Though the answer is still uncertain, it’s leaning towards a Yes for pregnant woman to take probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG) in her third trimester. 1st things first, probiotics are live lactic acid bacteria that has been purported to help with food digestion, production of vitamins, prevention of infection and regulation of immune system. Probiotics is commonly used to treat digestive issues as they can withstand the stomach and bile acids, colonize the digestive tract and balance the good/bad bacteria. Some probiotics strain helps to reduce diarrhea and bloating in children treated with antibiotics. There are many different strains of probiotics and over 200 probiotics products, with different strain and dosage.
So what’s this LGG and is it proven?
LGG, is one of the most researched strain and used to strengthen the gut by defending against unwanted bacteria and virus. Increasingly, there’s research supporting the use of LGG for treatment of eczema and clinical studies have been conducted. You can refer to this article for a summary of the studies, but in a nutshell, not all the studies conclude eczema prevention and reduction in eczema severity but 2 out of the 3 studies on LGG showed reduced incidence of eczema in children by age 2. The mothers (in one study, only allergy-prone moms) started taking the probiotics in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy and during breast-feeding for 3-6 months after birth. Sometimes the child is also given the probiotics and generally, the incidence of eczema is reduced by half. There’s less support that probiotics can reduce asthma or allergy, and in one of the study, there’s actually higher incidence of wheezing after taking probiotics.
How to take these probiotics?
Your genealogist must be consulted as there’re so many types of probiotics and the dosage varies. Dosage is counted in CFU, which stands for colony forming units. I’ve read that to be effective, the CFU need to be in billions. You can also ask your genealogist of his/her knowledge of the research studies on the probiotics that you’re being prescribed. Also, some advised against giving the probotics supplement directly to infant, especially those below 1 month old (I’ve found a product online that gives probiotics to children above 4 years old in the form of chewable tablet, not available in Singapore). So do check with your doctor before taking these probiotics.
Would I take LGG in my next pregnancy?
If you read this post, you’d know I haven’t decided if I want to have a second child! So far, I’ve known of a friend who has eczema who took LGG prescribed by her genealogist in both pregnancies and so far, both her girls aged 3 and 5 have no eczema. So, I think I will give probiotics a shot if my genealogist is supportive of it. But, I’d still be keeping my fingers crossed because I’m not the one with eczema (my hubby is). Anyone has any experience on taking LGG? Do comment and let the rest of us know!