Can You Take Probiotics While Pregnant
Using probiotics while pregnant is both safe and healthy. Probiotics are commonly recommended to pregnant women by obstetricians, midwives, and doulas.
The study of probiotics during pregnancy is still in its infant years. Nevertheless, no connection has been discovered between probiotic use and pregnancy issues such as miscarriages, abnormalities, Caesarean section, birth weight, or gestational age.
Probiotics made from human bacterial strains are a natural part of the body and thereby deemed completely safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Moreover, studies have revealed that using probiotics throughout pregnancy offers numerous advantages.
However, not every probiotic supplement is the same. It is crucial to find a probiotic supplement that is validated by evidence, is FDA-approved, and contains human bacterial strains and clean chemicals.
So, do your homework and talk to your doctor to see if adding a probiotic to your wellness routine is a smart option for you and your baby.
Probiotics During Pregnancy Final Thoughts
As you can see, the research on probiotics and pregnancy is extensive. There are numerous advantages with very minimal risk levels.
This is an excellent method to boost the health of both you and your baby. But keep in mind that different probiotic strains help with different functions in the body, and this is especially true during pregnancy.
Here are other articles to look at for various situations to see what kind of effect probiotics can have:
Supplements And Probiotics In Pregnancy
Probiotics are only increasing in popularity, and for good reasons. Probiotics play a big role in establishing and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Studies are beginning to reveal just how much of an impact the health of your gut can have on your overall health. But are probiotics safe in pregnancy?
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Can You Take Probiotics In First Trimester
Unlike some supplements, probiotics are safe to take even in the first trimester. A 2010 study in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at the benefits of probiotics starting in the first trimester. The probiotic and healthy eating group had less gestational diabetes than the group that just ate healthy .
You dont have to wait until youre pregnant though to start taking probiotics! Building healthy gut and vaginal flora even before pregnancy has long term benefits.
Data Extraction And Assessment Of Risk Of Bias
Two reviewers independently screened all titles and abstracts and the full text of potentially eligible papers. Disagreements were resolved by discussion and a third person was available if consensus could not be reached.
The same two reviewers independently extracted data on general study characteristics, intervention and control characteristics, potential effect modifiers, outcomes and risk of bias using a piloted data collection form. For binary data we extracted 2 by 2 tables or effect sizes with their confidence intervals. For continuous outcomes, we extracted the mean, standard deviation and size of each group or the mean difference and confidence interval. For measures of change we extracted means and standard deviations of the differences between the start and end points. In the cases where only before and after intervention data was provided, we imputed the standard deviation of the difference using the correlation of the largest study providing such information . Studies in which probiotics were provided by the producing company without compensation were considered to have potential conflicts of interest even when the authors declared no such conflicts.
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Probiotics Are Safe For Use During Pregnancy With Minimal Reported Adverse Effects
Finally, low to moderate heterogeneity of the observed effect sizes across the studies was found . To examine this heterogeneity, an Egger regression analysis was conducted. Visual inspection of the funnel plot showed little asymmetry for studies included in the meta-analysis, and no publication bias was found across the included studies , suggesting that the studies included in our meta-analysis are a representative sample of the available evidence.
Characteristics Of The Study Cohort
The baseline characteristics of the two groups, such as demographics, ultrasound parameters of the fetus, birth weight and 1-min Apgar score, showed no significant differences, as presented in Table 1. The duration of probiotics supplementation was 6.7 ± 1.6 weeks.
Table 1. Pregnant women and fetus characteristics.
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Reduce The Risk Of Infant Atopic Eczema And Food Allergies
Eczema, recognized by red, itchy patches of skin, is a precursor to a variety of other conditions such as food allergies and asthma, so reducing or preventing it is very important.
We know that differences in a babys microbiome link to increased allergy risks, and research is supporting the use of probiotics to prevent eczema.
A large Meta-analysis reported that pregnant women given probiotics during as well as the initial postpartum period reduced eczema by 22%.
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Article Screening And Data Collection
A 3-level screening process was performed by an independent reviewer. At level 1, 1185 articles were evaluated based on title and abstract, and articles were screened out if they were not in the English language, human studies, or one of the identified eligible study designs. The remaining 244 articles were carried forward for screening at level 2, where full texts were obtained. Articles were excluded if there was no full-text access and if probiotic/prebiotic/synbiotic supplementation was to the infant and not the mother, or to both mother and infant. Articles were further excluded if the population of interest was not pregnant or lactating people, if the information provided was insufficient for the requirements of this study, if supplementation was not probiotic, prebiotic or synbiotic-related, and if the article was not a primary research article, leaving 70 studies. Sample size and country of study information were extracted at this level. At level 3, data were extracted from the 70 studies to capture PICO information 25. We also noted the primary outcome of interest of the 70 studies under review, and categorized each study based on the primary outcome into 9 groups: pregnancy outcome , maternal metabolic health, maternal microbiome and gastrointestinal health, maternal breast health and breastmilk, maternal mental health, infant metabolic health, infant microbiome and gastrointestinal health, infant allergy and immune health, and infant growth and development .
