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This is a question asked by many expectant mums. And the short answer is that probiotics such as acidophilus, are generally very safe to use, even at this most delicate time. However, it is always worth checking with the relevant manufacturer, as there may be some exceptions.
We cannot speak for other manufacturers' products, but the large majority of our probiotic supplements are safe to take when pregnant or breast feeding. Our product packaging features a ‘during pregnancy’ logo to make it easy to see which ones are safe for you. However, there are two products where we do not include this logo on the packaging, and recommend you consult your doctor before taking them.
The probiotic strain Saccharomyces boulardii, which is used in two of our supplements: ‘Saccharomyces boulardii’ and ‘For travelling abroad’ has not yet been trialled in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
As we always aim to make recommendations which are backed up with as much research as possible, we feel it’s best that pregnant & breastfeeding women take either of these products only under a doctor’s care.
The best probiotic to take during pregnancy is one that has been extensively researched in pregnant women, and therefore comes with an excellent safety profile for this group. The strains of bacteria used should ideally support both the health of the expectant mum, and also the health of her growing baby.
‘For pregnancy’ can be safely recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers who are looking for a probiotic supplement during this time. This three strain product supports both mum and baby, and has shown in human clinical trials to support mums mental wellbeing, gut health and vaginal health. Additionally, clinical trial results show that these three strains also support babies’ immune health through both the umbilical blood circulation, and later through the breast milk.
Once little one ‘arrives’ in the world, new mums often want to continue to support their development with a specific ‘baby probiotic’. If mum is breast feeding ‘For pregnancy’ remains a good option, as baby will get the probiotic benefits of what mum is taking through her breast milk.
For mums that are not breast-feeding, or if the child is a little bit older, the following two products are given directly to the infant:
‘For your baby’ comes in an easy-to-use liquid drop format that can be dropped directly in to babies’ mouth, or added to their bottle. This well-researched product is suitable from birth, and is used in neo-natal units around the world. Human clinical trials show that this product supports a healthy microbiome in infants. It also inhibits pathogens associated with common allergic symptoms, and digestive discomfort in babies.
'For babies & children' comes in a handy sachet format, to be mixed with a babies’ bottle, or added to their food. This product is again suitable from birth, and is proven to support immune health.
Another way to support healthy microbial balance in the gut is to consume traditional fermented foods, such as live yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Most of these fermented foods are perfectly safe during pregnancy, although there is a slight question mark over any non-pasteurised dairy products, due to a concern over listeria. This is the same reason why pregnant women are often advised not to eat soft cheeses. If the dairy is pasteurised it is of course, safe to consume. Or there are plenty of non-dairy alternatives for raw milk kefir, such as water kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut etc. You can read more about probiotic and fermented foods on our Learning Lab website.
You might also be interested in: When is the best time of day to take live cultures?
Plus, you can find out more about probiotics for pregnancy on the Probiotics Learning Lab.