Probiotics, Preconception and Pregnancy.

This is a guest post written by my peer Angela Sinclair who holds qualifications in Western Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Naturopathy and practices as Digestive Detective – specialising in digestive health.

Angela practises in Sydney and can be contacted via her website, click here.

Lately Angela has been regularly posting across her own social media platforms on the increasing knowledge we are gaining on the microbiome and our systemic health, so I asked Angela if she would write for me on the topic of eating and supplementing with probiotics during pregnancy.

Pro means ‘to give’ Biotics mean ‘life’.

Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are similar to what is found in your digestive system.

As mothers our microbiome is passed on not only to our children but down through generations and this is why preconception care is essential. Going into a pregnancy you want your digestive system to be working optimally and your gut microbiota (bacteria) to be at the top of their game.

The bacteria which seeds your baby’s microbiome comes from the vaginal passage on delivery. The baby ingests all the bacteria on the way out and then continues to receive bacteria from skin to skin contact and breast feeding. This has been shown to be different for a C-section baby these babies tend to be seeded with more bacteria from the doctors, nurses and the environment in the delivery room but they also will receive bacteria from their mothers with skin to skin contact and breast feeding.

Babies microbiomes (gut) are set with in the first 1000 days of life so by the time they are three years of age they have their life long bacteria. It is interesting that research is providing us insight into how these bacteria will go on to impact these children lives in areas of weight management, health and diseases.

The benefits of probiotics are numerous;

  • They promote a healthy digestive system
  • They protect against pathogens
  • They offer gut lining support
  • They strengthen the immune system lowering the risk of food allergies, asthma and eczema
  • They help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • They produce enzymes, vitamins and short chain fatty acids to help with overall digestive health
  • They modulate inflammation in the body which can help reduce the risk of pre eclampsia
  • They help with intestinal motility reducing constipation and diarrhoea
  • They also help with production of bile and gastric secretions needed for digestion
  • They reduce the incidence of yeast infections
  • They can help reduce risk of postpartum depression by balancing neurotransmitters that are produced in the gut

Probiotics are packaged as broad spectrum – lots of strains in one bottle; or as a specific strain. For specific conditions it is best to work with a health professional to make sure you get the one that is right for your condition.

  • If you are taking them to help reduce the symptoms of allergies, eczema and asthma you should take a specific strain; Lactobaccillus rhamnosus LGG. This is found In Ethical Nutrients Eczema Shield.
  • Bioceuticals SB Floractive can be useful for symptoms of diarrhoea and Candida.
  • Bioceuticals Ultrabiotic 45 Nine probiotics strains which support digestive function and urogenital health.
  • Bioceuticals Ultrabiotic Pregnancy Care helps with symptomatic relief of mastitis and help maintain normal glucose levels throughout pregnancy and after pregnancy.
  • Bioceuticals Babybiotics mostly bifidobacterium species, the most common bacteria in the GI tract of babies.

Other places you can find Probiotics.

Traditional cultures received their probiotics from fermented foods. Fermented foods are easy to make at home and are inexpensive to make. Try adding sauerkraut, Kim Chi, beet kvass, yoghurt or kefir (either milk or coconut water) into your diet to give you added probiotics. You don’t really need that much. As little as a tablespoon per day can make a difference to your gut bacteria. When introducing fermented foods into our diet go low and slow as they can make you a bit gassy at the outset.

Probiotics are a must in any good preconception and pregnancy care plan, we know now that our gut bacteria affects how we think, feel, react and function.

It is important to note that probiotics don’t recolonise the gut they are like tourists – they stay for a week or so and then they are on their way, so for best benefits take them regularly.

To learn more from Angela on this subject, read the following:

Top 10 Probiotic Foods

Top 7 Prebiotic Foods

Gut Loving Diet

Big thanks Angela, Kx