Probiotics- Pregnancy, Newborns, and Infants
Probiotics are the good bacteria that colonize our intestinal tracts and are known to be important for a normal immune system, digestion, and the production of some vitamins. We know that babies are born basically sterile and within hours are rapidly colonized with the bacteria from mom’s vaginal canal if a vaginal birth, from moms milk if breast feeding, and from the environment. The hygiene hypothesis is considered the best explanation for why babies these days who are born in more sterile and “clean” environments, lacking in the typical “normal” exposure to bacteria, are more likely to have certain conditions like allergies, eczema, asthma and allergic conditions. It seems a good balance of probiotics (the normal healthy bacteria) in our intestinal tract can be very protective.
A recent study out of England has verified that indeed not only is it safe to give pregnant moms these particular probiotics while pregnant, but it is desirable. The study started moms on probiotics (strains selected for their normal prevalence in the newborn period and young infants) during the last half of pregnancy, and they were continued for the infant from birth through 6 months of age.
Results not only showed them to be completely safe, but also showed:
- The babies given Lab4b were 57% less likely to develop allergic eczema than those receiving the dummy product.
- The babies given Lab4b were 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to the common allergens including pollen, cow’s milk, egg, and house dust mite.
Studies have shown safety with premature infants and a reduction in deaths and NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis).
Here at Integrative Pediatrics, we support the use of probiotics for all infants, doubling up the dose during and after antibiotics are administered. While in our office, please ask us about which probiotics are best for your infant, for use while you are pregnant, for your older child, and for the antibiotics-associated diarrhea situation.
The following link is provided to a short video by Dr Nigel Plummer, chief researcher in the Swansea study that is quoted in this blog.