Although antibiotic use in pregnancy may increase the baby’s risk of infection, giving specific probiotics can work in the baby’s favour


by Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath

News coverage recently from Australian researchers suggested that if you take antibiotics while pregnant there is a 20 per cent increased risk that the baby or child will have a serious infection that they need to be hospitalised for. This was especially the case when the antibiotics were taken closer to delivery date and the findings suggested that the antibiotics upset the mother’s gut bacteria, the microbiome. A side-effect of taking antibiotics is to upset the gut flora by killing off some of the beneficial gut bacteria and allowing other bacteria to flourish. This altered microbiome is then passed on to the baby during a vaginal birth. The effects were seen in the study to affect newborns and continue throughout their childhood.

It doesn’t necessarily mean if you are pregnant that you should avoid antibiotics, and if they are necessary then the best health improvement you could give yourself and your baby would be probiotics after any course of antibiotics. This may mitigate the issue with the your own gut flora and subsequently your baby’s gut flora. This is certainly good news.

As an add on to the story it’s now known through research on specific strains of probiotic which are the best ones to take after a course of antibiotics. These are the one’s known to go through the placenta and also post birth through the breastmilk.  Increasing the bifido strains in the infant is thought to be the most protective of illness and it’s known that among other strains the L rhamnosus GG is one of the main ones that when given to the mother has bioavailability for the baby and increases the baby’s beneficial gut flora.  It can also be supportive to give probiotics directly to the baby post birth. If you are interested to hear more ask your naturopath.

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Gina-Fox3Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 15 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina loves to help couples achieve full-term pregnancies and give birth to beautiful healthy babies. Gina excels at addressing underlying stressors while couples achieve their optimal fertility. Her own meditation practice led her to become a meditation instructor and co-develop the Be Fertile series of guided relaxation CDs for women around conception, IVF and pregnancy support.