6 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Take Probiotics During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
When it comes to taking care of ourselves during pregnancy, most of us know the basics, i.e. exercise, limit alcohol and tobacco smoke, etc. But few of us know how important the health of our gut is to our unborn child. If you are sitting there with a blank look on your face, read on. It’s about to get really interesting!
Your gut is home to 100 trillion micro-organisms, which shockingly is around 10 times more cells than you have in your whole body! (It pays not to think about it too long and hard really). We all know that the gut is made up of good bacteria (around 80-85% is considered healthy) and bad bacteria (15-20%), but did you know that it does more than just break down your food? 80% of our immune system stems from our gut and we all know how important it is to have a good immune system.
Unfortunately, there are many things that can negatively affect the health of your gut including poor diet (high in sugar, processed foods, caffeinated beverages, or low in fruits and vegetables) stress, and certain medications. Fortunately taking a good quality probiotic specifically designed to support your needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding can help to restore the balance. But, taking probiotics during pregnancy can also have some other pretty amazing benefits you probably didn’t know about.
Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking Probiotics During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Studies have found that mothers who take a probiotic during the last 2 months of pregnancy and the first 2 months of breastfeeding significantly reduce the risk of their child developing eczema. (Source: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology)
Probiotics May Reduce the Risk for Pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that kills 60,000 women globally each year, and involves destructive molecules being released from the placenta into the mothers blood stream damaging blood vessels, and causing high blood pressure and damage to the vital organs.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology analysed 33,000 women in Norway and found that women who ate 4.7 ounces of fermented milk products (probiotics) during the first half of their pregnancy reduced their risk of pre-eclampsia. It is thought that probiotics reduce inflammation in the intenstines, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Probiotics May Reduce the Risk of Postpartum Depression
Believe it or not, an imbalance in the gut has also been linked to emotional disorders. (Are you beginning to see how the health of your gut affects almost every other part of your body yet?)
Research has shown that taking probiotics can alter the neurotransmitters in the gut and boost your ability to cope with anxiety and depression. In an article published in Medscape Medical News, Ted Dinan, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Ireland, explained:
“Our preclinical studies suggest that depression is also associated with an alteration in the microbiota. Psychobiotics are good bacteria that have the potential to increase microbial diversity and treat the symptoms of depression.”
Probiotics May Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
The British Journal of Nutrition recently published research indicating that some strains of probiotics (namely Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis) can lower a woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes by 20%.
Probiotics May Help Aid Faster Postpartum Weight Loss
Research in the British Journal of Nutrition found that women who took a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (for the period between the first trimester of their pregnancy until they stopped breastfeeding at 6 months) were found to have less central obesity (i.e. a body mass index of 30 or more) 1 year after giving birth.
Probiotics Help Nutrient Absorption and Aids Digestion
And last, but not least, the one that most of us already knew: probiotics aid digestion and allow your body to absorb the nutrients it needs from foods. Of course, the more good stuff you are able to absorb, the more you’ll be able to pass on to your baby growing in your womb.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.