Why a healthy gut is crucial in pregnancy and postpartum


by Joshua Calton-Weekes |

New mums take note: Did you know that your gut health powerfully impacts your baby?

Scientists agree that the gut microbiome affects virtually all aspects of human health, including your baby’s chance of ending up with autoimmune conditions like eczema, IBS, diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and mood disorders.

Shann Jones, nutritionist, gut health expert and founder of Chuckling Goat kefir, shares her advice on what you can do to boost your gut health before, during and after your baby’s birth...

The time before, during and after birth is a time when the gut microbiome takes centre stage in human health. What happens during this window of time will literally set up your baby’s health for future life.

Here’s how it works; your baby inherits his or her microbiome from mum and dad, then this genetic inheritance is then sealed by the method of birth, as well as the baby’s diet after birth.

Pregnancy

Your own diet powerfully impacts your baby’s microbiome development.

Studies have shown that mothers who drank milk with a probiotic supplement like kefir during and after pregnancy were able to cut the incidence of eczema in their children by almost half.

During birth:

Birth method matters to the gut microbiome!

Caesarean section babies are statistically more prone to develop allergies, chronic inflammatory diseases, and metabolic diseases.

Antibiotics administered during labour delay healthy gut bacteria in babies.

And the composition of the gut microbiome in infants at six weeks of age appears to be associated with the delivery method by which they were born and how they were fed.

Postpartum:

Breastfeeding advocates will be unsurprised to hear that breastfeeding plays a critical role in 'seeding' the infant microbiome.

Nearly one-third of beneficial bacteria in a baby's intestinal tract comes directly from the mother's milk, and an additional 10 percent comes from the skin on the mother's breast.

After weaning, there is a brief window during which the microbiome can be further impacted; a child has until the age of two-and-a-half to establish healthy gut bacteria - with little change possible after this point.

5 ways to boost your gut health

Here are some easy ways you can boost your gut health during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

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1) Drink therapeutic-grade goats milk kefir before, during and after pregnancy - and give it to your baby as well.

Research has shown that kefir helps new mums heal faster post-partum, safely helps prevent baby blues, can help prevent mastitis in nursing mothers, as well as aiding in the prevention of colic, acid reflux and constipation in infants.

Therapeutic-grade kefir suitable for babies and mums before, during and after pregnancy can be sourced from Chuckling Goat.

Meet the expert: Shann Jones, nutritionist, gut health expert and founder of Chuckling Goat kefir

This article was written by Shann Jones.

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