Not Necessary For Most People
Even though some people may benefit from taking these supplements during pregnancy, they arent necessary for most.
Other supplements including high quality prenatal supplements and omega-3 fatty acid supplements are more important to support maternal and fetal health .
But what remains the most important is enjoying a nutrient-dense, well-rounded diet and a healthy lifestyle.
For example, make sure to eat plenty of protein-rich foods like eggs, chicken, fish, lentils, vegetables and fruits, and healthy sources of fats like full fat dairy, avocado, nuts, and seeds to provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
Additionally, even though most people dont need to take a probiotic supplement during pregnancy, youll likely still benefit from eating foods naturally rich in probiotics such as kimchi, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut.
In addition, adding foods rich in prebiotics fibers that help feed the good bacteria in your gut like artichokes, garlic, onions, and asparagus to your diet can promote the overall health of your digestive system. Being rich in fiber, these foods can also help prevent constipation .
If youre pregnant or are trying to get pregnant and have questions about which supplements to take, we recommend speaking with an experienced healthcare professional like your OB-GYN or a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition during pregnancy.
Can You Eat Probiotic Yogurt While Pregnant
Absolutely! Yogurt is a good way to get probiotics and shows promise in helping with pregnancy complications. Compared to antibiotics, yogurt improved vaginal pH which may lower the risk of preterm delivery .
In another study healthy women who ate more than 5 cups of yogurt a week saw the best results had less risk of premature delivery. Yogurt also improves metabolism, reduces inflammation, and improves infection outcomes during pregnancy .
Probiotics Could Lower The Risk Of Pregnancy Complications
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A new study has found that taking probiotics during pregnancy could lower a womans risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia, a complication characterized by high blood pressure.
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, researchers analyzed data from over 70,000 births in Norway and found taking probiotics especially the period of time in the pregnancy when they were taken was beneficial. It was found that probiotic milk consumption in late pregnancy was associated with a 20-per-cent reduced risk of preeclampsia, while it accounted for an 11-per-cent lower risk of preterm birth when taken in early pregnancy and a 27-per-cent lowered risk when taken in late pregnancy.
The women studied consumed two different forms of probiotic-rich milk, both of which contained the Lactobacillus bacterium.
In Canada, nearly two-thirds of infant deaths are attributed to preterm birth, while preeclampsia occurs in almost 12 out of every 1,000 births.
While they did not determine exactly how probiotics reduced preterm birth and preeclampsia, researchers believe that they may contribute to reduced inflammation in the body.
This study serves to further the growing belief that a mothers diet can have a direct impact on her baby. Research has shown that what a woman consumes during pregnancy can have numerous effects on her and her baby, ranging from gestational diabetes and hypertension to asthma and depression.
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Why Should I Use Probiotics While Pregnant
Probiotics help ensure that the pregnant womans gut microbiome is healthy and operating correctly, allowing vitamins and nutrients ingested through food, drinks, and supplements to be absorbed into her system and nourish both her and the developing fetus.
Furthermore, probiotics aid digestion and maintain regular bowel movements, which can sometimes be a problem during pregnancy.
Probiotics also improve the mothers intestinal barrier, protecting her and her baby from potentially harmful microorganisms that enter the bloodstream and cause illness.
Furthermore, if an expecting mother is required to take powerful medicines, such as antibiotics, probiotics can help to develop a balanced microbiome. This guarantees that all processes controlled by the intestines continue to operate normally.
A happy balance of gut flora also strengthens the immune system. And besides, the gut makes up 80 percent of the immune system. The expecting mothers immune system changes during pregnancy to suit the growing baby.
Some probiotic bacterial strains support the strengthening of the mothers immune system throughout pregnancy and in the regulation of the mothers immune system after childbirth.
Taking a probiotic pill during the postnatal period is also very advantageous because this can often be a very hectic time for the mom, which can lead to irregular bowel habits.
They Can Balance Your Gut Microbiome
Taking probiotics is extremely beneficial at any time of life. Probiotic supplementation is most typically prescribed to enhance metabolism and regulate bowel movements, as well as its ability to relieve troublesome symptoms from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Moreover, the gut, with its millions of healthy gut bacteria, helps in numerous bodily activities, including digesting, but also immune function, skin health, detoxification, and brain function.
Often, individuals do not have a balanced gut flora since stress and drugs reduce the number and variety of probiotics. Adding a probiotic pill to your daily health routine can aid in the restoration and maintenance of a healthy gut, thus promoting general well-being.
Consider probiotics to be the perfect vitamin for living a healthy and vital existence.
That may seem like a strong statement, but if your digestive system isnt working normally, your body wont be able to soak up all of the important nutrients youre consuming through food, drinks, and supplements.
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Reducing Your Chances Of Vaginal Infection
Of course, keeping your vagina healthy during pregnancy is pretty important.
You might have heard about how probiotics can be used to treat bacterial vaginosis , which can increase your odds of getting HIV, genital herpes, chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and gonorrhea, and even premature labor.
