It’s totally normal to be flooded with questions when pregnant and to question every little thing that goes into your body. Making sure that you can give the best possible nutrition through a healthy diet to your baby is a smart thing to do.
In this blog post, I will be sharing what the research says about probiotics and pregnancy. I will explain why it’s safe to take probiotics while pregnant and the far-reaching consequences that probiotics could have on both a mother and her unborn child.
What Are Probiotics And Are They Safe?
Probiotics are a type of good bacteria that are not produced naturally by the human body. Studies claim that probiotics may have benefits when ingested through supplements and fermented foods. The best indication we have that probiotics are safe to take while pregnant is the documented use of probiotic supplements in clinical studies involving pregnant women.
Probiotic bacteria are after all found in many dairy foods that pregnant women may eat every day like cheese, kefir, and yogurt plus over in South Korea pregnant women often eat fermented dishes like Kimchi or Sauerkraut that are high in Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria.
The NLM and NIH have both stated that Lactobacillus probiotics are safe to take during pregnancy even up into the third trimester. It is however to use probiotic supplements from an FDA-approved seller that follows GMP procedures & always consult with your Doctor, Midwives, doula, or Obstetrician.
Benefits Of Taking Probiotics While Pregnant
Now that we have established that probiotics are in fact safe to take while pregnant you may be pleased to know that some benefits have been studied in pregnant women.
Post Natal Depression
This randomized placebo-controlled study from 2017 found that Lactobacillus Rhamnosus HN001 was able to assist in postpartum symptoms that included Depression & Anxiety. The study recruited 423 women they were split up into a group that either took a placebo or the L Rhamnosus probiotic supplement.
Those who took the probiotic had lower Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale / State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores. They took the probiotic supplement daily until breastfeeding began and the study was carried out in New Zealand.
Eczema & Reduced Risk
This meta-review carried out by researchers Linghan Kuang and Yongmei Jiang looked at a total of 18 clinical trials involving probiotics and 4356 pregnant women in total. The review concluded that there was a reduced risk of atopic eczema in both the mothers and children.
One of the most incredible things this review found was that there was a reduced risk of death and necrotising enterocolitis which is a serious issue related to the stomach lining when it starts to die off and is one of the most serious complications of preterm birth. The study did however state that efficiency on pregnancy outcomes isn’t yet conclusive.
Can You Take Probiotics with Birth Control?
Birth control is effective in stopping pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching the egg (ovulation). This is done by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the line of the uterus according to the Cleveland clinic.
Alicia Harper at ProbioticReviewGirl proved in her blog post that it’s okay to take Birth Control and Probiotics together. Probiotic’s a type of good bacteria that don’t interact the contraception since they are just a type of good bacteria that are essential for your microbiome. Probiotics and Birth control are not the same in any way.
Sources at the Cleveland clinic provided a figure that said between 16% and 39% percent of pregnant women will experience constipation while pregnant which makes it an extremely side effect of being pregnant especially during the third trimester due to lack of movement and hormonal issues.
One of the best things about probiotics is that studies over and over again have shown that some good quality Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains may help with constipation. Simply take them once in the morning or the evening making sure to leave a 1 or 2-hour window before eating.
Do You Need to Take Probiotics While Pregnant?
You don’t need to take probiotics while pregnant but many studies do show that probiotics are safe to take while pregnant and may provide some health benefits for both the mother and child. If you are taking antibiotics or eating foods that damage the microbiome then make sure to keep your microbiome topped up with good probiotic bacteria.
Closing Thoughts on Probiotics
Probiotics may help with eczema, mental health through post-partum, necrotising enterocolitis, and potentially more. The great thing about probiotics is that you don’t need to use fancy supplements and instead you can drink some Kefir or other cheap delicious fermented foods like Sauerkraut which are packed with Lactobacillus bacteria that were tested in some probiotics & pregnancy studies.