The ABC of probiotics – from pregnancy to toddlers
Have you ever wondered whether probiotics can help when you’re pregnant? And can your child take a probiotic? The team at Life-Space has answers to some of your most common questions.
What are probiotics and why are they important?
Probiotics are living micro-organisms that can assist your health by supporting your immune system; they help maintain healthy levels of the ‘’good’’ bacteria in your gut. There are many different strains of probiotic, the most commonly used ones start with Latin names like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.
Cultured foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and sourdough bread are particularly good sources of probiotics. You can also take a probiotic supplement, which can help you maintain good bacterial diversity to support your general health and wellbeing.
What things can contribute to your general health before you become pregnant?
It’s important to ensure that you head into pregnancy with a holistic approach to good health. Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice or hummus, as well as folic acid from leafy green veggies.
Good fats and oils from fish as well as vitamin C from red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are equally important.
And to support digestive and immune system health before you’re pregnant, you can also take a probiotic like Life-Space Broad Spectrum Probiotic. It contains both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria and has 15 different strains of this beneficial bacteria.
Is there anything a woman can do to check the status of her gut health before she becomes pregnant?
If you have a few hundred dollars to spare and are keen to know about the different strains of bacteria in your gut, there are various companies online that will provide kits to test your poo and provide a report.
How can probiotics support vaginal health before pregnancy?
Research consistently shows that a healthy gut, nourished by trillions of tiny microbes, also helps to keep your vaginal microbiota in good shape.
A healthy vagina is dominated by Lactobacillus bacteria. Probiotic supplementation, with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 & Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, may assist in maintaining healthy vaginal flora. Life-Space Probiotic for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding contains these two strains.
How can probiotics support your health while you’re pregnant?
Probiotics can help support a healthy microbiome and general well-being during pregnancy. Life-Space Probiotic for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding supports a healthy immune system, the maintenance of healthy vaginal flora as well as supporting the health and function of the digestive tract.
When could parents consider giving their baby a probiotic?
The evidence tells us that a healthy pregnancy, a vaginal delivery at full term and exclusive breastfeeding support the gut microbiota in a baby. But bringing tiny humans into the world rarely goes to plan!
There are multiple foods you can introduce to a baby’s diet that contain beneficial bacteria such as yoghurt and cultured vegetables. In addition to this, you can also supplement their diet with probiotics which help encourage good bacterial diversity to assist the development of a healthy microbiome.
Probiotics may also support the health and function of the GIT and assist with maintaining the good or friendly bacteria following antibiotic therapy.
The probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 may be useful if you have a family history of eczema and want to help reduce the risk of your children developing this condition. However, you would have needed to plan ahead! It needs to be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding, then given to the baby for the first 2 years of life.
Probiotics may contain many different strains of bacteria which can play diverse roles in our body. Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Baby is designed for babies aged between 6 months and 3 years and can support the health and function of your child’s immune system.
It’s always wise to talk to your baby’s doctor or child health nurse before beginning any new supplements.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.