Once again, there havent been enough studies for us to definitively say that probiotics can treat vaginal infections, but there has been some evidence to suggest that they can.
Its best to have a chat with your doctor if you think probiotics could help treat a vaginal infection they may suggest that antibiotics are the best solution.
But probiotics may be able to prevent or reduce your chances of getting a vaginal infection if taken early on in your pregnancy.
What Are Probiotics Exactly
Probiotics are live microorganisms designed to enhance the bacterial flora of different parts of your bodyprimarily your gut, but also your mouth, urinary tract, and vaginal region. While some bacteria can make us sick, others are actually good for us and help keep us healthy.
If we dont have enough good bacteria, our bodys microbiome can get thrown out of balance, potentially leaving us vulnerable to illness or uncomfortable symptoms .
Thats where probiotics come in: using microorganisms that are essentially the same as the ones naturally occurring in our bodies, probiotics can help us restore the balance of good and bad bacteria.
Some foods naturally contain probiotics, including yogurt and cottage cheese. There are also fermented products, such as sauerkraut, that offer probiotics. If you dont like those foods or dont usually have access to them, you can also take a supplement.
Not everyone should or needs to take probiotics. Many of us have bodies that can regulate the balance of bacteria all on their own. But taking certain medications, like antibiotics, or having certain health conditions, such ad inflammatory bowel disease , can disrupt your microbiome more than usual.
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May Benefit Gut Health
Keeping your gut bacteria healthy is always important, including when youre pregnant. Some evidence suggests that taking probiotics during pregnancy may be one way to improve gut bacteria composition and digestive health.
One 2020 study in 49 pregnant women with obesity found that those who took a multi-strain probiotic supplement from an average of 17 weeks pregnant until delivery experienced increased gut bacteria diversity, compared with those who took a placebo (
Data Synthesis And Visualisation
A Graphical Overview for Evidence Reviews diagram34 was created to visualise adverse effects reporting and to synthesize key data collected from studies, including timing of study outcome measurements and adverse effect measurements , the number of adverse effect-related incidents in intervention and non-intervention groups, risk ratio calculations, intervention type , strain type , study design , study timeline, primary outcome groups and risk of bias assessment scores. Heatmaps and a world map were created to represent the quality assessment scores, and the country of study, respectively, for all studies included in level 3. Alluvial diagrams were created to illustrate the relationships between the intervention types used, and the primary outcome groups of the studies. A bubble plot was created to represent the number of studies that reported a specific adverse effect stratified by intervention type. Finally, a funnel plot36 was created with the log risk ratio values for each of the reported adverse effects against standard error to represent potential publication bias of all studies included in the meta-analysis.
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Are There Risks Or Concerns For Taking Probiotics When Pregnant
Not especially, though again, were working off a lack of evidence all around. Still, the nature of probiotics makes them much less risky than many other OTC or prescription drugs.
Probiotics are generally considered safe to try since theyre processed through your gut, the doctor says. Plus, the bacteria were giving you are ones that are already colonized in your gutbasically, were giving you more of what you already have.
A 2011 study published in Canadian Family Physician confirms this theory, stating that whether taken orally or used vaginally, probiotics are safe, well-tolerated, and rarely have any systemic absorption that would make them unsafe during pregnancy and lactation.
There are a few words of warning, though, to anyone interested in taking probiotics .
How Many People Use Probiotics During Pregnancy
If youre tempted to give probiotics a go, youre not alone.
Women between 18-49 are one of the largest groups of probiotic supplement users, mainly to combat stomach discomfort.
Around 3% of pregnant women in the US and Canada also actively take probiotic supplements, but the country with the highest uptake is the Netherlands, with 13.7% of pregnant women taking probiotics.
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Where Can I Get Probiotics
There are two primary ways to get probiotics into your diet.
The first is to consume probiotic-rich meals, and the second is to take a probiotic supplement. Fermented foods, yogurt, kefir, miso, and kombucha are all high in probiotics.
The majority of these fermented foods are completely safe to consume during pregnancy, with the exception of any non-pasteurized dairy products, which should be avoided because of Listeria concerns.
This is why pregnant women are frequently advised not to eat soft cheeses. Of course, if the dairy is pasteurized, it is safe to consume.
Water kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other non-dairy alternatives to raw milk kefir are also available.
Taking a multispecies probiotic pill will also provide you with the benefits of probiotics.
Given that a healthy human digestive tract contains billions of probiotics of thousands of different varieties, a properly made, multispecies, and multistrain probiotic supplement could be more effective than the restricted options that are available in food products.
Furthermore, the probiotic bacteria in some foods must compete to thrive in your stomachs acidic environment. Many probiotic bacteria in foods are killed by stomach acid and never make it to your intestines, where they are most beneficial.
You can find probiotic supplements at your local health store or drugstore, and you can sometimes find some in the pharmaceutical aisles of large supermarkets.
Reduces The Risk Of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a serious health condition that occurs during pregnancy and leads to high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine.
