The health of a mother directly affects the health of her unborn child. The absence of infectious diseases, strong immunity, and proper nutrition – guarantee a good intrauterine development of the fetus. Sometimes outside help is needed to support the mother’s body.
Probiotics can be prescribed to those women who have intestinal problems caused by the presence of pathogenic microflora and a lack of beneficial bacteria.
What are probiotics and why do pregnant women need them?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are often used in medical therapy to restore balance in the intestines. They can be contained in food (sour milk products) or in the form of dietary supplements. The main probiotic microorganisms are: lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, propionic acid bacteria, lactococci.
There is a positive trend in the normalization of intestinal microflora with regular use of useful microculture. A common problem for pregnant women is indigestion. Women experience increased gas formation, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and reduced immunity during gestation.
The intestine contains the main protective force of the human body. If he is healthy then the body is safe. Pregnant women are allowed to take dietary supplements with beneficial microorganisms.
Effects of probiotics on the body of pregnant women
The main problem of probiotics is the low controllability of their area of application. Studies of the effect of probiotics on the body of pregnant women have been carried out in some countries. Clinical studies in Finland have found that the use of probiotics by pregnant women significantly improves the intestinal health of newborns.
Italian scientists from the University of Turin concluded that newborns are more likely to suffer from intestinal problems and severe colic with a lack of lactobacilli in the mother. No cases of miscarriage or fetal complications have been identified in studies of the effect of probiotics on pregnant women.
A meta-analysis conducted by Canadian researchers found no association between probiotic intake and C-section rates. The results of studies have not established an association of probiotics with birth weight and gestational age. The use of probiotics by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers is not dangerous according to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
How can probiotics help pregnant women?
Good bacteria found in food or supplements help the digestive system of pregnant women work more efficiently. The number of harmful bacteria is reduced by taking an additional microculture and the microflora and functional properties of the intestine are improved. Food is better absorbed, and the number of unpleasant symptoms of belching, bloating, and indigestion is reduced.
Supporting the body with probiotics reduces the number of complications with the health of the expectant mother, which can affect the outcome of the pregnancy and the health of the baby. Probiotics help pregnant women solve the following problems:
- Infectious diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory processes in the intestines
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Eczema and dermatitis
A study in the journal Natural Medicine found that the use of probiotics reduces the likelihood of gestational diabetes. Probiotics act as an auxiliary and main drug for restoring a woman’s health and increasing immunity during pregnancy.
Are there any contraindications for taking probiotics?
Probiotics have practically no contraindications for use. There are just a few points that must be considered when taking this dietary supplement. It is believed that probiotics are useless in celiac disease. They won’t do any harm, but they won’t do any good either.
Probiotics are not used to directly treat intestinal infections. This is only a supportive therapy that allows you to restore the intestinal microflora after the destructive effects of pathogenic microflora. Too long an intake of lactobacilli inhibits the natural intestinal microflora. The production of our beneficial bacteria is inhibited or completely stopped. Probiotics are ineffective in obesity, diabetes, and food allergies.
For several decades, the sufficient practice has been accumulated to use beneficial strains of bacteria during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These studies have shown that the risk of developing an infection from lactobacilli is negligible.
Probiotics and the health of the unborn child
Probiotic research has proven that the better the mother’s gut microflora, the better the baby’s health. Probiotics contribute to the following positive results:
- Favorably affect the immune status of the child
- Prevent the appearance of thrush, bronchial asthma, eczema, and atomic dermatitis
- Increase the quantity and diversity of the intestinal microflora of the newborn
- Improve the quality of the child’s primary digestive processes
- Minimize the risks of developing digestive allergies in the first year of a baby’s life
Remember that you are taking care of yourself and your baby by taking probiotics during pregnancy. By doing this, you create a strong immune barrier against harmful bacteria and viruses that are dangerous to your baby. The first bacteria that a baby encounters when it passes through the birth canal is the bacteria of its mother.
Criteria for choosing probiotics for pregnant women
The choice of any dietary supplement, vitamins, or drugs during the gestation period must be approached with special care. Let’s note the main criteria for choosing probiotics:
Choose a trusted manufacturer
Give preference only to those firms that have conducted clinical trials, and have marked quality marks, certification, and respect in the medical field. Appreciate the openness of the manufacturer. He must make contact, tell in detail about his products, and not hide anything.
Carefully study the composition of the probiotic
A good probiotic should ideally contain at least 5 different beneficial bacteria. It is better that they are of different types and do not conflict with each other. Probiotics should not contain hidden ingredients or allergens.
Choose easily digestible forms of probiotics
Probiotics in the form of tablets or gelatin capsules are slow-acting. They don’t start right away. It takes time to activate them. Consider this point when weighing the effectiveness of reception. Fast-acting probiotics are starter cultures and powders.
