As the understatement of the century, when you’re pregnant, we can all agree that’s a lot is going on inside your body. A million things have to happen in tandem to ensure you’re having a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Many areas of your pregnancy journey can benefit from you knowing how to be proactive. And speaking of “pros”, there’s one area in particular that I think gets overlooked; probiotics.
I’m here to arm you with the knowledge of all things probiotic, so that you can become a (sort of) probiotic expert.
In this short post, I’ll be discussing why all mums need to know about probiotics, how they help mother and child, how to get care when there are tummy problems, and ways to give you a healthier gut.
Understanding what probiotics are
Most of us only know the term from hearing it on TV or spending a bit too long reading the tiny labels on those yoghurt bottles in the supermarket. In fact, you wouldn’t be foolish for thinking it’s something that comes from dairy food.
Probiotics are simply bacteria in your stomach and intestines that do their best to keep everything in balance, so you’re fighting fit.
Gut health is a big thing in medical science right now, and that’s why you’ll hear so much about us needing more “good bacteria”. And as with everything else in pregnancy, the more “good” mums can get, the better.
Understanding why mums need them
Mums pass on probiotics in two very distinct ways:
You’re passing on all the good (and bad) bacteria to your child, so trying to have bacteria that are as healthy as possible is only a good thing.
Understanding why babies need them
There are many ways in which passing on those good bacteria will help a child. A healthy level of bacteria may have a knock-on effect in making sure a baby is going to have as good an immune system as possible and be able to fight off all kinds of bad bacteria.
There are some claims that passing on good biotics means a child won’t have eczema (according to Harvard, though the NHS disputes how true it is), although it is known to lower the chances of getting diarrhoea; something that massively dehydrates a baby.
Understanding when there are problems
Pregnancy and stomach pain; name a more iconic duo.
For some mums, the pregnancy period and sometime after can cause a lot of problems internally. Digestive health might not seem high up on the list, but getting checked out by a clinic who specialises in gastroenterology (like the One Welbeck centre in the UK) when you experience on-going stomach problems.
Understanding what products to use
The good news is that your body loves to make probiotics on its own. The bad news is that it loves doing so whenever you’re exercising regularly, sleeping enough hours and have no stress levels; pretty much the three things a new mum will never have.
So how can you make sure that you have good gut health easily, and in a way that doesn’t mean having to continually keep tabs on your diet and things like how much fibre you’re getting (I couldn’t even tell you how to quantify that)?
You go to the shop, of course. There are some notable products that are better to use when you’re pregnant, including:
You can drink those live yoghurt drinks if the taste agrees with you – it’s an easy way to get probiotics, but sometimes it’s just too sour.
There’s also the world of pre-biotics. Possibly another story for another day, these are the bacteria that help probiotics naturally occur in the body, and they can be found in foods like bananas, onions, oats and garlic – although don’t go mixing all that together.
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