Probiotics and Prebiotics in Pregnancy

We have all heard of probiotics and the way in which they can help improve digestive health. Indeed, they have been extremely popular for a number of years with an increasing number of products hitting the shelves that contain this healthy bacteria.[1]

Less is known, in a general sense, about prebiotics and yet they too can play an essential role in helping your digestive tract. However, what about when you are pregnant? Is it safe to use probiotic and prebiotic supplements during this phase of your life?

Well, allow us to explain.

probiotics in pregnancy 

Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Safe For Use During Pregnancy and Lactation?

Lactation during pregnancy

Pregnant women have been asking experts if probiotics used for treating conditions such as bacterial vaginosis and diarrhea are safe to use during pregnancy. It makes sense to understand this before you go ahead and take anything because you don’t want to make matters worse. This probiotics pregnancy issue is something that needs to be addressed.


The Research Says Probiotics in Pregnancy are Safe.

probiotics benefit in pregnancy

What you soon discover when you start to look into all of this is that the research is adamant that probiotics are not only safe during pregnancy but are also something that is recommended.[2] Indeed, it has been shown time and time again that the benefits of probiotics can be rather plentiful.

 Furthermore, reports noted by the NHS state that taking probiotics in pregnancy may even reduce the chances of your child developing allergies after they are born.[3] That being said, the research does state that it’s unsure as to whether or not it was due to them taking probiotics while pregnant or while breastfeeding. However, the one thing to take from that point is that it is indeed safe to take even during the breastfeeding and lactation phase.

What they discovered was that taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy reduced the chances of a child developing conditions such as eczema by 22%. This in itself is rather impressive and it does show why the taking of these probiotic supplements needs to become second nature.


Prebiotics in Pregnancy.

prebiotics during pregnancy

So, probiotics are safe in pregnancy, but what about prebiotics? Once again, the research shows that prebiotics are also safe during pregnancy.

In fact, the indications are that prebiotics should become a prerequisite for any pregnant woman. The aim is to make sure that you are healthy in every conceivable way as this does have a knock-on effect for your baby.

Once again, prebiotics contain healthy bacteria that your gut needs to have in abundance in order to digest your food correctly. Also, prebiotics will reduce the chances of developing different diseases and illnesses, so why would you not take them?


Why Keeping Your Gut Bacteria In Order Is So Important.

Probiotics keeps the gut bacteria good

We have already addressed the fact that both probiotics and prebiotics are important and safe to take while pregnant. However, to further strengthen the idea of this being a good idea, we can look at the reasons as to why keeping your gut bacteria in order is indeed so important.

We mentioned in the prebiotics section that you, as the mother, need to be healthy as this is something that will have a direct impact on the health of your baby. While this is true, it does go further than that.


It Controls Blood Sugar Levels.

Blood sugar control with probiotics

 This bacteria makes it easier for you to control any weight gain while, at the same time, also controlling your blood sugar levels. Higher blood sugar levels can not only cause issues with the health of you but also potentially increase the chance of complications in your newborn.[4]


Your Gut Bacteria Produces Chemicals.

 One thing that cannot be overlooked is that gut bacteria produces chemicals that then have a direct impact on fetal development. One such example is the production of folate. If you check prenatal vitamins, they will often contain folate as it’s known that a reduction in quantity of this chemical can have a negative impact on the development of your baby.

However, folate is produced in your gut by the bifidobacteria, so you can see why taking a supplement that contains it would be a good idea.[5]


Bacteria For The Birth Canal.

Probiotics for birth canal

One thing that you may not be aware of is the role that bacteria plays in the birth canal and how that too can have an impact on the early development and health of your baby.[6]

It’s known that as the baby passes through the birth canal that this plays a role in determining the early gut bacteria for the baby itself. In fact, after birth it has been shown that the gut bacteria in the baby closely resembles that which it has been exposed to during the pregnancy.

The gut bacteria from the mother has been found in various places including the placenta as well as the birth canal. It’s best to view the entire process as the mother passing on the seeds that will then grow into the microbiome for the baby.

In other words, if the gut bacteria for the mother is not balanced, then it has a direct impact on the health of the baby. Taking a probiotic supplement will solve that.


A Warning About Probiotics and Prebiotics.

Warnings for prebiotics during pregnancy

Before you run out and grab any kind of probiotic or prebiotic that you can get, we need to provide you with a word of warning.

It is essential that you know what you are taking and the quantities. It’s easy to be side-tracked by the description of taking billions of cultures, but don’t allow that to happen to you.

By sticking to supplements, you will be able to see quite clearly how much of certain types of bacteria you will be consuming. If you pick up products from your supermarket shelf, then they will simply list the types of bacteria and then reveal nothing else.

It’s safer if everything has been measured and clearly displayed for you to know exactly what you should expect to happen. This is not the kind of thing where you want it to come down to some guesswork on your part.

Both probiotics and prebiotics are completely safe to take during pregnancy and the lactation phase. However, stick to supplements at all times. They are better for you, they are controlled, and the difference that they will make to not only your health but that of your baby will amaze you.



[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-probiotics-really-work/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056676/

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/probiotics-and-fish-oil-pregnancy-may-reduce-allergies-children/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4498615/

[5] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/12/2742/4670076

[6] https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0050191

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