Should You Take Probiotics During Your Pregnancy?

should you take probiotics during your pregnancy

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Do you wonder whether you should take probiotics during your pregnancy or not?

There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about whether or not you should take probiotics during pregnancy. Some people say that they’re absolutely essential, while others warn against them.

Many expectant mothers look for additional ways to support their personal health and the health of their unborn child throughout pregnancy in addition to eating a nutritious diet. Although taking supplements of folic acid and vitamin D is advised, many pregnant mothers also decide to take probiotic supplements to further improve their overall health.

At this unique time, specific, properly researched strains of beneficial bacteria can have a favorable impact on various aspects of health. 

What are some of the benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the good bacteria that live in your gut. Research suggests that probiotics may offer a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain infections and alleviating symptoms of digestive problems.

Probiotics are also thought to play a role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Some studies have found that taking probiotics during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

The advantages of probiotics for pregnant women are extensive and have an impact on the following areas:

  • Vaginal health
  • Mental wellbeing
  • General immunity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • IBS and bloating
  • Occasional constipation
  • Morning sickness

Probiotics may also help to prevent premature labor and relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. While more research is needed to confirm these effects, probiotics are generally considered safe for pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about whether probiotics may be right for you during your pregnancy.

Changes in a woman s body in pregnancy. Pregnancy stages, trimesters and birth, pregnant woman and baby.
Changes in a woman s body in pregnancy. Pregnancy stages, trimesters and birth, pregnant woman and baby.

Are probiotics safe during pregnancy?

Are probiotics safe to consume while pregnant or nursing is the first concern that all newly expectant mothers have when deciding whether to include probiotics in their health regimen?

Probiotics and prebiotics are typically regarded as safe during pregnancy, as supported by the findings of significant research studies. The American Pregnancy Association and Babycentre UK are two organizations that have also recommended probiotic supplementation as a safe and advantageous practice during pregnancy.

However, there is currently a gap in the clinical study on probiotics in pregnant women, namely Saccharomyces boulardii.

Pregnant women should use caution when considering this probiotic due to a lack of testing in this one vulnerable subset of the population. This particular probiotic strain has demonstrated many positive health benefits, including reducing diarrhea, exerting anti-inflammatory effects, and inhibiting the growth of harmful bugs.

Probiotics are safe to use during pregnancy, with the exception of Saccharomyces boulardii, however, pregnant women who are more ‘at risk’ or who have a medical condition (especially one that affects the immune system) should always see their doctor before taking any supplement, including probiotics.

Are there any risks associated with taking probiotics during pregnancy?

Although probiotics are generally considered safe, there is some concern that taking probiotics during pregnancy may increase the risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can be dangerous for both mother and child, and probiotic use during pregnancy has not been conclusively shown to either increase or decrease the risk of this condition.

Additionally, probiotics may alter the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which could lead to gastrointestinal problems or other infections such as Clostridium difficile.

Therefore, pregnant women should speak with their healthcare providers before taking probiotics to ensure that they are taking the appropriate precautions.

How do probiotics work during pregnancy?

Probiotics generally restore the microbiome’s equilibrium by increasing amounts of good bacteria. They can perform a variety of tasks and promote a wide range of health characteristics once they reach the stomach. A large majority of people of all ages can benefit from probiotics.

It is thought that a mother’s microbiome has a significant impact on both her and her unborn child’s health. An infant is exposed to thousands of microorganisms as they travel through the delivery canal.

Therefore, it’s crucial for the mom to have a lot of healthy bacteria to pass on to the baby. Friendly bacteria can seed in an infant’s gut because they are present in even breast milk.

Therefore, we need to understand what occurs to the microbiome over the course of the three trimesters in order to understand how probiotics may be advantageous during pregnancy.

Numerous microbiological, immunological, hormonal, and metabolic changes occur during pregnancy, and they all interact with one another. In fact, the microbiome is also undergoing some significant changes. Although there are still some conflicting studies addressing how the composition of the gut microbiome varies, experts largely concur on the following:

Microbial changes during pregnancy, birth and infancy
Microbial changes during pregnancy, birth, and infancy

Oral microbiome: The evolution of the oral microbiome is a promising field for future research. Women who are expecting have an increased risk of oral health problems. This might be a result of an increase in oral bacteria, especially those linked to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Placental microbiome: Although this is debatable among scientists, there is some encouraging evidence to imply that placental bacteria are present. Scientists have occasionally discovered DNA fragments or pieces of bacteria, which has prompted them to wonder: if microbes are present, what function do they serve?

