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Are Probiotics Safe For Pregnancy

Are All Probiotics Safe During Pregnancy

Taking probiotics while pregnant

We cannot speak for other manufacturers’ products, but the large majority of our probiotic supplements are safe to take when pregnant or breast feeding. Our product packaging features a during pregnancy logo to make it easy to see which ones are safe for you. However, there are two products where we do not include this logo on the packaging, and recommend you consult your doctor before taking them.

Which Probiotic Is Best While Im Pregnant

The short answer is that we dont know. The studies of probiotics in pregnancy have looked at a variety of products. Commonly studied strains of bacteria include lactobacillus, streptococcus, and bifidobacterium. But the effectiveness and safety of one probiotic product doesnt mean that another product is just as safe or effective.

Its possible that the best probiotic for you depends on what youre trying to accomplish. If youre trying to minimize nausea, you may choose a different probiotic than if youre hoping to prevent GDM. If youre interested in taking a probiotic while pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about which one may be best for you.

Can You Take Probiotics While Pregnant What You Need To Know

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Yes, you can take probiotics while pregnant or breastfeeding. Taking probiotics while pregnant makes the gut barrier stronger, protecting mothers from bacteria that can cause pregnancy complications. Other benefits include strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of eczema in babies.

Youre pregnant and feeling overwhelmed with emotions. Excitement and love for your growing baby, and an increasing sense of responsibility as well as uncertainty. You might be asking yourself: Am I doing this right? And how can I best support myself and my baby during this time?

Chances are high that if youre reading this post youre dedicated to living as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. A huge part of that is being mindful of what youre putting into your body.

If youre wondering if probiotics are safe to take during pregnancy, the answer is YES. Probiotics are absolutely safe and healthy for women to take throughout the four trimesters of pregnancy.

In fact, there are powerful health benefits of taking probiotics when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, as well as post-partum and while breastfeeding. In this blog post, we will discuss what probiotics are exactly, how they affect your and your babys health during pregnancy, and additional things to be aware of.

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Are Probiotic Supplements Beneficial During Pregnancy

Probiotics help relieve many of the unpleasant symptoms typically related to pregnancy such as constipation, diarrhea, and even gestational diabetes. Probiotics also help resist hypertension during pregnancy.Moreover, a weakened immune system is common during pregnancy, resulting in a higher risk of catching common illnesses like the flu or common cold. Getting sick is never fun, but getting sick while pregnant can be dangerous for the baby making the health of your immune system a priority while pregnant. Given that the gut is closely connected with your immune system, its imperative to protect and maintain a healthy gut biome throughout your pregnancy.

Information Sources And Search Term

OptiBac Probiotics For Pregnancy (30 capsules)

A literature search was conducted between June 5 and June 10, 2020 using the search engines Web of Science, ProQuest, PubMed and CINAHL. The following search terms were used to retrieve peer-reviewed articles: AND AND . This search yielded 1793 articles, of which 1519 articles were retained after reference manager duplication , and 1185 articles were retained after manual deduplication .

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They Can Keep Infections At Bay

This is a sensitive topic, and the evidence is insufficient to make definitive statements.

Nevertheless, there is reason to assume that probiotics can support in the battle against harmful bacteria in the body, lowering the risk of illnesses that can contribute to premature births.

Specific lactobacilli strains have been discovered to populate the vaginal tract, suppress infections associated with preterm birth, and modulate the immune system.

A separate study evaluating data gathered from a Norwegian group discovered that pregnant women who consumed probiotics, most typically through milk products, had a statistically significant decreased risk of premature birth.

One of the most potent characteristics of probiotic bacteria is their capacity to fight and limit the growth of infections.

Furthermore, probiotic bacteria can alter the environment of the gut, making it less conducive to pathogen survival.

Additionally, according to a 2014 Current Diabetes Reports research, probiotics in obese and diabetic pregnant individuals marginally reduced the incidence of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia , and premature birth.

Article Screening And Data Collection

A 3-level screening process was performed by an independent reviewer. At level 1, 1185 articles were evaluated based on title and abstract, and articles were screened out if they were not in the English language, human studies, or one of the identified eligible study designs. The remaining 244 articles were carried forward for screening at level 2, where full texts were obtained. Articles were excluded if there was no full-text access and if probiotic/prebiotic/synbiotic supplementation was to the infant and not the mother, or to both mother and infant. Articles were further excluded if the population of interest was not pregnant or lactating people, if the information provided was insufficient for the requirements of this study, if supplementation was not probiotic, prebiotic or synbiotic-related, and if the article was not a primary research article, leaving 70 studies. Sample size and country of study information were extracted at this level. At level 3, data were extracted from the 70 studies to capture PICO information 25. We also noted the primary outcome of interest of the 70 studies under review, and categorized each study based on the primary outcome into 9 groups: pregnancy outcome , maternal metabolic health, maternal microbiome and gastrointestinal health, maternal breast health and breastmilk, maternal mental health, infant metabolic health, infant microbiome and gastrointestinal health, infant allergy and immune health, and infant growth and development .

