Soon after birth, the health of both the mother and new born is extremely fragile and delicate. New mums must do all it takes to look after themselves and their babies. Have you heard about the immense benefits probiotics have on new mums? Well, if you are a new mum, it is important to understand the importance and benefits of probiotics during pregnancy and for new time mothers.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living organisms that are very much similar to the natural microorganisms found in the gut or intestines. The majority of these bacteria are followed by yeast. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces are some of the most commonly used probiotics and are thus called as ‘friendly bacteria’.
Are probiotics safe during pregnancy?
Probably, probiotics are considered to be safe during pregnancy, but not completely because of the wide variety of probiotics. Also, if you have been suffering from an illness that affects your immune system, it is important for you to consult your health care provider regarding the same.
One may also consider taking foods that are naturally rich in probiotics and prebiotics. Considering the prebiotic supplements, although there haven’t been much and enough research but they are still considered to be safe during pregnancy.
There have been studies that suggest the chances of your baby developing eczema, if one takes probiotics in pregnancy. But again, there is not enough research to prove that this is certainly the case.
Probiotics decrease the risk of preeclampsia
Preeclampsia generally occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. Swelling in hands, ankles, feet, face and an increase in the blood pressure are some of the commonly marked symptoms of preeclampsia. It is important to deal with preeclampsia, otherwise it could lead to a more deteriorated condition and thus, make the situation worse.
As per the studies, there have been less cases of preeclampsia in women who took probiotics as compared to those who did not. Considering some other factors contributing to preeclampsia such as smoking, weight and several other factors, the risk here was also comparatively lower for women who took probiotics. Conclusively, taking probiotics lowered the risk of preeclampsia by 20% in pregnant women.
Fermented foods are considered to be safe when consumed during oregnancy. They help in the improvement of mom’s and the baby’s immune system and gut health. Given below is a list of a few of these fermented foods:
Miso is a fermented paste that adds an umami flavour to the dishes. This is made from barley, rice or soybeans.
Boil the water and kombu and add into it, the bonito flakes. After sometime, remove the same from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can then strain the water and get the tofu and dried wakame return to the heat till the time it starts to boil and then remove it from the heat. Take the miso paste, stir it into a cup of liquid and let it dissolve. This can then be stirred back into the cooling soup and served with some onions.
Take a clean glass and mix sour cream and cream well and leave it at a warm place for 12-24 hours. Now keep it in the fridge and try to re-culture it again after a period of 2 weeks.
Take a cabbage and chop it finely or you can use a food processor. Now take about 4 large glass jars, add about 1/3 of the cabbage to the jars and fill the rest of it with water. Then, cover the jar and leave it for up to 8 days. After the said period, you can strain if you want.
Mix 5 teaspoons of sea salt in 2 quarts of chlorine free water to make a brine. Now, add a few cloves of garlic, some tannin-containing leaves and 1/3 of the spices in a half-gallon jar. Take half of the cucumbers and pack them tightly on the top of the spices. Add a layer of leaves, garlic and spices again and then another packed layer of cucumbers and finally, some more garlic and spices. Then, pour the brine over the pickles in a manner that there is a headspace of approximately 1-2 inches between the pickles and the surface of the brine. Cover the jar and store the same at a room temperature. Remember, pickles should taste sour when done and the brine should also turn cloudy.
Okay so, this one is pretty easy. You just have to cut some carrots into sticks and pack them into a jar. Then, pour some brine over them and cover the jar with a lid tightly. You then have to leave it for a period of 5-10 days and you are done!
7 Benefits of Taking Probiotics During Pregnancy
Probiotics are nothing but live and beneficial bacteria that keeps you healthy. These bacteria along with their genes constitute the human microbiome. New born babies generally acquire these beneficial bacteria from their mothers. Apart from eating a healthy diet, a new mother needs to take in various other supplements to maintain both her and her baby’s health.
Listed below are few ways probiotics can help new mums.
1. Helps digest food and absorb nutrients
A healthy gut is the sign of a healthy body. Both pregnancy and motherhood exhaust all the nutrients from the mother. This can cause fatigue, anemia, and other serious health issues. Supplementing the new mother with probiotics can enhance digestion and absorb nutrients more effectively. Additionally, some probiotics also contain Vitamin K and B which ensures to meet any nutritional deficiencies.
2. Babies acquire beneficial bacteria from the mother
Just like innate immunity, babies also acquire beneficial bacteria from the mother. The new born leaves the sterile germ free environment of the womb and enters the contaminated world where it is at a risk of developing infections. Apparently, even the gut of the new born is sterile and acquiring beneficial bacteria completely depends on mother’s microbiome.
If a mother does not have healthy gut bacteria, the baby will also be deprived of it. This makes the baby automatically prone to infections and a weak immune system. Hence, it is advised that new mother consume sufficient probiotics to induce a healthy and mature immune system in her baby.
3. Eases baby’s digestive issues
A new born has a very delicate digestive tract and often has poor digestion. Healthy bacteria present in the mother’s gut get transferred to the baby’s gut via her breast milk. When a mother consumes healthy probiotics, all the beneficial bacteria is also transferred to the baby’s gut. This help ease colic, acid reflux, and other digestive issues in babies.
4. Crucial for caesarean delivery
When a baby is born through vaginal delivery, it obtains all the friendly bacteria from the mother’s birth canal through the vagina. However, in the caesarean delivery this is not the case. Hence the mother has to supplement with probiotics to ensure her good health and to transfer good bacteria to her baby.
5. Prevents Eczema in Infants
Newborns are extremely prone to allergic skin diseases like eczema. Experts have revealed that supplementing the new mother with probiotics during pregnancy and post-delivery passes friendly bacteria through breast milk and protects baby against skin diseases like eczema. Hence, probiotics is extremely essential for your little one.
6. Boosts the mother’s immune system
A healthy mother is very important for a healthy baby. To ensure this, she must take care of her immune system. Probiotics does just that. Probiotics contain good bacteria that is required for your gut that can attack the bad bacteria and fight off diseases and infections. Probiotic formula is also known to assist in absorption of nutrients and aid in digestion. It supports the well-being for both the mother and newborn baby.
7. Reduces risk of diarrhoea in infants
Diarrhoea is potentially dangerous for babies as they get dehydrated quickly making them excessively tired. This can be dangerous to their life too. Lactobacillus GG commonly found in probiotics is a type of good gut bacteria that reduces the incidence of diarrhoea in infants and toddlers. Hence, babies requires sufficient of this good bacteria to keep them sound and healthy.
Other Benefits of Probiotics
- Helps in absorption of minerals
- Eliminates toxins from the body
- Aids digestion of complex carbohydrates
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
- Helps prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in new borns
Foods Rich in Probiotics
So new mums need to add probiotics to their diet. Where do they find them? Probiotic supplements are easily available in the market. But a healthier option would be to eat probiotic rich foods instead. Listed below are some foods rich in probiotics.
- Yoghurt: Best source of probiotic that you can consume. It can be bought in the market and also easily made at home.
- Kefir: Made from goat’s milk and kefir fermented grain, it is a rich source of anti-oxidants.
- Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is rich in gut friendly bacteria and are known to reduce various allergy symptoms.
- Tempeh: Tempeh are great sources of probiotics and are extremely beneficial for new mums.
- Kombucha Tea: Most of us like drinking tea. Fermented tea like Kombucha Tea is a great probiotic drink which is extremely beneficial for both new mums and new babies.
Although probiotics have existed since ages, the world has recently realised about the importance of probiotics. Today, it has become a part and parcel of eating in every household. New mums need probiotics to maintain their good health and their babies too.