Don’t confuse it with prebiotics
Prebiotics are the environment that is essential for the development of probiotics. Prebiotics are non-microbial in origin and are not digested in the gut. Prebiotics are also called “good bacteria food”. These drugs are often prescribed in parallel with probiotics, but not instead of them.
When and how to take probiotics during pregnancy?
Probiotics can be prescribed by a doctor from the first trimester. It doesn’t make sense to use them without reason. Body support in the form of dietary supplements with beneficial bacteria is necessary only in case of obvious violations of digestion or vaginal microflora.
The rules for taking probiotics depend on the manufacturer of the composition of the drug and the features of its activation. Most of the beneficial bacteria supplements are taken before meals. The number of capsules to be taken per day ranges from 1 to 2. It is considered more effective to take the bacteria before bedtime.
Always start taking supplements in small doses to see how your body reacts to the ingredients. Discontinue the drug if an allergic rash or other negative consequences appear. More detailed and specific recommendations can only be given by a doctor.
How long can you take probiotics during pregnancy?
The duration of taking probiotics during the gestation period depends on the degree of the problem that worries the woman. It is believed that it takes at least 4 weeks for the beneficial bacteria to start working. It is perfectly acceptable to continue the use of probiotics if during this period the state of the intestinal microflora has not improved.
There is no direct ban on taking probiotics on an ongoing basis. The body tends to relax a lot. He will get used to outside support if you do not allow him to independently suppress the pathogenic microflora.
Taking probiotics is based on the complexity of the situation. Duration for prevention should not be more than 4-5 weeks. Taking probiotics may well take a couple of months for medicinal purposes. It is advisable to continue taking probiotics only if there is a clear trend towards better health. Consult your doctor if there is no result. You can add prebiotics or change the type of probiotics.
When are Probiotics Useless During Pregnancy?
Taking probiotics may be pointless if a woman has chronic digestive problems. You should not once again load your body when there are serious diseases of the digestive system.
Probiotics will not help if the pregnant woman is poisoned and persistent symptoms are observed in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Medical assistance in the form of droppers and adsorbents is required in this case.
Taking probiotics is completely useless in acute intestinal infections. Completely different medicines and urgent help from doctors are needed in this case. Probiotics can be prescribed as maintenance therapy after treatment has been completed.
Functional disorders of the digestive system are also not treated with probiotics. Probiotics will not help if a woman does not chew food well, she has a deformity of the esophagus, intestinal obstruction, and other problems. They are powerless in functional dyspepsia and biliary disorder.
Does taking probiotics affect the due date?
Care must be taken when using probiotics, choosing only a high-quality and proven drug. There is a theoretical possibility of complications when taking it, but it is extremely low. Probiotics are a fairly safe supplement that does not pose a serious threat to gestation and are not capable of provoking preterm labor.
Probiotics cannot affect the due date. They improve the microflora of the intestines and vagina, releasing the birth canal and the mother’s body from harmful bacteria. This reduces the risk of complications and the possibility of infection of the child from the mother.
Can taking probiotics affect a baby’s colic?
Colic in a child is associated with the immaturity of the digestive system. Probiotics can only indirectly influence the course of this temporary state. It is believed that the health of the mother’s intestines directly affects the health of the baby.
Most likely, the child will also suffer from these symptoms if the pregnant woman has severe bloating, indigestion, and constipation. The intake of probiotics improves the condition of the mother’s intestinal microflora, directly having a beneficial effect on the intestines of the unborn baby. Probiotics do not harm the infant’s immature digestive system and the intensity of colic.
What foods contain probiotics and are beneficial during pregnancy?
Probiotics do not have to be taken in the form of drugs. You can adjust your diet by enriching it with foods rich in lacto and bifid bacteria or other beneficial microcultures. Probiotics can be substituted by natural yogurts without additives and flavorings; pickled cabbage; fermented milk drinks (buttermilk, fermented baked milk); cheeses with live cultures.
Foods rich in beneficial micro-organisms are only beneficial if you tolerate them. This is especially true for lactic acid bacteria. It is better to give preference to lactose-free probiotics if a woman does not tolerate milk.
Taking probiotics in the prenatal period has the most positive effect. It significantly reduces the incidence of birth canal dysbiosis. The risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth is reduced, and colonization of the mother’s intestines by beneficial microflora is increased. Probiotics reduce the risk of disease in a child in the future.
The use of certain probiotics improves maternal glucose metabolism. All these points undoubtedly reflect the benefits of taking probiotics during the gestation period. Good bacteria will not harm mother and baby. Studies have proven that probiotics are safe for pregnant women and their children. The decision to take probiotics should be made with your doctor.