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Ibs & Bloating In Pregnancy
Why is this important? One uncomfortable side effect of the increase in progesterone during pregnancy is that it can cause excessive bloating. Progesterone causes the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall to relax, meaning that food does not pass through as quickly. Slower digestive transit time allows for greater fermentation in the gut, which increases gas production and thus bloating.
Many pregnant women also find their IBS is exacerbated during pregnancy this is likely due to the hormonal and microbial changes at play. As they are supporting another life, its really important that pregnant women look after their gut health to ensure they are digesting and absorbing their nutrients well. Probiotics can increase the production of digestive enzymes, to help break down foods and protect our gut cells to support good absorption rates. Poor gut health can result in poorly digested food and might mean that additional pregnancy supplements are not efficiently absorbed.
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®: This is one of the most researched probiotic strains for digestive health. Its been shown to bind to gut cells, support a healthy gut environment and significantly improve abdominal pain and bloating25.
Lactobacillus casei Shirota®: A well-researched strain supporting gut function. The strain has been shown to improve IBS symptoms and increase the numbers of friendly bacteria in the gut26.
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 .
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Do Probiotics Pass Through Breast Milk
While few studies focus on this, we do know that probiotics pass through into your breast milk. It can alter your milk, helping to encourage the development of your babys immune system. One study showed that 40% of probiotics pass through into your breast milk, but more extensive studies rarely prove or disprove these stats.
Gestational Diabetes And Healthy Weight
Several studies show a link between probiotics and decreased gestational diabetes risk. In one study, women who had lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis strains had less GD than the control group .
Excess body fat is a risk factor for developing GD, but probiotics can help with that too. In one study, probiotics and eating healthy helped reduce excess weight around the waist better than diet alone.
In another study, pregnant women who took vitamin D and probiotics together had lower fasting blood sugar and better insulin levels. They also had more glutathione, lower triglycerides, and other factors related to gestational diabetes .
Probiotics promote healthy blood sugar balance and insulin response while having a positive effect on other health markers. They even affect DNA methylation to help prevent obesity for baby and can have long lasting health effects. Researchers point to pregnancy as the optimal time to reduce babys obesity and metabolic disease risk with probiotics .
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Supplementation With Probiotics Changed The Gut Microbiota
Using a negative binomial generalized linear model by EdgeR analysis, we identified 68 OTUs changing from 32 weeks of gestation to antepartum, and six of them were highly abundant . Firmicutes accounted for more than half of the OTUs and the second most abundant bacteria was Bacteroidetes . Most of these bacteria were depleted and varied during gestation with an average abundance from 0.03 to 0.0003%. Ten OTUs were enriched, and their mean abundance varied from 0.008 to 0.11%. After probiotic supplementation, analysis revealed that a total of 49 OTUs changed and five OTUs were highly abundant. Two-thirds of the OTUs were depleted, with an average abundance from 0.02 to 0.0002%, and more than half were assigned to Firmicutes . Nineteen OTUs were enriched from 0.001 to 0.06% . In the process of changing from 32 weeks of gestation to antepartum, the control and probiotics shared three OTUs, which belonged to Streptococcus, Clostridium_sensu_stricto, and Ruminococcaceae, and these bacteria were enriched in the probiotic group. There were 48 different OTUs between the control and probiotic groups, and 21 OTUs were highly abundant . The top three depleted OTUs belonged to Clostridiales, Clostridium_sensu_stricto, and Holdemanella, and the most enriched OTUs were Porphyromonadaceae, Holdemanella, and Lachnospiraceae.
Probiotics For Pregnant Women: Best Probiotics During Pregnancy
by Lucy Harriss
During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels, differences in water intake and diet, and just the stress of pregnancy on the body often results in digestive issues, namely constipation, bloating and diarrhea.
To prevent these digestive issues, and other microbiome imbalances which can cause problems elsewhere like vaginal thrush, we recommend probiotics. Probiotics are most often taken orally and contain numerous bacterial colonies to rebalance your gut microbiota this is especially important during pregnancy.
