Can I take Probiotics with Prenatal Vitamins

Can I Take Probiotics With Prenatal Vitamins? (Pregnancy Warning!)

Statistics from WHO show that about 40% of pregnant women are anemic due to vitamin deficiencies.

Similarly, the incidence of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is as high as 70-80%.

These issues can be cured with prenatal vitamins and probiotics. 

Multivitamins compensate for micronutrient deficiencies, and friendly bacteria keep off gut discomfort during pregnancy. 

But is it safe to use them both when you are expecting? How would they interact if you use them together? And do they reduce each other’s efficacy or increase it?

Find answers to all these questions in my article below.

But before we dig in, here are a few quick insights:

Key Highlights
  • Probiotic strains increase the absorption of multivitamins from the gut.
  • Side effects from prenatal vitamins are also cured by using probiotics.
  • The ideal time to take both prenatal vitamins and probiotics is about 30 minutes before breakfast.
  • Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code, Mary Ruth’s Probiotic & Yourbiology Gut+ pair well with Prenatal Supplements.

Can You Take Probiotics And Prenatal Vitamins Together? – Things To Consider

Before I answer if you can take prenatal vitamins and probiotics together, let’s first see if pregnancy probiotics are even safe for pregnant women, as the recent scientific development has raised some concerns.

How Serious Is The Probiotics And Pregnancy Warning?

A meta-analysis from 2021 that reports an increased risk of preeclampsia is a warning against probiotics usage in pregnancy. 

Although the authors of this journal state that results are driven from high-certainty sources, other scientists doubt the credibility of the study as most of the participants were overweight or obese women who generally have a higher risk of preeclampsia than women with a normal, healthy weight.

Moreover, several other trials on probiotics usage in pregnancy suggest it to be a safe and beneficial practice.

On the one hand, probiotics prevent pregnancy-related gastrointestinal issues (like nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation), gestational diabetes, and vaginal infections.

While on the other, they help transfer a healthy gut microbiome to the child.

Summing up, probiotics are generally safe for most pregnant women. 

But I highly recommend talking to your doctor to ensure a supplement is safe enough for you according to your weight and predisposition to different diseases.

Taking Probiotics And Prenatal Vitamins Together

Coming to the main query, the answer is yes, you can take probiotics alone or combine them with other prenatal supplements like multivitamins without harmful drug interactions and safety concerns.

Usually, these dietary components work separately and have a minimal and indirect effect on each other’s efficacy.

For instance, a Journal published by the College of Family Physicians of Canada reports that both folic acid supplements and probiotics improve the mother’s health and decrease the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart issues in the newborn.

This combination also has other benefits, such as: 

Probiotics Can Help Against Multi-Vitamin Side Effects

Like most other medicines, multivitamins can also cause gut issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, mainly because they contain concentrated ingredients that are hard to digest and absorb.

Probiotics are useful for preventing these effects as they:

  • Make gut lining healthier and more resistant to inflammation (which ultimately leads to diarrhea and discomfort)
  • And increase absorption rates of vitamins and minerals. So, the concentrated ingredients don’t stay in the gut for long, disturbing the gut lining.

Mothers discussing vitamin side effects on Reddit also share that probiotics helped them get rid of adversities like constipation caused by the micronutrient supplements.

reddit discussion on using prenatal multivitamin with probiotics

Probiotics-Multivitamin Combination Reduces The Risk Of Miscarriage And Stillbirths 

Like the mother’s diet, prenatal supplements also affect pregnancy outcomes. And consuming quality products can reduce the risk of adverse incidents.

Among micronutrients, folic acid or folate is known to support pregnancy in later stages, especially the third trimester.

Multiple clinical studies like this review paper indicate that folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy lower the risk of stillbirths by 41%.

Similar supportive effects are also reported from probiotics, especially lactic acid bacteria that reside in the birth canal.

According to the Polish Journal of Microbiology, an abundance of Lactobacillus species in the birth canal reduces the chances of preterm birth and miscarriages.   

When To Start Probiotics In Pregnancy With Prenatal Vitamins?

It is best to start consuming micronutrients and probiotic pills as soon as you plan to have a baby.

Regular supplementation before pregnancy prepares your body to handle metabolic and hormonal stress during pregnancy.

And if you have not started earlier, I suggest starting vitamins and probiotics from pregnancy’s first trimester because:

  • Gastrointestinal issues are mainly reported during this time, and
  • Development of most body parts starts in the first trimester. So, the need for micronutrients is high.

But you should not quit these products after the 1st trimester. Instead, continue the supplementation throughout the pregnancy, as these components also play crucial roles in the later stages.

As growth happens in the next 2 trimesters, micronutrients are required to ensure all anabolic processes happen smoothly and all organ systems of the baby are well-formed. 

