One of the best gifts we can give our children is a healthy, diverse and thriving gut microbiome. The maternal/foetal microbiome has the potential to influence early development and programming, the foetal immunity and gut and brain health ~ even mood!
So let’s start with the basics.. what exactly is our gut microbiome?
Our guts are filled with trillions of little gut bacteria which co-exist in our system with human cells ~ making up our gut microbiome. In fact, the adult intestine hosts about 1.2kg of bacteria, over 39 trillion bacterial cells, outnumbering human body cells by a factor of up to 10 times! So it’s no wonder these guys play such a huge role in our health. Our gut microbiome helps to control digestion, absorbs and synthesises nutrients, supports a healthy immune system and can even impact your brain and mood.
In the first period of our child’s life, their gut microbiome is a DIRECT product of ours. Whatever bacteria we have is what sets the scene and plants the seeds for our children’s microbiome. This is one of the biggest factors that we can influence when it comes to the health of our future children.
So what exactly does influence our baby’s microbiome?
~ their mothers microbiome (vaginal, skin, gut) through birth method, skin to skin, feeding method and so on.
~ their mothers diet (processed foods feed the bad guys, high veg intake and fibre feed the good guys!)
~ birth mode ~ during a vaginal birth your bub is exposed to all the bacteria throughout the vaginal canal this sets the scene for our baby’s microbiome. C-sec births skip this bacteria contact.
~ Breast fed ~ our skin and breast milk are filled with goodies for our bub, one of these are beneficial bacteria to fill their little systems with the best.
~ Environmental toxin exposure ~ pesticides and other chemicals can kill off the beneficial guys in our gut leaving the pathogenic guys to take control. We recommend going as low tox as possible during preconception, pregnancy and beyond.
~ Antibiotic and other drug use ~ antibiotics wipe out not only the bad guys in our system but as collateral our good guys are damaged too, extensive and over-use of antibiotics can cause some serious gut depletion. Another one many women aren’t aware about is that the oral contraceptive pill can actually disrupt the delicate microbiome balance, another reason we recommend taking a good break from the pill before conceiving.
By now you can probably see that if your gut microbiome is not thriving, you don’t have the best to pass on to your bub through the above methods. Your gut should be like a bustling street in the city, filled with little working guys to create a healthy, anti-inflammatory environment.
So, we invite you to check in, how is your gut health?
~ Have you been exposed to numerous antibiotics in your lifetime?
~ Do you feed the little guys in your gut with the nourishment that they need?
~ Do you have any gut symptoms? Bloating? Appetite changes? Heartburn? Bowel movement changes?
If so, it is time you take a closer look into your microbiome ~ we cover how to optimise your gut health in the preconception phase in our online course ~ Conscious Conception.
Written by Karina Marschall
Women’s Health Naturopath
Women’s Wisdom Co