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Why Is A Healthy Microbiome Important
Pregnant or not, having a healthy microbiome, is important for overall health.
Fun fact: there are roughly 40 trillion bacteria cells in your body and 30 trillion human cells . This means you’re actually more bacteria than human!
The microbiome can affect your body in many ways, starting from birth when some of the first bacteria in baby’s gastrointestinal tracts helps them digest breast milk, to helping digest fiber, help control your immune system, and help control brain health, and more .
Study Location Demographics And Design: 100 Studies Under Initial Review
The articles under review included data from 25 countries . Fifty-four percent of studies were from Europe , 28% from Asia , 13% from Oceania , and the remaining 5% from North America, South America, and Africa . Finland had the highest representation in the studies under review .
For the 100 studies under initial review, 95 were RCTs, 3 were cohort studies, 1 was a case-control study, and 1 was a controlled clinical trial. Other study types were not represented at the data extraction level as they were excluded based on predefined eligibility criteria. Of the 100 studies, 49% , including all three of the observational cohort studies, did not include any information related to safety or adverse events/effects, 23% deemed their intervention to be safe , 28% reported adverse events, and of these 28 studies, 39% reported adverse effects. Eighty percent of the 100 studies used a single factor intervention , and 20% used a multi-factorial intervention . All 11 studies included in the GOfER diagram that reported on adverse effects were randomized controlled trials. Of the 11 studies, 6 included single factor interventions , and 5 included multi-factorial interventions .
Alluvial diagrams of the general intervention type and primary outcome group and specific intervention and adverse effect type .
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How To Increase Probiotics In Pregnancy
There are two main ways to increase your probiotic intake in pregnancy: supplementation and food sources. When purchasing probiotic supplements, go for a quality brand and buy the options that are stored in a cooler or fridge, which have a better shelf life.
If you decide to start eating more probiotic-rich foods, you have some tasty options. Kimchi and sauerkraut can provide lots of healthy bacteria in small servings. Make sure to buy high-quality refrigerated brands, as those types have the most probiotic value. Fermented dairy
products like yogurt also contain healthy bacteria. Tempeh and miso are both fermented soy options that provide a healthy dose of probiotics.
Whats Important To Know About Probiotics During Pregnancy
Probiotic supplementation during pregnancy can offer a number of advantages. To accommodate a growing baby, pregnant women undergo a wide array of physiological changes, including in the types and distributions of microorganisms in their bodies.
Scientists have suggested that altering this gut microflora in expecting mothers may prevent complications during pregnancy. For instance, using probiotic supplementation may improve outcomes related to mucosal immunity, urogenital infections and intestinal dysbiosis . It is not only the mother who is affected by the changes in microflora. Studies have shown that the mothers gut during the 3rd trimester can influence the immune system and insulin insensitivity in the fetus, both of which have implications for the developing babys health .
Studies looking at the impact of probiotic supplementation during pregnancy have shown promising results related to pre-eclampsia and pre-term delivery , as well as for the likelihood that the child endures gestational diabetes mellitus , abnormal weight gain , or necrotizing enterocolitis . The relationship between microorganisms and allergic disease in children has been particularly well studied, and there is good reason to believe that probiotics could also alleviate allergies and atopic diseases in infants .
Though the way that probiotics work is not fully understood, the scientific community generally agrees that probiotics work by crowding out bad bacteria with good bacteria.
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Probiotics Decrease The Risk Of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a scary condition and should be avoided if possible. But what is it?
According to the March of Dimes, the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure
In fact, daily intake of these probiotics will decrease the likelihood of preeclampsia by 20%.
- Consume it weekly and the risk for severe preeclampsia goes down by 25%.
- Consume it daily and the risk for severe preeclampsia goes down by 39%.
Should I Continue Probiotics After Pregnancy
Its my opinion that everyone needs probiotics in all walks of life. Our modern lifestyle doesnt provide us with the necessary good bacteria we need to be healthy. You should continue probiotics for yourself after pregnancy, but definitely for your breastfed baby. You will pass on the good bacteria to your little one through your breastmilk.
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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.
Is It Safe To Take Probiotics While Pregnant
In general, it is considered safe to take probiotics during your pregnancy. Its important to note that there is limited research so that no one can say with absolute certainty, but most doctors agree that its a safe practice. It would help if you always spoke with your doctor before starting a new regime to get dependable thoughts and data.
While the data is limited, there have been no associations connecting probiotic use and miscarriages or malformations of any kind. Doctors have yet to find any link to an increased risk of a c-section, birth weight, or preterm labor.