It is important to improve your gut health before conception because your fertility, as well as other systems in the body, are directly affected by the health of your gastrointestinal system and making sure it is full of healthy flora at least three months before conception will ensure that the vital nutrients in your food can be utilised by your body. Healthy gut microfloras also play an important role in the immune system, helping to reduce inflammation in the body. The health of a woman’s gut is vital prior to conception as it directly influences the health of her baby’s gut. It has been linked to reduced eczema, asthma and coeliac disease risk in children, along with an improved immune function. During a natural birth, a baby will pass through the birth canal and obtain flora from it’s mother, and as it does so the process innoculates the baby’s gut. The flora is also passed onto the baby through the colostrum if breastfed.
Your first steps to improving gut flora?
- Consume a good variety of prebiotic foods as these help support the probiotic bacteria.
- Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kefir.
- Consume foods containing probiotic bacteria.
- Consider taking a multi-strain probiotic supplement.
What are prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotics are important in our gut as they promote the growth of good bacteria. They come mostly from carbohydrate fibres called Oligosaccharides and because they are not digested, they remain in the digestive tract and encourage the good bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillis to grow. Prebiotics are naturally found in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Good sources are garlic, onions, leeks and banana. Fructo-oligosaccharides may be taken as a supplement or added to foods.
Probiotics are useful live bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillis which help to maintain the balance in your digestive system in order to keep it healthy. Probiotic sources are: yoghurt containing live bacteria culture, cheese that is not baked, sauerkraut, miso and fermented milk. Some foods also have probiotics added to them.