Probiotics during Pregnancy
There is a growing movement towards the use of probiotics products, with growing evidence of the health benefits of maintaining that healthy balance of your intestinal flora. But is it safe to take probiotics during pregnancy, and even if it’s safe is there any good reason to do so?
Everyone has bacteria in their digestive system, and estimates are that there are anywhere up to 500 or more different strains of bacteria in your gut. In fact there is billions of the little critters living there right now. And those little bugs coexist with you quite peacefully, and in fact evidence is that if you’ve got the right bugs in your system they will help keep your system well regulated and healthy.
But upset the balance of bugs in your system, for example by eating something contaminated with nasty bugs, or taking some antibiotics, and you may well begin to feel less than healthy. Diarrhoea is a common symptom.
Probiotics contain various strains of friendly bacteria hich, when taken either by eating or drinking, should help re-establish the healthy balance of bacteria in your intestinal system and therefore re-establish your health. And there is significant scientific evidence that using probiotics products can help improve various unpleasant conditions. But what about taking probiotics during pregnancy? Is it safe to take probiotics in pregnancy or should it be avoided?
There is little evidence of any serious medical side effects to taking probiotics, either for pregnant women or for anybody else. Occasionally perhaps a mild and temporary dose of gas or stomach upset, but little worse than that. However the mere fact that you will not get sick from taking probiotics is not a sufficient reason to take them, either during pregnancy or any other time.
However there is evidence that there are positive health benefits for women to take a probiotics supplement during pregnancy. For example a study in Finland has established that the use of probiotics in pregnancy can help reduce the risks of a serious form of obesity called adiposity, reduce the risk of diabetes and even reduced risk for the baby of obesity later in life. And there are other benefits in helping maintain a healthy balance of your intestinal flora, and in particular at reducing diarrhoea.
Like everything it is always important to consult your doctor before any significant dietary change, however the risks to your health of introducing probiotics to your diet in pregnancy are extremely limited, and it would seem that there are positive health benefits from doing so.
It is important however to remember that the strains of bacteria in probiotic products are not regulated by the FDA, and for this reason anyone considering taking them should only be taking well-recognised high quality probiotics supplements, and avoid some of the more esoteric brands, the risks and benefits of which are unknown.
To find out more about how to identify high quality probiotics products visit my website: probiotics during pregnancy.
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