By Kate O’Flynn, BHSc, ND

Sustaining the growth and development of another new life can place a great deal of stress on an expectant mother’s body.

A healthy immune system starts in the gut. A high-quality, multi-strain broad spectrum probiotic may help support gut function and provide an additional boost to the immune system. Additionally, probiotics support the health of the digestive, urogenital and immune systems in women during and after pregnancy, helping to alleviate conditions such as constipation and urogenital discomfort. Studies have also demonstrated benefits of probiotic use with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes, medically diagnosed pre-eclampsia and maternal weight gain after childbirth. Probiotics are also a useful treatment for bacterial vaginosis and other urogenital infections during pregnancy.

Balanced glucose metabolism during pregnancy is best for both mother and baby, as the risk of pregnancy-related complications are reduced and long-term health benefits are increased. In conjunction with dietary counselling, probiotics may help to maintain normal healthy glucose levels during and after pregnancy, in healthy normoglycemic women.3

Beneficial probiotic bacteria given to breastfeeding women may assist with the symptomatic relief of medically diagnosed lactational mastitis,1,2 an inflammation of breast tissue that causes discomfort during breastfeeding.

Mastitis affects 3-33% of lactating women and leads to painful, swollen breasts. Although the condition may happen at any point during the lactation period, between 75-95% of cases occur within the first 12 weeks, with the frequency particularly higher during the second and third weeks postpartum.1

High levels of Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis are found in the milk of mothers with lactational mastitis, and are believed to be the cause of the condition. Meanwhile, significant levels of beneficial microbes including Lactobacillus gasseri and L. salivarius are found in the milk of healthy mothers.1,2

In a clinical trial, a blend of L. gasseri and L. salivarius was administered to breastfeeding women with mastitis for 4 weeks. At day 14, those who supplemented showed no clinical signs of mastitis, whereas the condition persisted in the control group.1

A second trial showed that using either L. salivarius or L. fermentum (also found in the breast milk of healthy mothers) provided great improvement in symptoms and reduced a recurrence of lactational mastitis.2

A connection has also been found between the impact of maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and childhood growth patterns,4 including reduced risk of atopic eczema in childhood5 and the support of healthy microbial balance to assist digestive and immune defenses.6,7

 


References:

  1. Laitinen K, Poussa T, Isolauri E, et al. Probiotics and dietary counselling contribute to glucose regulation during and after pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. BJN 2009;101:1679-1687.
  2. Jiménez E, Fernández L, Maldonado A, et al. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008;74(15):4650-5.
  3. Arroyo R, Martín V, Maldonado A, et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50(12):1551-8.
  4. Luoto R, Kalliomaki M, Laitinen K, et al. International J Obesity 2010;34:1531-1537.
  5. Doege K, Grajecki D, Zyriax BC, et al. Impact of maternal supplementation with probiotics during pregnancy on atopic eczema in childhood–a meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(1):1-6.
  6. Leyer GJ, Li S, Mubasher ME, et al. Probiotic effects on cold and in uenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. Pediatrics 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-179.
  7. Guarino A, Canani RB, Spagnuolo MI, et al. J Pediatr Gastro Nutr 1997 Nov;25(5):516-519.

*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