Probiotics in Pregnancy May Reduce Postpartum Depression

Other than your prenatal vitamin, you may try to avoid medications and supplements during pregnancy. But there is one supplement you might want to reconsider. Research on the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy is somewhat limited but there is growing evidence they may help you and your baby stay healthy. And the latest study concludes probiotics in pregnancy may reduce postpartum depression.

An Overview of Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy microorganisms including bacteria and yeast that are present in the intestinal tract. They are often known as healthy bacteria because they are associated with some terrific benefits for your entire body. Introducing more probiotics through fermented foods (such as miso soup, kefir and yogurt) or a probiotics supplement can increase the population of healthy flora in the gut. The two most common types of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics in Pregnancy May Reduce Postpartum DepressionProbiotics in Pregnancy May Reduce Postpartum Depression

New research shows one of the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy for mothers may occur after childbirth. Postpartum depression and anxiety affects approximately one in nine women who give birth. But a study from the University of Auckland and the University of Otago showed taking probiotics in pregnancy may reduce postpartum depression and anxiety by 50%.

Different probiotics supplements contain different strains of healthy bacteria and in varying doses. This study proved promising results for the specific L. rhamnosus HN001 supplement. Different supplements may not yield the same results but the findings are a positive potential strategy for a serious condition many new moms face.

Probiotics Help Babies’ Microbiome

Probiotics are a healthy part of the body’s microbiome. That is, the community of microorganisms that live in the gut. Babies do not develop a microbiome prior to birth but they can start doing so at birth.

With the help of probiotics, healthy bacteria can accumulate in the vagina. Babies born via vaginal birth get their first dose of probiotics when they emerge into the world. Their microbiomes start in the healthiest possible way. Breastfeeding then continues to populate the gut with probiotics, especially if a mother continues to take probiotics supplements and eats a diet rich in probiotics. Plus, breastfeeding securely seals the intestines to prevent a “leaky gut” that can introduce harmful microbes into the microbiome.

Through recent research, experts discovered that even babies born via c-section can benefit from healthy bacteria in the vagina. In a procedure known as seeding, c-section babies can be colonized in their mother’s vaginal bacteria to reap some of its incredible advantages.

Probiotics Support a Healthy Immune System for Moms and Babies

In general, probiotics support a healthy body and especially a healthy immune system. Since immune health relies heavily on a healthy microbiome, keeping moms-to-be and their unborn babies healthy are among the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy.

Feeling weak and rundown, needing to take prescription medication or contracting infections that can spread to babies are certainly not ideal during pregnancy. A strong immune system helps moms and babies avoid these potentially harmful circumstances.

Sources: Mothering, Natural News, American Pregnancy and Mind, Body, Green