I’m pretty sure 10th grade Health class didn’t cover the microbes of the gut and the effect they have on the body. Maybe it did, and I was at the beach that day? If so, I really wish I had paid attention. It’s amazing how interesting it can all be when you are invested in the knowledge.
With the amount of chronic illnesses our children’s generation is experiencing, it’s time to start figuring things out. I believe with every fiber of my being that it all links back to the gut.
Over 80% of the immune system is in the gut, and the gut is full of bacteria (“Gut Flora”). These bacteria are so very important to every aspect of our lives, as the link between gut health and the brain is being further connected each day.
Most people believe the womb to be sterile - but that is not the case. Research now shows that the gut bacteria from the mother can reach the baby (through the placenta.)
Our current lifestyle is not very gut friendly, and many of us have an imbalance of bacteria. This combined with too much of the ‘wrong’ bacteria has been linked to premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and premature birth, not to mention all of the gut to brain linking gut health to chronic illnesses.
Poor gut health can link us to everything from autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, skin problems like eczema and psoriasis, cognitive difficulties, autism, depression, anxiety and metabolic problems like obesity! SCARY, right?
During pregnancy, your bacteria is not only crucial for your health, but for your baby’s health as well. That's right. As mothers, we produce the bacteria that will be the foundation of our child's gut bacteria.
Research has found that bacteria typically linked with good health decrease over the course of pregnancy, while bacteria associated with diseases increased. This seems a bit puzzling, especially because research also shows that inflammation of the gut increases throughout pregnancy. All of these are signs of problems, but yet it naturally occurs. The reasoning behind these changes is to alter the mother's metabolism. Pregnancy increases body fat and reduces sensitivity to insulin - and our metabolism must change to handle these new developments. So the changes in gut bacteria are used as a tool and serve a true purpose.
Because of the natural changes that occur, it is so important to work on promoting healthy bacteria. If these changes occur and you do not have a decent supply of healthy bacteria, your child may suffer. Ideally, you want to enter pregnancy with a healthy gut flora, but we are not perfect - I totally get that. There is no time like the present to start working on your gut health.
For more information and ways to help promote positive gut change, please read our follow-up article HERE.