Are Probiotics Safe for Pregnant Women?

Can Pregnant Women Use Probiotics?

Probiotics benefit women of all ages, including pregnant women. While probiotics are generally considered safe, it’s best to consult your doctor before changing your diet or taking any new supplements. [1].

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that support digestion and other processes in the body. [2]. There are over 400 bacteria in the digestive system. The most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. These “good bacteria” help break down food and even help fight off harmful invaders. Let’s take a closer look at how they benefit women.

Benefits of Probiotics for Women

Women suffer from gastrointestinal disorders more than men [3]. Research shows that women who take probiotics regularly experience relief and have less difficulty with bowel movements. [4] [5].

Not only do probiotics aid digestion, some evidence indicates they reduce risks such as urinary tract and bacterial vaginosis. [6]. Women with low levels of gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifido strains get these diseases more often than those with normal levels. This friendly bacteria creates an acidic environment in the urinary tract and vaginal area, which helps keep unwanted bacteria in check.

Probiotics also aid in the absorption of essential nutrients such as iron. [7] they support the immune system [8]promote a balanced mood [9]and even stimulate thinking and memory [10].

Taking Probiotics During and After Pregnancyn Benefits

Many women struggle with constipation during pregnancy. Studies show that probiotics, especially Bifidobacterium, soften stools, increase bowel movement frequency and make defecation easier. [11].

However, in most cases, it can also cause undesirable effects in pregnant women, eg diarrhea. Probiotics can also help with this, as they help slow the passage of food through the digestive tract. While helping to regulate digestion; Because food moves more slowly, it also means a better chance for nutrient absorption, which is extremely important during pregnancy.

Probiotics are available in a variety of forms, and different individuals may respond differently. Yogurt and kefir may not be ideal for pregnant women. This is especially true when you have morning sickness. And not all yogurts contain probiotics. Look for the phrase ‘Live cultures’ in products and review which cultures are included. It’s always best to check the label to make sure you know what you’re eating.

Pickled or fermented foods such as sauerkraut are great sources of natural probiotic bacteria.

Fermented tea, Kmbucha, is also a tremendous source of probiotics. Of course, probiotic supplements are also available if your pregnancy is preventing you from eating and cutting back on food. Just be sure to consult your doctor first.

Probiotics During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding Is It Useful?

Taking probiotics during pregnancy or breastfeeding is generally considered safe because the probiotics stay in the digestive tract and do not enter the blood. This means that in no way will they reach a developing fetus or a nursing baby. However, they increase the digestion and availability of nutrients, which is important for both mother and child.

GlobalHealingCenter, Learn Whether Probiotics Are Safe for Pregnant Women, 2016


  1. Rutten N1, Van der Gugten A, Uiterwaal C, Vlieger A, Rijkers G, Van der Ent K. Maternal use of probiotics during pregnancy and effects on their offspring’s health in an unselected population . Eur J Pediatr. 2015 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. National Center for Integrative and Complementary Health. Probiotics, last updated July 2015.
  3. Sun-Young Lee, Jeong Hwan Kim, In-Kyung Sung, Hyung-Seok Park, Choon-Jo Jin, Won Hyeok Choe, So Young Kwon, Chang Hong Lee, Kyoo Wan Choi. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Is More Common in Women Regardless of the Menstrual Phase: A Rome II-based Survey . J Korean Med Sci. 2007 Oct; 22(5): 851–854. Published online 2007 Oct 31. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2007.22.5.851.
  4. Niedzielin K1, Kordecki H, Birkenfeld B. A controlled, double-blind, randomized study on the efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum 299V in patients with irritable bowel syndrome . Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Oct;13(10):1143-7.
  5. Dimidi E, Christodoulides S, Fragkos K, Scott SM, Whelan K. The Effect of Probiotics on Functional Constipation in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 3, 2014.
  6. Balzaretti S, Taverniti V, Rondini G, Marcolegio G, Minuzzo M, Remagni MC, Fiore W, Arioli S, Guglielmetti S. The Vaginal Isolate Lactobacillus Paracasei LPC-SO1 (DSM 26760) Is Suitable for Oral Administration . Front Microbiol. 2015 Sep 15;6:952. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00952. eCollection 2015.
  7. Hoppe M, Onning G, Berggren A, Hulthen L. Probiotic Strain Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v Increases Iron Absorption from an Iron-Supplemented Fruit Drink: A Double-Isotope Cross-Over Single-Blind Study in Women of Reproductive Age . BrJ Nutr. 2015 Oct;114(8):1195-202. doi: 10.1017/S000711451500241X.
  8. Plaza-Diaz J, Gomez-Llorente C, Fontana L, Gil A. Modulation of immunity and inflammatory gene expression in the gut, in inflammatory diseases of the gut and in the liver by probiotics . WorldJ Gastroenterol. 2014 Nov 14; 20(42): 15632–15649. Published online 2014 Nov 14. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i42.15632.
  9. Slyepchenko A, Carvalho AF, Cha DS, Kasper S, McIntyre RS. Gut emotions – mechanisms of action of probiotics as novel therapeutic targets for depression and anxiety disorders . CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(10):1770-86.
  10. Misra S, Medhi B. Role of probiotics as memory enhancer . IndianJ Pharmacol. 2013 May-June; 45(3): 311–312. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.111917.
  11. Corliss, J. “Probiotics May Ease Constipation”. Harvard Heart Letter, August 21, 2014.
  12. Elias J, Bozzo P, Einarson A. Are probiotics safe for use during pregnancy and lactation? Canadian Family Physician. 2011;57(3):299-301.

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