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May Improve Maternal Metabolic Health

If youre pregnant, staying healthy is essential for reducing the risk of complications and of developing certain health conditions after delivery.

Thankfully, probiotic supplements may help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels in pregnancy, which could improve health and lower the risk of complications.

A 2018 review that included 12 randomized controlled trials found that the use of probiotics during pregnancy reduced blood sugar and insulin levels .

In a 2017 review of 4 randomized controlled trials in 288 women with gestational diabetes characterized by elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy probiotics significantly reduced insulin resistance, though they didnt reduce blood sugar levels .

The researchers suggested that this could help those with gestational diabetes reduce the need for blood sugar-reducing medication later in pregnancy .

Many other studies have also shown how probiotic supplements may benefit insulin and blood sugar levels when taken during pregnancy .

Additionally, a 2017 study suggested that treatment with HN001 during pregnancy may reduce the risk of development of gestational diabetes, especially in women over the age of 35 years and those who previously had the condition .

These findings are promising, but keep in mind that research in this area is ongoing.

For some, the supplements may be beneficial during pregnancy.

What Foods Have Probiotics

Should you take probiotics when pregnant?

Many foods are naturally rich in live, active microorganisms. Most are considered safe during pregnancy, but check with your provider if you have concerns, and never consume unpasteurized dairy products during pregnancy.

Probiotic foods include:

  • Kefir, a type of fermented milk drink similar to yogurt
  • Brined or fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, and pickles made with salt
  • Aged hard cheeses, like cheddar

Learn more:

BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

Canny GO and McCormick BA. 2008. Bacteria in the intestine, helpful residents or enemies from within? Infection and Immunity 76:3360-3373.

Dugoua JJ et al. 2009. Probiotic safety in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces spp. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 31:542-552.

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Are Probiotics During Pregnancy Safe

So, are probiotics safe during pregnancy?

Both the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine have concluded probiotics dont appear to have any risks during pregnancy .

Probiotics have a track record for being very safe, even for vulnerable populations like pregnant moms, infants and the elderly. While there is a minuscule concern that probiotics can cause infections, the chances are less than one in a million from lactobacillus strains, and one in 5.6 million from S. bouladrii. The risk is even less if you dont have serious health complications. Other strains have no reports of these infections .

Do Many People Take Probiotics While Pregnant

Probiotics are used by between 1% and 4% of pregnant women in the United States and Canada. Some Countries in Europe, such as the Netherlands, have a greater percentage.

Surprisingly, women approaching childbearing age are the most common group of probiotic users.

There hasnt been a lot of research done on the benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy.

Regardless, there are numerous advantages to taking a probiotic pill at any age, all of which will benefit you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.

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Postnatal Depression And Mental Wellbeing

Why is this important? According to the NHS, it is thought that at least 1 in 10 women suffers from postnatal depression20. The exact cause is unknown and is likely due to many different reasons, one of which could be the changes we see in the gut microbiome and consequent inflammation. There is a strong connection between the gut and brain , so any changes to the gut environment can in turn affect our mood. The gut is also responsible for making many necessary chemicals, including serotonin .

Strain focus:

Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001: This is one of the very few probiotic strains to be trialled specifically for postnatal depression. A gold standard trial including 380 pregnant women found L. rhamnosus HN001 was able to significantly lower depression and anxiety scores. The probiotic was taken during pregnancy and for six months post-birth21.

Additionally, this strain was shown to improve mental health scores and social functioning in pre-diabetic patients. During this double-blinded, randomised 12 weeks study22 participants were either given Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 or placebo at the same time as following an intermittent fasting regime. The probiotic group saw statistically significant improvements to their mood and mental health scores.

Healthcare professionals can read more about Pregnancy and Mental Health here.

Best Way To Get Probiotics During Pregnancy

Optibac Probiotic For Pregnancy

There are so many options when it comes to probiotic supplements that it can be confusing. Generally you want a wide range of well-studied probiotic strains. You can take probiotic supplements orally or use them topically. The best prenatal probiotic will have a high amount of quality strains without fillers or contaminants.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt are also good options. However, the probiotics in these foods may not be as concentrated as a supplement or offer the same strains. Combining fermented foods with prenatal probiotics is a great combo.

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How Will Probiotics Affect Me While Pregnant

Using probiotics during pregnancy works much in the same manner as it does at any other point in your life.

They inhabit the small and large intestines and aid in the improvement of numerous bodily functions. Probiotics are live bacteria found in some food products and commonly found in supplements.

These are ingested through the mouth and proceed down to your intestines, where they naturally thrive and perform their many functions.

Probiotics are supplemental to the millions of beneficial bacteria that naturally reside in a normal human gut and aid in many key functions, like supporting digestion, bowel activity, detoxifying, immune system support, and brain function. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are two common probiotic bacterial species.

