! And having children. Hope you have a good family backup to be able to do those retestings.

      It is peace of mind to be monitored, too.

      If they needed to jump in or not. You don't want to just wait around. Blood taking is not a big issue and those routine tests are actually quite cheap.

      Maybe they will do an ultrasound of your liver and also test the bilirubin level to see, if there was something with the gall bladder.

      But it can all well be just one and the same current infection.

      All all the best,

      sounds this bacteria is playing up a bit, but your immune system is fighting, fighting well.

      I have a good feeling that even your liver will bounce back, but I agree, you need to be checked again to be monitored and not just left alone and miss a chance in case needed, for other treatment.

      Take good care!


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