How Can I Keep My Gut Healthy During Pregnancy?

Our gut plays a critical role in our health throughout our lives. Optimal gut health is key for all seasons of life and may be especially important during pregnancy and postpartum.

Studies show that the gut microbiome changes throughout pregnancy, as a normal and healthy adaptive response to growing a new life.

Babies inherit their immune system from their mothers, and our immunity is strongly correlated with our gut microbiome and the levels of healthy bacteria we have. The type of antibodies passed from mother to baby also helps to protect the baby from illness and depends on the mother’s level of immunity.

If we can optimise our gut, we can support our bodies during pregnancy and help to give our baby the best possible start in life. In this article, we will discuss the role of the gut during pregnancy and how we can optimise it.

The Correlation Between Pregnancy and the Gut

During pregnancy, there is a cascade of biological changes that impact your gut health. Our immunity shifts, hormones increase, inflammation increases, and the microbiome can change. Certain bacteria are increased or decreased to prepare the baby’s immune system.

Once the baby is born, the baby's microbiome starts to develop, through both skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. For example, the hormone progesterone has been shown to increase levels of bifidobacteria, which are required to break down the sugars in breast milk.

Due to the changes in size and structure of the stomach, food and waste products can also travel more slowly through the gut which can cause constipation during pregnancy, making it the most common complaint after morning sickness.

How healthy our gut is can also improve symptoms during pregnancy, including constipation, nausea, nutrient absorption during pregnancy for both mother and child, mood fluctuations, and levels of fatigue. An optimal microbiome with a diverse range of bacteria will also strengthen the immune system in both mother and child.

The method of delivery is also known to affect the bacteria within the child’s microbiome. Vaginally delivered infants develop bacteria similar to their mother’s vaginal microbiota (mainly lactobacillus). Babies born via cesarean delivery acquire microbiota similar to the mother’s skin microbiota (mainly staphylococcus, corynebacterium and propionibacterium).

By keeping our gut healthy and eating the right foods, we can reduce the ill effects of pregnancy and maintain better well-being throughout.

How Does Diet Influence the Microbes in Your Gut?

During the first few years of life, the microbiome is taking shape and continuously diversifying and growing. Our diet is one of the most powerful ways to support the microbiome's growth.

Our gut bacteria thrive on certain foods - and this significantly benefits our health. Probiotics (fermented foods that have live bacteria within them: e.g. yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, kombucha), and diets with high nutritional value increase the good bacteria.

Prebiotics feed our good bacteria and nourish our bodies. Prebiotic foods include most plant foods that are high in fibre - such as whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, pulses, oily fish, barley, oats, bananas, berries, tomatoes, garlic, onions, legumes, and green vegetables.

Pre and probiotics have been shown to reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure and improve metabolic parameters during pregnancy and are essential to building a strong immune system for both mother and child.

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Gut During Pregnancy

Looking after our gut microbes is hugely beneficial to the mother's health in pregnancy and can reduce our risk for complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, and eczema and allergies in infants.

Even post-pregnancy, consuming probiotics and prebiotics has been found to possibly improve breastfeeding, speed up postpartum healing, improve B12 absorption, and energy levels, prevent mastitis, and even acid reflux in newborns.

Making sure we are eating a gut-healthy diet is one of the best things you can do to support your body optimally throughout pregnancy and encourage better sleep, less inflammation, better mood, and better energy levels.

How to Keep Your Gut Healthy During Pregnancy

So, what are the best ways we can look after our gut during pregnancy?

Consume a gut-healthy diet

Consuming a healthy diet full of prebiotics, fibre, and omega-3s will support your body optimally through pregnancy and maintain strong bacterial diversity. Try oats for breakfast, lentils in salads, and plenty of veggies in your evening meal.

Take probiotics

Consider taking a probiotic to support your immunity- and replenish your good bacteria. We recommend our product ‘Gut care’ - An advanced pre+probiotic tablet containing 6.1 billion+ (6.1 x 109 CFU). A perfectly balanced supplement formulated for your gut.

Take steps to exercise regularly

Exercise boosts our energy, and mood, and increases our good bacteria and bacterial diversity. Try 20-30 minutes of gentle exercise daily. (Consult your doctor before taking up an exercise routine when pregnant).

Manage stress

Pregnancy can often be stressful, leading to feelings of anxiety. We can build techniques to help us manage our emotions so they don’t affect our bodies. Practice yoga, meditation, reading, baths, and calming activities to prevent excess stress on your digestive system, as well as support your mental well-being.

Make time for quality sleep

Sleep is vital for recovery and maintaining good health. Reduce caffeine later in the day, keep your bedroom cool, and try to stick to a regular night routine so your body knows when to rest and rejuvenate. These habits will positively impact stress and fatigue and protect our gut bacteria.

Consider supplements

Supplements may help to give your body and gut a boost. Try a good multivitamin and an omega-3 capsule to support your gut lining and reduce excess inflammation in the body. Consult your GP or midwife before taking any supplements. 

Hydrate hydrate hydrate!

Drink plenty of water. This is important for gut health, and overall well-being. Dehydration can cause bloating, headaches, poor concentration, sickness, and even affects our mental health.

Remember that depending on your symptoms, these habits may not always be possible. Try your best to maintain your well-being as optimally as possible to help support your body throughout your pregnancy. Listen to your body and do what works best for you. Always speak to your GP or midwife if you have any concerns.


Whether you’re trying for a baby, currently pregnant or coping with a newborn, improving your gut health will be beneficial.

Looking after your gut health during pregnancy will support your body optimally throughout, and will also improve your mood, energy, digestion, and sleep.

Always speak to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns regarding your gut health or for reassurance during your pregnancy.


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