The gut microbiota, that is the bacteria that dominate the gut when you are pregnant, are crucial to a newborn baby’s health.
The mothers gut health plays a vital role in shaping the health destiny of a newborn as it forms the basis of your baby’s gut health and the intestinal (digestive health) microorganisms, be they good, bad or neutral.
Research shows that the bacteria from the mother may be able to travel and reach the baby through the placenta via the blood stream. Unfortunately our modern lifestyle is not conducive to promoting the growth of good bacteria. This can lead to a breakdown resulting in too much bad bacteria floating around in your system.
Considering that your gut health contributes immensely to your immunity you can only imagine what it will do for your baby.
The big question then is …
How do you develop your own gut health during pregnancy?
- First, do remember if your intestinal bacteria are not in balance, your pregnancy could be adversely affected.
- Unhealthy and unbalanced gut flora in the mother can cause problems such as preterm labor; also once the baby is born, issues like colic, asthma, food insensitivities, GERD (reflux), etc. can crop up in the baby as well.
- Also, do remember, when hormones send signals to your gut microbiota and you have a weak gut, then it may not be possible for your sex hormones to protect your baby from type 1diabetes (a job which they usually perform). This means that there is a strong correlation between your gut health and pregnancy hormones in setting up your baby’s immunity against: obesity, autoimmune diseases, digestive issues and brain health.
- Healing the gut when pregnant should be a high priority for mothers so that their babies can have a healthy life.
So sorting out your gut with a healthy dose of good gut bacteria even before you get pregnant is integral since a pregnancy invariably leads to changes in the gut bacteria.
Like, did you know that gut bacteria become less diverse and the number of beneficial bacteria decline when you are pregnant?
So what can you do?
- Stay away from foods that will diminish good gut bacteria like sugar, refined white flour (maida), processed foods, white carbohydrates and junk food. Add a lot of fibre coming from whole grains like brown rice, millets, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Also add a healthy dose of good probiotics from yogurt, and quick homemade pickles in apple cider vinegar, lime or salt.
- You can also introduce kanji into your diet. Kanji is a North Indian beverage (recipe below); half a glass of kanji a day will boost probiotics to replenish the gut.
8 cups Water
1 1/4 tbsp Mustard or rai powder
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Salt (kala namak)
Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
Carrots (orange or purple) – 2 medium, peeled and julienned
Beetroot – 1, peeled and julienned
- Boil 8 cups of water. When the water boils, remove pan from the fire and let it cool.
- In a pitcher or jar with a lid, add all of the ingredients in the water and mix well.
- Add carrots and beets.
- Keep the pitcher in the sun for 2-4 days, make sure to stir it once or twice daily.
- After 2-4 days when it turns sour, it can be kept in the refrigerator and used as required.
- Serve chilled. The carrots and beets can be eaten.
Kanji remains fresh for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
About the author of the blog
Shonali Sabherwal is a Mumai based Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Chef. Author of The Beauty Diet, The Love Diet and The Detox Diet published by Penguin Random House.