probiotics and pregnancy

Probiotics and Pregnancy: A Small Guide

As a pregnant mother, you want to do everything in your power to help your baby grow healthy. From trying out strange wives’ tales such as eating lots of peanuts so your little one isn’t born allergic to them, to basic activities such as exercise and good sleep that keep you healthy too, you’ve probably tried it all. After all, staying healthy and keeping your upcoming bundle of joy in good health throughout their first years of life must be your number 1 priority.
But how do you fight all the temptations that nowadays come with fast-food diets, and more, how do you keep your immunity in check? Have you ever considered probiotics?

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live cultures of bacteria that help your immune system defend against harmful bacteria. Think of probiotics as “good” bacteria, which defend against the “bad” bacteria. Probiotics are generally prescribed by doctors for those on antibiotics to help replace the “good” bacteria the antibiotics eventually deplete. In addition, some people swear by probiotics as a cure for bowel issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Are Probiotics Good for Pregnancy?

But what about probiotics for pregnant women? Are they safe for you? For your baby? Which ones should you be taking during pregnancy, and why?
The good news, according to American Pregnancy, is that there is no evidence that probiotics aren’t safe for pregnant or lactating mothers. Unsurprisingly, many women turn to a variety of probiotics to treat pregnancy symptoms such as constipation during pregnancy as an alternative to other medications or simply suffering from the symptoms.

Are Probiotics the Best Option?

So, why should you consider probiotics, aside from the obvious reasons such as treating specific symptoms? Per American Pregnancy Association, it is thought that, since probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria, they can help reduce the amount of “bad” bacteria in your body – bacteria that lead to infections, illness, and more – thus lowering your risk of these diseases during and immediately after pregnancy. These probiotics may even be transferred to your baby, giving them the same leg-up on illness and infection!

Vaginal Health Support Probiotics

As a pregnant woman, vaginal health is of utmost importance. After all, your reproductive system is busy doing the job it was built for – growing a baby! A great probiotic option for any woman who wants to improve her vaginal health, pregnant or not should always be containing turmeric and grapefruit seed. These ingredients may help to balance yeast and bacteria down there, as well as support your overall immune health! They will keep your V healthy and happy, so you can focus on what is really important to you right now: your growing baby.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of probiotics you might consider taking if you’re expecting, what they do, and how they can help! Please note that it is important to consult your doctor before adding any medication or supplement to your diet while pregnant and that this article should not be taken as medical advice.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG – This probiotic may reduce the chance of the development of eczema in your child later on in life, making it a great choice for any parent who wants to prevent it. Eczema, though not life threatening, is a pesky condition for both parents and their child because it creates red, itchy splotches on the skin that can appear rash-like, tending to come in flares as well as possibly being accompanied by fever.
  • L. acidophilus – This probiotic may help relieve depression in expectant mothers. If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression during your pregnancy, such as feeling sad for more than two weeks, trouble sleeping, or loss of interest in your usual activities, you may want to give this probiotic a try.
  • Lactobacillus casei – This probiotic lowers the amount of immunoglobulin e in babies when taken prenatally. Immunoglobulin e is essentially the antibodies known for causing allergic reactions – they overreact to a certain stimulus such as peanuts or shellfish, and cause the immune system to unnecessarily flare in response. If you want to help prevent allergic reactions in your child, which can be life-threatening in the case of anaphylaxis, you might want to try this probiotic.

Bottom Line: Are Probiotics Safe For You and Your Baby’s Health?

Though research on the effects of probiotics taken pre and postnatally is rare, the lack of known complications involved, as well as the potential benefits, make probiotics a popular choice among expecting mothers as a way to treat current health problems and prevent them in their unborn children. As probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria, they are generally recognized as safe, but you should consult your doctor before taking any while pregnant. Also, beware of your own allergies when shopping for probiotics, as some contain food elements to which you may be allergic!

Probiotics may be an excellent option for you during (and after!) your pregnancy journey, working to improve your overall health, as well as targeting specific conditions and issues as listed in the above list. Remember that, in addition to probiotics, you can keep yourself healthy during pregnancy with exercise (as allowed by a doctor,) good sleep, managing stress, and avoiding things such as alcohol and drugs.

Comment down below with any tips, suggestions, or experiences you have with taking probiotics during pregnancy, as well as if you plan to try out any of the probiotics we’ve laid out for you here!