We’ve previously written about how a healthy vagina is not bacteria-free but hosts trillions of bacteria, dominated by Lactobacillus species. Below is the first of a two-part feature discussing probiotics’ roles in relation to the first 1,000 days of life: fertility, pregnancy, and infancy.
Infections of the vagina, like bacterial vaginosis (BV), threaten fertility and pregnancy. BV can increase the risk of pre-term births and other complications of pregnancy and is also known to decrease the success rate of IVF implantation.
Countless more reproductive tract infections may potentially affect fertility and pregnancy. Such infections are related either to the presence of pathogenic microbes in the vaginal tract, or the absence of protective 'probiotic' vaginal bacteria, which comprise 95% Lactobacillus species.
We’ve previously written about tailor- made probiotics for the balance of vaginal microbiota. These benefits cannot be more relevant for women preparing for pregnancy to actively prevent the risk of infection in the first place or lower the risk of the infection coming back again.
Pregnancy causes many changes in a woman’s body. With physiological changes comes changes to the maternal microbiome around the body, including the uterus and placenta, previously considered sterile. These microbial changes have also been associated with adverse physiological conditions in the mother. An imbalanced vaginal microbiome lacking lactobacilli may affect outcomes of pregnancy, with complications such as preterm birth, sepsis, miscarriage and preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).
The maternal microbiome also plays a factor in proper foetal and newborn development, both when it comes to preparing the foetal immune system for delivery and for establishing a well- balanced intestinal microbiome.
It’s widely understood that adequate intake of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids are important for pregnancy, as well as the consumption of particular essential micronutrients including zinc, folate and vitamin D. It’s recently been recognised that probiotics provide potential for supporting an appropriate development of the foetal and infant gut microbiotas, in addition to priming foetal and infant immune systems.
The gut microbiome of infants, dominated by bifidobacteria, is characterised by less microbial diversity compared to the adult gut microbiome. Besides the maternal microbiome, two other factors heavily affect the composition and development of the infant gut microbiome: mode of delivery and type of feeding. Studies show the gut microbiota of infants born by C-section is less diverse and contains fewer bifidobacteria than those born vaginally. Furthermore, delivery by C-section has been associated with higher risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and obesity. Breastfeeding is preferred over formula-feeding for newborns.
In the nest issue, we’ll continue the discussion about the microbiome development of life in its early stage.
About MAAB Probiotics
MAAB's MAVAG Fastmelt probiotic supplements are purpose-made to maintain and reinforce women’s intimate health by providing minimum 1 billion CFU per daily 1g serving. Not only does Mavag contain specific types of bacteria to prepare the women for pregnancy, but it’s not adding extra calories that may affect existing nutritional plans.