Probiotics During Pregnancy
As an expecting mother, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the information presented to you about how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. You may be seeking advice from friends or loved ones who have experienced pregnancy and getting opinions about the types of foods you should or shouldn’t be consuming for nine months. Besides doing things like maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly as directed by your doctor, and taking appropriate vitamins and minerals1, you may be wondering if incorporating probiotics into your diet is both safe and effective. We take a closer look at what probiotics are, how they work, the types of sources from which you can get probiotics, and the safety of taking them during pregnancy.
What are Probiotics and How Do They Work?
You may have come across the term probiotics before or overheard your friend who’s a health fiend mention them, but you’re still unsure what they are. Probiotics are the combination of live bacteria and/or yeasts that occur within your body naturally and are extremely beneficial for your body.2 If you’re sick, your doctor may mention that there’s bad bacteria in your body that’s causing a type of infection. Though bad bacteria exist in the body, you also carry good bacteria—probiotics—that help to keep your body healthy and to maintain balance.2
Probiotics are a part of your microbiome, and your body contains trillions of microbes that work together to keep your body healthy.2 Some of the most common places linked to beneficial microbes in the body are your gut, mouth, and lungs.2 Probiotics work to help your body maintain balance, fighting off the bad bacteria with the good. In fact, probiotics can help your body digest food, break down and absorb medications, and support the cells that line your gut to prevent any bad bacteria from entering your blood.2
What Foods Are Natural Sources of Probiotics?
The great news about probiotics is that you’re able to get them naturally from certain foods that may already be in your diet. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association has a detailed list of foods pregnant women can consume. On the list is yogurt, including live yogurt and live yogurt drinks, as well as kombucha tea, which is a fermented tea high in probiotics.2 Yogurt and kombucha tea work great for a simple breakfast or lunchtime meal, and for dinner you could try adding a side of fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, or fermented pickles to ensure you get probiotics into your daily diet.3
Are Probiotics Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
You may have read about consuming probiotics during pregnancy. Recent studies have examined the effects of probiotics on pregnant women, discerning whether it is safe for pregnant women to consume probiotics. One concern pregnant women may have is that probiotics could potentially cause systemic infections, such as probiotic-related bacteremia and fungemia.2
However, the risk of developing infections is low, and such infections are very unlikely to reach the systemic circulation of the fetus and improbable of causing harm.4 In fact, a recent study that tested 1,500 pregnant women found that after probiotic treatment between 32 and 36 weeks began, there was no increase in the incidence of miscarriages or malformations.4
If you’re experiencing heartburn while pregnant, then a probiotic diet could help support healthy digestion and protect against harmful bacteria.2 However, if you’re not keen on incorporating probiotics into your diet and you’re experiencing heartburn, then an antacid like TUMS may be an option to relieve discomfort. Speak to your doctor to determine whether TUMS or other treatments are appropriate for you while pregnant.
Consult with your doctor about ways you can improve your diet and other lifestyle changes that can help treat heartburn, especially while pregnant. Learn more about TUMS products and discover more resources about taking TUMS while pregnant, remedies for pregnancy and heartburn, and more.
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- Nutrition During Pregnancy. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/nutrition-during-pregnancy. Accessed on 11/06/2020.
- Probiotics. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics. Accessed on 11/06/2020.
- Getting Probiotics Naturally During Pregnancy. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/medication/getting-probiotics-naturally-during-pregnancy-11595. Accessed on 11/06/2020.
- Are Probiotics Safe for Use During Pregnancy and Lactation? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056676/. Accessed on 11/06/2020.