Our bodies are a wonderful thing. When a woman decides she wants to get pregnant, she begins taking steps towards a healthier life to raise her chances of a healthy pregnancy. What many mothers don’t know is that their gut health prior to getting pregnant and even after conception can make or break the development of their unborn child. Their gut can also impact the first few years of their baby’s development and future life characteristics.
Our gut is made up of a series of organs including the throat, stomach, pancreas and many others. Digestive health has a direct correlation to the health of virtually every other system in our bodies. So, it’s important to maintain your gut health during pregnancy in order to reduce your baby’s chances of developing ailments and stunted overall growth. Mothers who have a balanced gut increase the bacteria responsible for minimizing immune and digestive deficiencies in babies.
The Correlation Between Gut Health During Pregnancy and a Healthy Baby
If you’re one of the many women trying to have a baby, it’s important to understand why you need to maintain your gut health. Your baby’s complete makeup, from their central nervous system to their digestive system stems from what you eat. Your diet is the largest influencer on your gut. When you eat foods that support gut health, you’re more likely to have a healthy baby and their gut microbiota will be properly balanced.
Gut microbiota is a term that describes the type of bacteria based on its location. You want a diversified amount of healthy gut bacteria because it helps form your unborn child’s gut. When you have an unhealthy or leaky gut, the toxins cross the blood-brain barrier into your baby’s placenta, which disrupts their gut colonization process for years to come.
It’s also important to know that when you consume enough gut-friendly organisms, your child can absorb more of them and thrive during your delivery process. Babies that are delivered vaginally are exposed to certain bacteria that make them less likely to develop a number of disorders. Babies born via C-section are more likely to develop allergies and immune-related conditions than babies born vaginally.
This is because they’re exposed to different types of microbes during their delivery. Since you may not have a choice on whether you deliver vaginally or via C-section, having a gut-healthy diet is paramount.
What Foods Should You Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy Gut?
Now that you understand the importance of gut health during pregnancy, it’s time to discuss a diet that supports a healthy gut. Foods that benefit your gut health include fiber, probiotics, prebiotics and omega-3 acids. A study compared women who consumed carbs, saturated fatty acids and animal proteins to women who consumed vegetable-based proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to determine which diet was most beneficial for a baby in-utero into their first 18 months of life.
The results showed that the latter diet was more beneficial for the gut health of both the mother and the baby. This diet also impacted the health habits of those babies into adulthood. Babies born to mothers who don’t maintain a healthy gut diet during their pregnancy and breastfeeding have modified genes that negatively impact their overall bodily functions.
Examples of vegetable-based proteins like:
- Green peas
Overall, women looking to have a healthy baby that’s less prone to developing certain illnesses must maintain healthy gut health during conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Foods containing omega-3s, fiber and vegetable-based proteins are essential for the development of your unborn baby and continue to help them thrive genetically into their adult years. So, the minute you catch a case of baby fever, grab the foods your gut will love.
Related Content: Cord Blood Donation: An Option Post-Labor
Most of us are familiar with bone marrow and blood donations. Cord blood donations are along the same lines as these when it comes to their use. The blood found in the umbilical cord and placenta shortly after childbirth contains stem cells that are useful for treating many diseases, as the cells are able to grow into healthy blood cells and immune system cells, among others.