IN THIS ARTICLE
What are probiotics? | What to look for in a pre and postnatal probiotic | What foods contain probiotics? | What are the benefits of prenatal probiotics and postnatal probiotics? | Supports postnatal emotional well being | Supports the immune system | Supports gut health | Are probiotics safe to take during pregnancy? | Are pre and postnatal probiotics safe for newborns?
You may have heard about probiotics and the importance of gut health in the past few years. Research has recently been focusing on the importance of probiotics as they pertain to immune and postnatal mental wellbeing, as well. Interestingly enough, health experts are now referring to the digestive system as “the second brain.” So, what are prenatal probiotics, are probiotics safe during pregnancy, and what are their benefits?
Probiotics are supplements (often capsules) containing live microorganisms. All digestive tracts contain “good” bacteria (about 100 trillion, if you can believe it!) to help digest food. These supplements are designed to balance the gut bacteria (or “flora”) that may have been damaged by stress, an unbalanced diet or inflammation. Basically, it gives your gut health some support to help you fire on all cylinders!
Many people choose to take probiotics daily throughout their lives, but there’s been special focus lately on probiotic supplements designed to be taken shortly before, during and after pregnancy. Given that common early pregnancy symptoms are related to nausea, morning sickness, mood changes and digestive issues (like constipation, diarrhea, or tummy bloating,) it makes sense that probiotics can help play a role in supporting digestive health and supporting postnatal mood.
There are a few things to look for when starting a prenatal probiotic. As always though, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any kind of supplement. Look for a pre/postnatal probiotic that is specifically marked as safe for both baby and mom. Many capsules are also gluten free and vegetarian.
Probiotics are measured by units called “colony forming units” (CFU for short). CFU simply refers to the number of viable cells. And those numbers vary greatly between products; probiotic CFU numbers range from 1 million to 50 billion. But bigger doesn’t always mean better—CFU dosage recommendations vary for the specific conditions they’re meant to support.
What’s most important is that you look for a probiotic that comes from a reputable source, especially since you’re taking these supplements for two. Enfamom Prenatal Probiotics contain a strain that has been clinically studied for 10 years, and are formulated to provide the optimal level of 6 billon CFU. This strain is specifically designed as a pre and postnatal probiotic.
While certain foods contain probiotics, they may not contain enough for optimal health, especially during pregnancy. Also, they may just not be to your liking due to some of the foods having an—ahem, acquired—taste.
- Certain dairy products like kefir, traditional buttermilk, some cheeses and yogurt
- Fermented soy products like tempeh, miso and natto
- Fermented veggies like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles
- Fermented drinks like kombucha and tepache
Yogurt is considered the most common source of probiotics in Western diets. Unfortunately, there’s also a large prevalence of undiagnosed dairy or lactose intolerances, which may make getting enough dairy in your diet a bit uncomfortable. It’s estimated that between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, including up to 75 percent of African Americans and 90 percent of Asian Americans.
So, dairy products might not agree with you and you might be missing the probiotics that could help support wellbeing. Some soft cheeses, despite having probiotics, are not recommended if you’re pregnant as well. If you’re keen on yogurt, be sure to check that it’s got active bacterial culture in it and try to limit added sugar.
With common pregnancy food aversions to aromatic or spicy foods (hello kimchi, hello heartburn!) some people find taking a probiotic supplement easier and more comfortable. Plus, pre and postnatal probiotic supplements are formulated to pack a healthy punch specifically for mom and baby—no sauerkraut required.
Consider these pre and postnatal probiotics a triple threat: the Enfamom strain specifically supports postnatal emotional wellness, digestive health and provides immune system support.* Those bonuses, along with the benefits from prenatal vitamins give you peace of mind that you’re taking steps for optimal health for both you and baby.
It’s no secret that all stages of pregnancy come with their fair share of stress. After you’ve given birth, fluctuating hormones, sleepless nights, and paying constant attention to your beautiful baby can understandably wear down on nerves, energy and emotional wellbeing. What’s more, given how hectic having a new baby in the home can be, there’s fewer opportunities for mom to have that much-needed me-time to refill the wellness cup.
There’s more understanding coming out about how gut health affects mood, and the findings are astounding. Healthy gut bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals that your brain uses to help keep physical and mental processes running smoothly.
DID YOU KNOW:
The bacteria in your gut may create up to 90% of your body's supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity.
Probiotics may help support your immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics also promote your body’s creation of natural antibodies. Certain probiotics stimulate the production of something called “short chain fatty acids” and other key substances that then support the immune system and prevent harmful gut bacteria from taking over your gut environment.
Pre and postnatal probiotics are one of the many things that can also help support digestive wellness—including your body’s ability to handle issues like diarrhea and constipation. While there’s several things you can do that may help support digestive wellness (such as eating a balanced diet and properly hydrating,) those benefits may apply to your body’s ability to focus its immune response on more substantial issues.
One of the more common benefits people hear about with probiotics (pre and postnatal included), is how they support digestive health and wellness. Probiotics help balance gut health and support digestive health. One of the most common side effects of pregnancy can be nausea and morning sickness.
What’s more, in early pregnancy, food aversions and sensitivity to smells can also send queasiness soaring. Pre and postnatal probiotics help support your digestive system without having to consume a lot of probiotic-rich foods.
You may be asking yourself, “Can I take probiotics while pregnant?” The answer is a “yes” from doctors. There are several potential benefits to taking pre and postnatal probiotics—from digestive health, to postnatal mental wellbeing, to immune health support, pre and postnatal probiotic supplements are safe to take and gentle on both mama and baby.
Pre and postnatal probiotics are formulated to be safe for mama and newborns, as they make for a happy baby gut microbiome. Once your little one enters the world, you can check with your pediatrician to see if they think prebiotics and probiotics for your baby is a good idea.
Along with your pre and postnatal probiotics and pre and postnatal vitamins, you can seek out some baby probiotic drops. And fear not: it’s safe for both you and baby to take probiotics at the same time. Your pediatrician will have more information on what’s best to give your baby in regard to supplementation.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll be happy to learn that breast milk contains natural probiotics. With that in mind, supporting your bod with probiotic supplements may benefit both you and baby.
There’s a wealth of information about the benefits of specific supplements, so it’s no wonder if you feel a bit confused about what to take and when. You can breathe a sigh of relief that along with prenatal vitamins, pre and postnatal probiotics are both safe for you and baby, and have been shown to help support you throughout your pregnancy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.