Wondering about whether you should take probiotics while pregnant? That’s understandable! It seems the laundry list of things to avoid when pregnant seems to grow every year.
Well, you’ll be glad to know that the FDA considers probiotics to be a GRAS supplement, which means they’re Generally Recognized As Safe for all humans to consume.
So let’s discuss some things you may want to know and better understand about these friendly flora if you or someone you know is considering supplementing with probiotics while pregnant.
As always, prior to taking probiotics or any other supplement, it’s important to consult your trusted healthcare provider.
How Probiotics Work When You’re Pregnant
Probiotics are designed to support the health and balance of your gut, digestive system and immune function by complementing the friendly flora in your digestive tract and help replenish good bacteria you’ve lost. So whether you are pregnant or not, one of the most ideal ways to keep your gut functioning at its most optimal state is balancing it with healthy bacteria.
As your body goes through several changes during prenatal and postnatal development, your microbiome may be thrown off balance by diet, lifestyle, certain medications and so on, so you want to do what you can to help support your gut microbiome so it remains in the healthiest shape possible.
Probiotics work on your behalf to keep your gut microbiome functioning normally. As for any foods that you consume, probiotics may even assist with digestion, which is beneficial to both you and your baby.
The Link Between Good Gut Health and Immune Function During Pregnancy
Good gut health indicates that your gut has a proper balance of good bacteria to bad, and probiotics may contribute to better gut health by providing needed support.
In fact, 70-80% of your immune system activity is housed in your gut. When your body goes through massive changes such as pregnancy to create a more inclusive environment for the baby, the immune system may have to adjust to cater to the baby’s needs as well.
Probiotics & Your Digestive System During Pregnancy
Constipation and irregular bowels may be fairly common issues for expectant mothers. Probiotics provide digestive support, and may help alleviate occasional gas and bloating, even support with regularity.
The Best Probiotic Sources for Pregnant Women
You can consume probiotics through either food or dietary supplements. Foods that contain adequate amounts of probiotics include kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut. But the probiotics you consume by eating do not often measure up to the richness of probiotic bacteria in dietary supplements.
Probiotic bacteria may provide many health-supporting benefits to the human body, including gut, digestive and immune functions.
There are multiple different strains (genus and species) of probiotic bacteria that serve unique purposes, and may be beneficial for pregnant women. Lactobacilli Bacteria primarily live in the small intestines and the most well-known is Acidophilus, which has been studied in areas like immune support. Bifidobacteria live primarily in the large intestines and have been studied in the area of support for challenges such as occasional irregularity.
With a doctor’s consent, mothers-to-be (and lactating mothers) may be able to safely add probiotics to their daily regimen.
Prior to choosing a probiotic, look for ones that contain diverse probiotic blends like Probulin’s Women’s Probiotic, Daily Care or Total Care Probiotic have easily printable labels on our website if you’d like to print a copy to discuss with your physician.