Should pregnant women take probiotic supplements? This was the question I asked my OBGyn nine years ago when I was pregnant with my sixth baby. (The thought had never occurred to me before, since I had never been super health conscience.) But now, entering into my healthier years, I was concerned about continuing to take the probiotic supplement I had so faithfully been consuming every day.
So I asked.
NO!!! Her resounding reply took my aback. I wasn’t sure why she was so against them.
My doc went on to explain that there was waaaaay too much we didn’t know about probiotics and that it was definitely best not to take any probiotic supplements so as not to harm the baby.
OK, I responded and obediently quit taking my probiotics.
Face palm…what I wish I would have known.
Now the question of whether or not supplements are the best way to take probiotics or if it’s better to get probiotics through fermented food, is better reserved for a different argument, but the fact remains that probiotics in and of themselves are good for a mama and her growing baby.
What are Probiotics?
Basically, probiotics are the friendly bacteria that help your gut remain healthy. We also know that a healthy gut seems to be a requirement for a healthy body, in most cases. I won’t get into the science behind probiotics — you can read more about them if you really wanna know. Just know that having a healthy balance of the right bacteria in your body is essential for healthy living and that probiotic supplements are one of the means to get healthy gut flora. It’s important to note that probiotics alone, won’t cure your gut health.
What are the Benefits of Probiotics?
As I mentioned earlier, probiotics are best known for the help they give in assisting healthy gut flora maintenance, but if you take a closer look, you’ll find that the benefits of taking probiotics go far beyond your belly.
As time goes on, I believe we’ll only find that there are more and more benefits of taking probiotics, but for now, we know that they can help with brain function, heart function, possible help for food allergy sufferers, etc. They may even help with certain mental issues.
Additionally, probiotic supplements have shown to help pregnant women with some of the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, but we’ll get into that in just a bit.
Are Supplements the Only Way to Take Probiotics?
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement. If you choose this route, you’ll need to make sure that you’re buying them from a reputable source and that you take them at the right time of the day.
Probiotics Can Help Ease Pregnancy Symptoms
By the time I was pregnant with my seventh baby, I knew a little more, and understood that if used correctly, probiotics could actually be an asset to my pregnant body – imagine that!
Anyone who’s ever been pregnant knows that pregnancy typically comes with a whole host of symptoms, some difficult to treat, for fear of harming the baby growing inside.
That’s why I turn to probiotics to help me with my pregnancy symptoms. Additionally, you could also consider taking probiotic supplements on a regular basis and hopefully prevent the symptoms before they start.
- Morning sickness
- Pregnancy anxiety and depression (this study found that probiotics during pregnancy may even contribute to an overall better mood! Could that mean it could help with Postpartum Depression?)
- Possibly lower the risk of pregnancy complications
I remember one waking up one night to horrible nausea. I felt hopeless. My morning sickness was at an all time high and nothing was helping. I desperately reached for my trusty bottle of probiotics, and after a short while, my tummy was soothed and I was off to bed.
Probiotics Can Help Your Growing Baby
By taking probiotics during pregnancy, you’ll help your baby develop his own micro biome, helping him to get the right start to good gut health. Imagine helping your little one get off to a good start with his immunities. A healthy micro biome will lay the foundation for good health. Your baby may even have a better chance of less childhood illnesses.
Probiotics are Not Without Their Risks
Before deciding whether or not you should take probiotics when pregnant, you must consider that nothing is without it’s risks. Ultimately, the decision to take or not take probiotics is up to you.
First and foremost, if you decide to take probiotics, make sure they are from a reputable source. Don’t just buy the cheapest brand you can find and call it good. Do you your research!
Additionally, probiotics can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort when you first start using them. Typically, those symptoms will resolve within a few days of using them. But it’s helpful to beware of the possible side effects of probiotic supplements.
Probiotics Supplements vs. Fermented Food
So no that you know there are options, you’ll need to decide what is best for you. Will you get your probiotics in supplement form or through fermented foods? Of course, anytime you can source something naturally, it’s always the best option. But what if you don’t like sauerkraut, or you find that fermented foods make you nauseous? Or perhaps you don’t mind fermented foods, but time is the issue. Then maybe the best options for you would be to take a supplement.
So it’s important to remember that getting probiotics into your system is important, for sure. Ultimately, fermented foods are the best source of probiotics, but when it’s not possible for you to consume fermented foods, then a probiotic supplement is a good standby if you want to take probiotics when you’re pregnant.
However, only you can truly decide whether taking probiotic supplements while pregnant is the best choice for you and your baby