Are probiotics safe for use during pregnancy and lactation?
It is estimated that the risk of developing bacteremia from ingested Lactobacillus probiotics is less than 1 per 1 million users.
The risk factors for systemic infections are include patients with critical illnesses / diseases, suppressed immune systems, a central line and port, and disorders of the intestinal epithelial barrier.
Because the risk of probiotic induced bacteremia is extremely low, probiotics are unlikely to reach the systemic circulation and therefore unlikely to reach the baby.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is particularly beneficial as it may reduce the frequency of asthma in infants when given to their mothers during pregnancy. While Lactobacillus Reuteri could be helpful for pregnant woman as many experience an increase in gastrointestinal problems.
Pregnant woman also need a healthy dose of probiotic cultures to line their mucous
membranes to effectively inoculate their newborn on its way out of the birth canal. These cultures help to build the infant’s immune system and digestive function. (Infants should continue to use probiotics containing L. Plantarum to prevent colicky symptoms, boost immunity and aid in digestive function and nutrient absorption.)
Current research and trials indicate that the use of probiotic supplementation is rarely absorbed when used by healthy individuals and is unlikely to be transferred into breast milk and therefore does not appear to pose any safety concerns for pregnant or lactating women.