Most people just dont have enough of a good balance or a diverse range of probiotics in their gut naturally. Stress, an imbalanced diet, processed foods, and certain drugs can kill off the healthy bacteria in your gut.

A probiotic supplement merely replenishes these beneficial bacteria in the gut, ensuring that they continue to support the overall health of your body. It is best to support the body from the inside out during pregnancy.

Taking high-quality probiotics during pregnancy and the first several weeks after birth will support and encourage a healthy pregnancy and create the groundwork for your babys health.

Garden Of Life Once Daily Prenatal Probiotic

Why its great: This 20 billion CFUs, once daily probiotic supplement contains 16 probiotic strains for digestive health, immune system support, and so much more. Each bottle contains a 30 day supply of capsules that are easily swallowed or can be broken open and sprinkled over food. Garden of Life probiotics are all dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and vegetarian.

Because the probiotics are shelf-stable, you can easily throw them in your purse and not worry about them losing potency. This supplement also includes 115mg of organic Acacia fiber, which is a prebiotic that helps good bacteria thrive. All and all this is a great choice throughout pregnancy and lactation.

Keep in mind: These pills come in a mysteriously large bottle, so storing them can be a bit cumbersome.

Good for: Soon to be mommas who are planning to breastfeed and looking for a targeted probiotic supplement.

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What Are Probiotics Exactly

Probiotics are live microorganisms designed to enhance the bacterial flora of different parts of your bodyprimarily your gut, but also your mouth, urinary tract, and vaginal region. While some bacteria can make us sick, others are actually good for us and help keep us healthy.

If we dont have enough good bacteria, our bodys microbiome can get thrown out of balance, potentially leaving us vulnerable to illness or uncomfortable symptoms .

Thats where probiotics come in: using microorganisms that are essentially the same as the ones naturally occurring in our bodies, probiotics can help us restore the balance of good and bad bacteria.

Some foods naturally contain probiotics, including yogurt and cottage cheese. There are also fermented products, such as sauerkraut, that offer probiotics. If you dont like those foods or dont usually have access to them, you can also take a supplement.

Not everyone should or needs to take probiotics. Many of us have bodies that can regulate the balance of bacteria all on their own. But taking certain medications, like antibiotics, or having certain health conditions, such ad inflammatory bowel disease , can disrupt your microbiome more than usual.

Best Probiotics To Take During Pregnancy

Can you take probiotics during pregnancy?

The best probiotic to take during pregnancy is one that has been extensively researched in pregnant women, and therefore comes with an excellent safety profile for this group. The strains of bacteria used should ideally support both the health of the expectant mum, and also the health of her growing baby.

Pregnancy can be safely recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers who are looking for a probiotic supplement during this time. This three strain product supports both mum and baby, and has shown in human clinical trials to support mums mental wellbeing, gut health and vaginal health. Additionally, clinical trial results show that these three strains also support babies immune health through both the umbilical blood circulation, and later through the breast milk.

Once little one arrives in the world, new mums often want to continue to support their development with a specific baby probiotic. If mum is breast feeding Pregnancy remains a good option, as baby will get the probiotic benefits of what mum is taking through her breast milk.

For mums that are not breast-feeding, or if the child is a little bit older, the following two products are given directly to the infant:

Babies & Children comes in a handy sachet format, to be mixed with a babies bottle, or added to their food. This product is again suitable from birth, and is proven to support immune health.

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Does It Matter What Type Of Probiotics You Take

Typically, the strains promoted for treating vaginal or yeast infections are from the lactobacillus family: lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and lactobacillus reuteri.

Dr. Chang-Jackson says there is no specific strain she would recommend other than the ones commonly marketed to women needing vaginal flora support. She does, however, remind patients to be aware of the limitations of probiotics.

Many of the probiotics that are sold arent cleared by the FDA, so just like with any supplement, you have to take it with a grain of salt, she says.

Before you take any medication or supplement when pregnant, discuss it with your provider first.

Probiotics & Pregnancy Benefits

Consuming probiotics in pregnancy can be useful for supporting the mother’s microbiome. Growing research suggests the human microbiome plays an influential role in maternal and child health outcomes . Some studies suggest an imbalance of healthy-to-unhealthy bacteria may influence risk of pregnancy complications, leading to increased risk of preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and excessive weight gain in pregnancy .

Probiotic supplements taken in pregnancy may support better blood sugar regulation and levels. Studies have shown probiotic supplements may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes by up to 23% and for those who have GDM, they may lower the risk of having a larger baby .

Another really interesting note is that we used to believe that the womb and placenta were sterile and an infant’s first bacterial contact was through the birth canal. However, emerging research is showing that the placenta actually isn’t sterile at all, but is plentiful with bacteria that can be transferred to the fetus throughout gestation .

Probiotic supplementation in late pregnancy is also being shown that it may help protect against infant allergies, eczema, colic, spitting up, and more .

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