Health and nutrition are vital during pregnancy for both baby and mom.
This means having a digestive system working at optimal strength too.
Several areas can upset the function of the digestive system and negatively effect mom and baby.
Some of these include: poor nutrition, lack of vegetables, fruits, and essential vitamins and minerals, coffee, caffeinated sodas, processed foods, antibiotic use, and elevated stress levels.
All of these items have the ability to change the bacteria levels within the mom’s body, which is also shared with the baby.
Too many of these negative influences can hinder the baby’s immune system in the womb and even through adulthood.
An even greater problem is when a baby is delivered through C-section.
Research has shown that babies who are born via C-section have less diversity in their gut bacteria than those born vaginally.
This difference in bacteria diversity is due to the fact that a great deal of bacteria resides in the vaginal canal.
When a baby is born naturally, this dose of bacteria kick starts their immune system.
Research has also shown that mothers who take high-cultured probiotics during pregnancy lower their baby’s chances of allergies by nearly 50%.
This includes allergies such as asthma, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.
Pregnant mothers also benefit from probiotics during pregnancy because it boosts their immune system and reduces their chances of catching respiratory infections and colds.
Additional Benefits of Probiotics During Pregnancy
1. Reduce Risk of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition during pregnancy that’s characterized by high blood pressure, fluid retention, and protein in urine.
In America, preeclampsia is one of the main causes of maternal death.
In the American Journal of Epidemiology, a research study was published with an analysis of over 33,000 mothers in Norway.
The study found that the mothers who consumed 4.7 ounces of fermented milk products in their first and second trimesters had an overall lower risk of developing preeclampsia.
It has also been researched that probiotic supplements may reduce inflammation within the intestines and in turn potentially lower blood pressure.
2. Helps Nutrient Absorption and Digestion
Probiotics may be able to assist the break down of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and then processes the fiber into healthy fatty acids.
These healthy fatty acids help nourish the cell lining of the intestines.
This process may help lessen heartburn, bloating, gas, and constipation (all common ailments while pregnant).
The healthier and more tightly sealed our intestinal walls are, the more nutrients we can absorb from our food.
More nutrient absorption for the mom means that the baby will get more as well!
3. Help Lose Pregnancy Weight Quicker
According to a research study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, it found that mothers who took probiotic supplements (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) during their first trimester, up until they stopped breastfeeding, had less central obesity one year after childbirth.
Central obesity is when body mass index (BMI) reaches 30 or above.
4. Lower Risk of Postpartum Depression
According to Medscape Medical News, the relationship between the brain and the gut is very intricate and important.
Initial research studies are being completed to help delve into the possibility of probiotic supplements altering neurotransmitters in the gut.
This alteration may increase the ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
If the research continues to come back positive, this may be a great step forward in reducing postpartum depression, which affects nearly 10 – 20% of new moms.
Probiotics continue to improve the health of individuals and now mothers and babies can benefit too.
By using probiotics, mothers can help lower their baby’s chance of allergies, improve their nutrient absorption, help reduce baby weight, and lower their chances of postpartum depression.
Be sure to check in with your healthcare provider before supplementing your pregnancy with probiotics.
If you need suggestions for a helpful probiotic, check out our list of the 10 best probiotic supplements.