Masters of Health Magazine May 2023 | Page 20

By Michelle Perro, MD

Executive Director



Co-Author WhatsMakingourChildrenSick

The Microbial Landscape During Pregnancy

Since the introduction of the term probiotics in 1965 by Lilly and Stillwell as “growth-promoting factors produced by microorganisms to the present explosion of interest and research on the microbiota,” the plethora of information and products available can be overwhelming.

Additionally, as new studies lend further information regarding the microbiome and its function as an organ, how to best support our mutual cohabitants especially for babies can be daunting.

A quick review – the gut microbiome provides a broad range of functions including the following:

·    The digestion of particles from food into nutritional products,

·         Detoxification of xenobiotics

·         Support of intestinal cell lining integrity

·         And immune system modulation.

Over the past decade, our knowledge of microbial function has become more fine-tuned. There is now a greater understanding of the gut microbiome in relation to various clinical scenarios such as pregnancy. The various conditions that can occur during pregnancy such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and intestinal permeability can shift the maternal inflammatory state, which can negatively affect the fetus.

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