Research and studies show that taking a probiotic supplement reduces the risk of developing preeclampsia and lowers inflammation in the intestines which also help to lower blood pressure .
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Is It Safe To Take Probiotics During Pregnancy
Probiotics fall into a pretty gray area when it comes to health supplements: there dont seem to be any real risks to taking them, but clear evidence of their benefits is still being researched.
Plus, there are some other issues. Many arent regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. There is understandable confusion about which strains to use for certain health conditions. And speaking of strains, there are dozens of unpronounceable varieties on the market, each one promoting itself as a cure for a host of different problems.
Of course, all of these already-muddy questions get even muddier when you apply them to pregnancy. Most studies of OTC drugs, vitamins, and supplements dont include pregnant women, so any data we do have doesnt usually apply to expectant people.
Is this true for probiotics? Well…yes and no. Heres what we know about the safety of taking probiotics during pregnancy.
Are Prebiotics And Probiotics Safe During Pregnancy
According to one publication, “Administration of enteral prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics during pregnancy, lactation, and postnatal life appears to be a safe and feasible method to alter the maternal and neonatal microbiome, thus improving pregnancy and neonatal outcomes.”
Administration of enteral prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics during pregnancy appears to be a safe and may improve pregnancy and neonatal outcomes
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Prevention Of Allergic Diseases
Interestingly, a newborn baby starts developing their gut microbiome the day they are born. Over the course of the first 12 months, a baby forms the basis of their intestinal health, which will stay with them for the rest of their life.
The type of delivery , food, supplement and medication intake from the mother while breastfeeding all influence how the babys microbiome develops. The makeup of the microbiota in the first year after birth will influence a persons health and wellbeing throughout their life.
For example, research shows that children who consistently receive probiotics via breast milk, solid food, or supplements in the first few years after birth are less likely to develop seasonal and food allergies, intolerances, as well as chronic skin issues like eczema and atopic dermatitis. OMNi-BiOTiC Panda has shown in clinical studies to reduce the likelihood of eczema in the childs first two years of life in children who had a predisposition to eczema.
The International World Allergy Organization underlined this assumption in 2015, when they published a report stating that pregnant women who were at high risk of having a child with allergies would likely decrease the childs risk of developing allergies if they took probiotic supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Summary Of Probiotics During Pregnancy
- Generally, taking probiotics when pregnant is considered safe, however, one probiotic yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, is lacking in clinical research in pregnant women.
- During pregnancy, four key areas of the body undergo microbial changes so taking a probiotic in pregnancy may help to bring balance.
- The benefits of taking probiotics in pregnancy are far reaching and can help to support vaginal health, mental wellbeing, general immunity, gestational diabetes, IBS and bloating, occasional constipation and even morning sickness.
- Different strains do different things, so, in terms of the best probiotics for pregnancy its a good idea to select a probiotic for pregnant women or one that has been studied for the health concern you are looking to address.
- Its ideal to start taking a pregnancy probiotic from conception or as early on as possible. You can continue to take certain strains right through till at least 6 months after birth, however, if you are taking a different brand supplement, do check that the strains are suitable in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Healthcare practitioners can find out more about the strains mentioned on this page on the Probiotics Database: Saccharomyces boulardii Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®, Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431®, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®, Lactobacillus casei Shirota®, Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®.
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Best Way To Get Probiotics During Pregnancy
There are so many options when it comes to probiotic supplements that it can be confusing. Generally you want a wide range of well-studied probiotic strains. You can take probiotic supplements orally or use them topically. The best prenatal probiotic will have a high amount of quality strains without fillers or contaminants.
Research indicates that probiotics inserted into the vagina may have more of an impact on vaginal flora, while swallowing probiotics works well on the gut microbiome .
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt are also good options. However, the probiotics in these foods may not be as concentrated as a supplement or offer the same strains. Combining fermented foods with prenatal probiotics is a great combo.
Which Probiotic Is Best During Pregnancy
Probiotics dont have to be taken as supplements.
If youve got a craving for yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, or even kombucha that might be your bodys way of telling you its hungry for probiotics.
However, if the thought of sauerkraut makes your stomach turn, supplements could be the way to go.
Most species of probiotics are generally considered safe to take, but there are two that are the most common:
Bifidobacteria: This bacteria is usually found in the colon, lower intestine, and breast milk, and is the bacteria youll likely find in your supplements and foods. Bifidobacteria can help support your immune system, minimize the growth of bad bacteria in your gut, and break down the foods you eat into tasty nutrients. Yum!
Lactobacillus: This is the bacteria that can help with your vaginal health its naturally found there, and if you have an imbalance of lactobacillus, that could be the cause of any nasty itches or infections.
Both species of probiotics can be beneficial during pregnancy, but its best to speak with your midwife or doctor and mention your main concerns.
For example, if youve previously suffered from IBS, upping your bifidobacteria intake could help, but if yeast infections are a regular occurrence, lactobacillus could be your new best friend.
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