Healthy Living

Probiotics During Pregnancy

Maybe you already know this, or maybe you don’t, but I am a certified doula (through Childbirth International) as well as a certified health coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute with a focus on pregnancy and families. I love birth. While I’m not pregnant at the moment, I love surrounding myself with anything related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery, etc.

So today, I’m going to talk about the need of probiotics during pregnancy and why you should incorporate more probiotic-rich foods into your diet.

I want to start out by saying that you should always consult with your doctor or other health-care professional if you have any concerns or questions about your health or before you start any new supplement, exercise or herbal remedy. Do not delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read here.

So let’s start out by determining what exactly is a probiotic?

You’ve probably heard the word thrown around before on commercials, but do you really know what it means? Probiotics are “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your digestive system healthy. They are live bacteria (and yeasts) that are essential for your gut health.  They also support the microbes in your intestines when you take antibiotics, which can kill off good microbes. The most common probiotics you’ll find are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.

While there is some discussion over the safety of taking probiotics during pregnancy due to there being such limited research out there, there have been no associations with probiotic use and miscarriages or malformations of any kind. A 2018 study found no evidence that taking probiotics during pregnancy either increases or decreases the risk of preterm birth or other infant and maternal adverse pregnancy outcomes. In fact, probiotics have been considered to have an effect on the likelihood of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Let’s face it, when you’re pregnant, you’re prone to all sorts of gastrointestinal issues, especially constipation and diarrhea, both of which probiotics can help with.

Side note: Increasing your fiber and fluid intake are also great ways to help constipation!

So how can you get your probiotics?

One of the easiest methods, excluding the use of supplements, is through live-cultured yogurt. I’m a fan of trying to get everything that I need through the use of whole foods. I recommend that you should have a chat with your doctor to find the best way for you to get your probiotics.

You can also find probiotics in Kefir. You might have heard the term “kefir” before. Kefir a fermented milk (or it can be made with milk substitutes) drink that has been catching on in the health food world in the last few years. It’s made with milk and kefir grains, which is a combination of bacteria, yeasts, milk proteins, and complex sugars.

There are probiotics in fermented foods as well, such as pickles, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Algae, Chlorella, and Spirulina are good sources of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Miso soup is another great source. Miso is made from fermented barley, beans, rice, or rye.

One of my favorite ways to get my probiotics, though, is by drinking kombucha – which is a fermented tea.

Just be cautious about drinking kombucha while pregnant. There is caffeine (though the good news is the caffeine levels in these teas are lower than regular teas) and many store bought brands contain a lot of sugar. For example, I have about 10 or 11 bottles of kombucha in my fridge from about 5 different brands. They range from 4 grams of sugar per 8 oz serving to 8 grams of sugar.

That’s all I have for today!

I’d love to hear from you if there is a supplement that you’ve tried and liked or how you’ve incorporated probiotics into your life!

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