Gut microbiome: According to the body of research, there are considerable microbial alterations as pregnancy advances toward the third trimester. In fact, one study found that when a sterile (germ-free) mouse was given a sample of feces from a pregnant woman in her third trimester, the mouse gained weight and the animal’s microbiome resembled that of a person with metabolic syndrome or diabetes.

These alterations are thought to be a normal aspect of pregnancy, but in some women, they might be the cause of gestational diabetes. The same study also discovered a decline in friendly bacteria diversity and an increase in inflammation. Pregnant women frequently experience GI distress due to these microbial changes, hormone increases, and other factors, which is not surprising.

Vaginal microbiome: As the pregnancy goes on, the friendly bacteria known as lactobacilli become more prevalent and the vaginal microbiome becomes less diversified. In addition to helping to foster an environment where helpful microorganisms might flourish, lactobacilli can hinder the growth of a wide variety of dangerous microbes.

This is crucial since vaginal infections like thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV) can lead to more frequent miscarriages and preterm births.

The microbiome can be further impacted by stress levels, food, and antibiotic use in addition to all these natural changes. These could have an effect on a mother’s and child’s postpartum and gestational health.

For instance, a higher concentration of dangerous bacteria (such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus spp.) in the vaginal canal has been linked to antibiotic use during pregnancy. High concentrations of these bugs in newborns have been linked to allergies, dermatitis, and colic. 

In the end, variables such as stress, food, and antibiotic use, among others, can lower the number of friendly bacteria, leading to microbial imbalances (dysbiosis). Probiotics, therefore, have a lot of potentials to enhance overall health by balancing the microbiota.

How can you ensure that you’re getting enough probiotics while pregnant?

They can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, or in supplement form. During pregnancy, probiotics can help to ease digestive issues like nausea and vomiting, and they may also reduce the risk of developing certain complications, such as gestational diabetes.

If you’re interested in taking probiotics during your pregnancy, speak to your healthcare provider first. They can advise you on the best way to ensure that you’re getting enough probiotics while pregnant. Probiotics are generally considered safe for both mother and baby, but it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.

With more and more brands now offering probiotics specifically tailored to both mother and baby, it is advisable to look at one that has clinical trials behind them, such as ProVen Probiotics.

What are some good sources of probiotics for pregnant women?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the ones already present in your body, especially in your gut. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotics during pregnancy have been linked with a reduced risk of complications, such as preterm labor, gestational diabetes, and urinary tract infections. They may also help to reduce the severity of morning sickness and other gastrointestinal issues.

While you can get probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, miso soup, and sauerkraut, supplements may be a more convenient option for pregnant women. 

Microbial changes during pregnancy that affect the host
Microbial changes during pregnancy that affect the host

How much should you take, and how often should you take it for best results?

The earlier in pregnancy that probiotics are taken, the greater the potential benefits. Women were included in the study on gestational diabetes, for instance, between 14 and 16 weeks. Studies on infants and children’s allergies and eczema also indicated that taking supplements starting at week 14 of pregnancy was helpful.

According to another study, taking supplements throughout the last month of pregnancy may also protect against allergies and eczema and support the newborn’s immune system development. It’s best to start taking probiotics as soon as possible to maintain vaginal health, but truly, it’s never too early or too late!

Most probiotics are found in yogurt and other fermented foods, but you can also take them in supplement form. When choosing a probiotic supplement, it is important to look for one that is specifically designed for pregnant women. The best probiotics for pregnancy contain multiple strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis.

These strains have been shown to be safe and effective in pregnant women. Probiotic supplements should be taken once or twice daily, with meals.

It is important to start taking probiotics early in your pregnancy and to continue taking them throughout the entire pregnancy. Most experts recommend taking at least 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per day.

Probiotics can be an important part of a healthy pregnancy, so be sure to talk to your doctor about which probiotic is right for you.

In conclusion

Probiotics can be especially helpful during pregnancy. They can help to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, prevent infections, and promote a healthy pregnancy weight. While probiotics are generally considered safe, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking them during pregnancy.

This is because some probiotic strains can cause infections or other complications. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best probiotic supplement for you and your baby.

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Our goal is to empower you with concise probiotic guidance for a healthier gut. With expert advice, we provide the knowledge to improve your well-being and navigate the world of probiotics efficiently, ensuring you achieve optimal gut health.


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