Pregnancy is an exciting time for any woman. There are many changes and choices to consider, but it is imperative that the expectant mother takes the time to care for her body and the one growing inside.
Supplements, including probiotics, may be one way to safeguard a woman’s health. When looking for the best probiotics for pregnancy, there are many points to consider.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that are found in your digestive system. They are live microorganisms that benefit the body. While probiotics are naturally found in your digestive system, you can also find them naturally present in some foods and in supplement form.
How Do Probiotics Work?
What Are the Advantages of Probiotics?
There are many different thoughts about the advantages of probiotics. It is known that they do improve digestive health for most people.
Other possible advantages may include:
- Treat diarrhea
- Lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Improve brain function
- Lower blood pressure
- Treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Protect against bacterial infections
- Positively affect psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Decrease allergies
Are Probiotics Safe During Pregnancy?
It is generally thought that probiotics are safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. The National Institute of Health has done many studies to prove that the risk of problems due to probiotics is very low while the potential benefits are high.
Why Are Probiotics Important During Pregnancy?
While probiotics are a healthy choice for almost anyone, they are especially helpful during pregnancy. In addition to boosting the immune system so that the pregnant woman is less likely to become ill, they can also help with several other issues.
First of all, probiotics help keep the digestive system healthy. They can reduce constipation, which can be a big issue during pregnancy. Because of its beneficial effects on the digestive system, it may even help reduce morning sickness.
Additionally, other conditions of pregnancy may be diminished with the use of probiotics. These can include: gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and premature birth. Use of probiotics also appears to reduce the risk of dangerous Group B Strep bacteria that can harm the baby as it is born.
Can Probiotics During Pregnancy and Lactation Benefit Baby?
There is research that shows that when probiotics are taken by a pregnant or lactating woman, they also benefit the baby. Probiotic flora are not only found in the digestive tract, but also in other mucous membrane tissues such as the vaginal lining. It is important to have good bacteria in the vagina because when the baby is born, he is exposed to this flora. Exposure to the beneficial colonies helps the baby to have a healthy immune system from the very start of life.
When the mother takes probiotics, the baby is less likely to have allergies, asthma, or eczema. Additionally, when a new mother continues to take probiotics while breastfeeding, the baby is less likely to have colicky behaviors.
How to Choose a Probiotic For Use During Pregnancy
The first step when choosing a probiotic for use during pregnancy is to check with your physician to make sure that it is right for you. After that, you will want to look for a quality product from a reputable company. There are some specific elements to look for when choosing a probiotic.
For example, the recommendation is to find a probiotic with 10 to 20 billion CFU (Colony Forming Units). Additionally, you want to find a probiotic supplement that has a variety of bacteria strains rather than just one or two. Since each strain has a different quality, having a variety will help ensure that you get the best of all of them. You may also wish to find a probiotic that contains prebiotics. Prebiotics are the “food” for probiotics and help them colonize and grow as intended.
Finally, check for additional ingredients, especially if you are sensitive to some. For instance, supplements can contain wheat, which would be a problem if you are gluten free, or artificial ingredients. You may want to know if the supplements contain soy, dairy, nuts, sugar, or if they are vegetarian. Reading the label should give you all the information you need.
What Is the Best Way to Use Probiotics?
Different products have different directions, so be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. If the directions do not give a specific time to take the probiotic, then it is best to take your probiotic in the morning, either right before or right after your breakfast. The reason to take a probiotic with a healthy meal is that the food feeds the probiotic, and it helps to get it safely to the intestine where it does most of its work.
Mother’s Select Probiotics is my favorite because it contains more active probiotic bacteria than the other choices. Reasonably priced, it is also a quality product made in the USA.
While many of the other probiotic formulas are made of natural ingredients, Mother’s Select is also all vegetarian. The bottle itself also addresses many of the ailments of pregnancy and how it can help. It claims to help with digestive upset, constipation, and the prematurity of the baby.
An additional benefit to this product is that a pregnant woman only needs to take one capsule per day. Many of the others brands require multiple pills, large pills or a liquid which may not appeal to everyone.
When choosing the best probiotics for pregnancy, Mothers Select would be my choice. It is a good quality product by a reputable company.