Prevent Autism During Pregnancy...with probiotics?

Autism is always a hot topic especially since now 1 in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism. Another hot topic is pregnancy and prenatal care. Combine the two...and you are on fire, ha!

The question here is, can probiotics taken during pregnancy really prevent autism?

To answer this question, we need some background first. If you want my to read my answer right away, click on prevent autism during pregnancy, now!

Autism is an inflammatory disease?

Recent research suggests that autism may be a type of an inflammatory disease and this may start during pregnancy. The key word is here MIGHT!

What is an inflammatory disease?

  • An inflammatory disease is a medical condition in which a person has persistent inflammation. This can happen when the immune system has an abnormal response to something. The immune system may even attack the body. (That’s my brief definition. If you want more information on the immune system, please send me a note and I will ask my intelligent husband, a phd in immunology!)
  • Common examples of inflammatory diseases: arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, colitis, lupus, etc... 

During pregnancy, it is possible that a mother’s inflammatory response to viral and bacterial infections affects her developing fetus and this may in turn affect the baby’s inflammatory system. 

Prevent Autism During Pregnancy: Probiotics

Now, some background on probiotics.

What are probiotics?

  • Probiotics are bacteria that benefit humans when eaten in adequate amounts.
  • Most common forms of probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus reutri

What foods contain probiotics?

  • Yogurt
  • Kiefer
  • Miso soup
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • kimichi

Claimed benefits of probiotics:

  • Improve the immune system
  • Produce vitamins to keep us healthy
  • Prevent obesity
  • Reduce allergies
  • Prevent yeast infections
  • Prevent urinary tract infections
  • Regulate digestive health

Quickest But Most Helpful Review of Bacteria!

To put this all together, we need a quick background on bacteria.

There is good and bad bacteria out there. Our bodies are covered in good bacteria including our skin and gut.

In reality, our body is only 10% cells and the rest is bacteria. In other words, there is 100 times more bacteria than human cells!!

Bad bacteria surrounds us. It can come from spoiled food, touching objects with such bacteria, etc..It can grow in our gut and make us sick.

Good bacteria helps to prevent infections from this bad bacteria.

This is where probiotics come in....probiotics are good, live bacteria, that once eaten will live in our gut, multiply, and help us in the many ways described above.

Probiotics, autism and pregnancy, oh my!

Can we prevent autism during pregnancy with the use of probiotics?

This could be a stretch...but maybe not!

Considering all this information, some have made the conclusion that the use of probiotics during pregnancy may have an anti-inflammatory effect which, in turn, will prevent autism.

My Advice!

I would stay far away from probiotic supplements during pregnancy for these reasons described below: 

  1. Researchers still have not identified which is the correct mix of bacteria in our guts. So, if researchers don’t know, how do companies know? You may be wasting your money! 
  2. Most supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Therefore, you don’t know how they will affect your baby. Scary thought for me!

Instead...

Eat lots of organic, pasteurized yogurt, keifer, sauerkraut, kimichi, pickles, and miso soup! Yummy!

Look for yogurts that have the bacteria: bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus reutri

Maybe it will help prevent autism, maybe not. But it is healthy and it will make you feel like you are doing everything you can for your child. There is something to be said for confidence and peace of mind!

More Information

I am not an expert on autism by any means. For more information, please check out Discover Autism Help. They have a ton of great information!

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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