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Why do pregnant women need to maintain a healthy gut? Know the details here.

We understand the importance of a healthy diet for a pregnant and lactating woman in the growth and development of the newborn. It is for this reason that they are encouraged to eat a nourishing and balanced diet to support the requirements of the developing baby. But the gut (digestive tract) health of the mother has more […]

We understand the importance of a healthy diet for a pregnant and lactating woman in the growth and development of the newborn. It is for this reason that they are encouraged to eat a nourishing and balanced diet to support the requirements of the developing baby. But the gut (digestive tract) health of the mother has more to do than just fulfilling the nutritional requirement of the growing fetus. Yes, you would be surprised to know that the mother’s gut health can affect the overall health of the baby and in fact, dictate their health for life.
Our body is home to a gamut of microbes that constitute what is known as our microbiome. These could be both: good and bad. It is now understood that the newborn acquires the microbes present in the mother’s body mostly during delivery. And interestingly, the gut microbiota is also supposed to influence the vaginal microbiota in the female. This is all the more reason for a pregnant woman to harbor healthy microbes in her gut.

It affects the baby’s immunity
A woman’s gut microbiome changes during pregnancy, which may have an impact on how the baby’s immune system matures. It has been observed that babies born through c-section mode of delivery have a higher chance of growing up with allergies, asthma, or autoimmune diseases as compared to babies born through the normal vaginal mode of delivery. A healthy mother’s gut therefore may influence healthier vaginal microbiota which in turn will impact the overall new born’s immune system. These microorganisms support the stimulation of immune cell formation, control of inflammation, and improvement of immunological responses.

How can a pregnant woman strengthen her gut microbiome?
Including foods that support gut health such as prebiotics and probiotics in one’s diet is a surefire way to a healthy microbiome. Now, to know which probiotics and prebiotics a pregnant or lactating woman needs, she can simply undertake an at-home gut microbiome test such as that by Ombre (USA), Microba (Australia) and BugSpeaks (India) to get detailed information on her gut health. Based on the result furnished and the doctor’s recommendation, a pregnant or lactating woman can incorporate foods that are bound to give results in their case.

Summing up
The gut health of a pregnant or lactating woman has a great influence on not only the mother’s health but also the health of the newborn. A healthy gut harbors beneficial microorganisms that affect how our metabolism works. While having a balanced gut is important for all, the need becomes all the more important for pregnant and lactating women as their gut microbiome significantly affects the health of the newborn. The gestation and early years of life predominantly shape the development of a healthy human. Knowing your gut microbiome with a simple at-home test kit is one way to be informed about the gut microbiome. Consuming foods that support a balanced gut by consulting your doctor for personalized diet recommendations is a must during pregnancy and lactation.
The author is a Co-founder & Director, Leucine Rich Bio Pvt. Ltd.

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