Probiotics do not pose any safety concerns to the health of the baby or the mother and can be included in a diet or attained through a supplement during pregnancy. It is safe to use for lactating mothers and does not pose a threat to the safety of the child.
Probiotics are a rather popular supplement that is taken by many people around the world. There are various health benefits of taking probiotic supplements. When you consider the safety of probiotics for pregnant women, not only are probiotic supplements safe, they work to reduce pregnancy complications.
It was noted in a study, that the use of probiotics during pregnancy was considered safe and the supplement was well tolerated by pregnant women and those who breastfed.
Taking a probiotic supplement also works to reduce the risk of eczema in babies and improved the markers for metabolic health in the mother.
When Should You Avoid Probiotics? DECLAIMER
If you suffer from an immune disorder or have a compromised immune system, you should not take probiotics in general. Hence, if you find yourself falling into this category, you should not take probiotics without consulting a healthcare professional first.
You should also avoid taking probiotic supplements if you are known to have allergies to the bacteria or yeast in the probiotics. Taking probiotics could cause an allergic reaction, hence should be avoided by such individuals.
People who suffer from pancreatitis should also work to avoid taking probiotic supplements since it could cause more harm than good. Further to this, people who are critically ill or have been recovering from major surgery, should work to avoid probiotic supplements and not take them without the consent of a healthcare professional.
Benefits of Probiotics During Pregnancy
You probably are reading this article because you may have heard about the various health benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy. This is true, there are some health benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy that have been backed by research.
Probiotic supplements can actually work to improve various aspects of maternal health and reduce the risk of developing pregnancy complications. They are known to benefit newborns in numerous ways.
So what are the various health benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy? Let’s take a deeper look.
Probiotics Help with Gut Health
Probiotics are known to help the gut and digestive tract by promoting the growth of good bacteria which combats the effects of bad bacteria in your gut. Hence, taking a probiotic could help you improve the composition of bacteria in your gut and balance your gut which brings with it a host of other health benefits.
Particularly, improved gut health means that the absorption of nutrients is more efficient in the gut which means you are more likely to absorb more essential nutrients from your diet. These essential nutrients play a key role in the development of the child and can be very beneficial for both the child and mother.
Probiotics help to increase the bacterial diversity in the gut, which is a sign of a healthy gut. Low bacterial diversity is linked to ineffective functioning of the gut, which is linked to the ineffective absorption of nutrients which results in metabolic disorders.
Probiotics Help Reduce Pregnancy Complications
Taking probiotic supplements can actually work to protect you against preterm delivery and various other pregnancy complications.
One study found that the length of pregnancy was significantly longer in those who took a probiotic supplement in comparison to those who took a placebo supplement.
There is a reduced risk of death in those who took probiotic supplements. They also noted a reduced risk of the child developing any life-threatening infections that can occur during pregnancy.
Probiotics Help Reduce Risk of Eczema in Infants
Pregnant women who take probiotics are known to be able to fight off infections better for both themselves and the child. Taking a probiotic may help reduce the risk of eczema which is a condition characterised by red and itchy skin. This risk is mitigated in both the child and mother.
A study conducted in 2020 let to note that pregnant women who took a probiotic supplement noticed a reduced risk of eczema during pregnancy.
The benefits are not only for the mother but are carried on to the child as well. The risk of developing eczema in the infant is drastically reduced. In fact, the World Allergy Organisation recommends that those who have a family history of allergic disease should use probiotics during pregnancy (unless your allergies are towards the bacteria and yeast in the probiotics).
Probiotics May Help Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Probiotics may be beneficial for mental health. They may help treat the symptoms of both depression and anxiety and can be used during pregnancy and after pregnancy for this specific benefit.
However, the studies on this specific benefit are not conclusive. This was why we said that it may help with depression and anxiety. Though one study led in 2017 concluded that probiotics help reduce the effects of both depression and anxiety, this study was funded by the manufacturer which leads us to believe that the results may have been influenced.
A similar study that took place in 2021 noted no effects on depression or anxiety symptoms from taking probiotic supplements.
Depression and anxiety are common conditions during pregnancy. With the results of the studies not being conclusive as to whether probiotics help reduce depression and anxiety, if you suffer from either of the conditions or notice symptoms, you should talk to a healthcare professional.
Probiotics Improve Maternal Metabolic Health
Staying healthy is an important part of pregnancy. The healthier you are, the less likely there would be any complications arising during pregnancy. It is also less likely that you would develop a health condition during delivery.
Probiotic supplements work to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels in pregnant women which works to improve health and reduce the risk of complications.
A study led in 2018 noted the reduced blood sugar levels and reduced insulin resistance in pregnant women who took probiotic supplements. Hence the chances of requiring blood sugar-reducing medication are drastically reduced in those who take probiotic supplements.
The better blood sugar levels you have, the better metabolic health you would have. These findings are promising to state that they could help the mother stay healthy without the need for medications (such as blood sugar-reducing medication) and ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
When to Start Probiotics In Pregnancy
You can start taking probiotics before pregnancy and continue taking probiotics into the pregnancy. You don’t have to stop taking the probiotics. When you are considering the best time to start probiotics in pregnancy, it is soon as possible. That being the case, it is common to consider probiotic supplements in the third trimester.
The sooner you start, the more time your body has to adapt to the new conditions and reap the benefits of the probiotics. You can start taking probiotics in early pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended that you do so. Not only is it safe, but it also brings with it the host of health benefits which we discussed earlier.
When you are considering probiotics, any time is a good time to start. If you can start taking probiotics even before you get pregnant, this would be a good move to make. It will allow your body to shift to a healthier mode of life, which in essence will make for a healthier and safer pregnancy.
Can You Take Probiotics and Prenatal Vitamins Together?
There have been no interactions found between vitamins with minerals and probiotics. This does not mean that interactions do not exist. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin and would like to be sure that probiotics do not interfere with the prenatal vitamin that you are taking, you should consult a healthcare professional for advice.
Taking prenatal vitamins is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients that it needs to support the growth and development of the baby. It is as important as probiotics for it ensures the completion of the nutrient requirement. While probiotics enable the better absorption of nutrients in the gut, prenatal vitamins provide these nutrients straight to the body.
If you are concerned about mixing your prenatal vitamins and probiotic supplements, you should consult your healthcare provider to get the advice that you require to put your mind to rest.
Can Probiotics Cause Miscarriage?
There is no increased risk of miscarriage from taking probiotics during pregnancy. In fact, taking probiotics can work to reduce the chances of death and other pregnancy complications.
In studies that were conducted, they noted that there was no significant difference in birth weight, gestational age or the incidence of cesarean section in those who took probiotics.
Though you may be worried about taking probiotics during pregnancy and would like all your questions answers, we are here to tell you that probiotics are safe to use during pregnancy and can bring with them a host of health benefits for both the mother and child. However if you require professional advice, we recommend that you consult your healthcare provider first.
Probiotic Supplement or Probiotics from the Diet?
Probiotics can be attained from a natural diet. There are plenty of sources of probiotics, hence a supplement isn’t always necessary. For those who are unable to source sufficient probiotics from the diet alone, it is recommended that you acquire the necessary probiotics in supplement form.
Some of us live busy lives and it isn’t easy to think about what you eat and source every nutrient. This is why supplements are so beneficial. Further to this, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting the right dose of a nutrient from the diet. When you are trying to ensure that you are getting the right dose, it is easier to rely on a supplement.
That being the case, it isn’t difficult to source probiotics from the diet. Here is a good list of plant-based probiotic sources, which should help you get an idea of how to go about sourcing probiotics from your diet.
Which is the Best Probiotic to Take During Pregnancy?
A combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® is considered the best two strains for both maternal and child health during pregnancy.
It brings with it many health benefits and is two of the most researched strains for vaginal health. Research conducted in pregnant women noted that they reached the vaginal tract even when consumed orally.
Can I Take Probiotics During Pregnancy?
Yes, you can take probiotics during pregnancy. Probiotics are known to be safe for use during pregnancy and can bring with them a host of health benefits for both the child and mother. However, if you have a compromised immune system, you should consult a healthcare professional before taking probiotics.
Taking probiotic supplements could really help you with your pregnancy and ensure that you have a safe and healthy delivery. It can help aid in improving the health of both the child and the mother and can prevent pregnancy complications from arising.
If you were worried about taking probiotics and still are, we recommend that you consult your healthcare provider to get professional advice that will place your mind at ease. After all, this article is a general guideline about the safety of probiotics during pregnancy and doesn’t replace the advice of a professional healthcare provider.
We hope you enjoyed reading this word to word, and that we were able to help you get the insight that you required with regards to taking probiotics during pregnancy. It may act as a good starting point to direct you in the right direction of better health for both you and your child.