Similarly, you will need probiotics to aid your natural microbiome in later stages because high progesterone hormone levels during this time can lead to constipation and bloating.

Another reason you should continue taking probiotics till the end of gestation is that babies don’t have a natural microbiome of their own. Instead, the vaginal microbiota of the mother is transferred to their gut during delivery. 

And research shows that the vaginal microbiome loses diversity due to immense metabolic stress during pregnancy. 

So, you must supplement it with healthy bacteria throughout pregnancy, ensuring that the baby gets a high number of friendly microbes during birth.

Can I Take Probiotics And Prenatal Vitamins At The Same Time?

You can use probiotics and prenatal vitamins at the same time without any concern. No scientific evidence reports any harmful interactions between the ingredients of these supplements. 

In fact, they are known to enhance each other’s efficacy and work synergically in boosting immunity. 

Do Prenatal Vitamins Have Probiotics In Them?

Yes, some prenatal supplements contain both multivitamins and probiotics.

However, only a few provide you with a good amount of both of these dietary components. 

Mostly, it’s a multivitamin with only one or two probiotic strains. 

For example, Mommy’s Bliss Prenatal Multivitamin and Rainbow Light Prenatal One have probiotics but only 1 strain, Bacillus subtilis

And that too in a smaller quantity compared to probiotic supplements:

Mommy’s BlissCFUs not specified
Rainbow Light1 million CFUs

Similarly, some probiotics contain a few micronutrients for additional benefits, but that cannot completely fulfill your vitamin needs.

For example, Pink Strok Prenatal Probiotics have Vitamin B6, and Perdays Pregnancy Probiotic 360° contains Vitamin D. 

Probing through the supplement market, I found only two products containing a good concentration of vitamins and probiotics. (You will find their ingredient details in the last section.)

It’s best if you could find such a product that provides enough CFUs of probiotics and micronutrients.

But if you cannot, it’s better to get separate pregnancy probiotics and prenatal vitamins than to rely completely on a product that supplies only a minimal amount.

Do Probiotics Affect The Absorption Of Prenatal Vitamins?

Probiotics can affect the absorption rate of micronutrients from the gut to the blood but do not alter their bioavailability to body tissues.

Friendly bacteria have their main activity in the intestines and do not enter the bloodstream. They do not affect how body cells can capture or utilize vitamins.

Nonetheless, they can improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the gut lining into the blood.

For instance, a 2014 European study published in Journal Gut Microbes shows that Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium lactis increase mineral absorption (especially of calcium and iron) from the gut. 

Another research in molecular sciences shows that taking vitamin C supplements and probiotics together is more beneficial in reducing oxidative stress and preventing chronic inflammation during pregnancy than using these supplements alone.

This improvement in efficacy is likely due to the increased absorption rate of Vitamin C, which is our body’s primary anti-inflammatory agent.

Besides that, if the mother has a gut condition that could affect the absorption of prenatal vitamins, probiotics will help increase the absorption of these vitamins by improving gut health.

Can I Substitute My Prenatal Vitamins For Probiotics?

No. Probiotics are not intended to take the place of prenatal vitamins. 

Prenatal vitamins and minerals are needed to supplement the high nutritional demand of pregnancy. A deficiency of these vitamins can affect the growth of the baby.

For example, the deficiency of folic acid can lead to Neural tube defects in the baby, which are abnormal developmental conditions of the brain and spinal cord of the baby. 

This deficiency-related defect is so serious that some of the affected babies die in the womb, while some can have lifelong health issues.

Similarly, about a dozen other micronutrients are required to ensure proper growth and development of the baby and the mother’s health. 

Although probiotics offer additional benefits during pregnancy, like decreasing discomfort, improving immunity, and transferring a healthy microbiome to the child, yet they can’t replace vitamins.

Best Probiotics While Pregnant (That You Can Take With Prenatal Vitamins)

1. Garden Of Life Vitamin Code

garden of life probiotics vitamin code raw prenatal

Vitamin code is a dually beneficial supplement with 21 micronutrients and 6 billion CFUs of 3 Lactobacillus strains (L. plantarum, L. bulgaricus, and L. rhamnosus).

Besides the probiotic bacteria, it supplies the gravida with Iron, Folate, Zinc, Chromium, and multiple water-based and oil-based vitamins.

2. MaryRuth Probiotic Prenatal+

probiotic prenatal capsules

This is also a dual-benefit prenatal supplement containing 59 billion CFUs of 3 strains; Lactobacillus bacteria (L. plantarum, L. acidophilus), and Bifidobacterium bifidum. 

Plus, it has 6 micronutrients, including Iron, Folate, and Choline.

3. Yourbiology Gut+

yourbiology gut +

Gut+ is a tetra-strain product containing 40 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus strains (L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. paracasei) and Bifidobacterium lactis.

All these bacteria are known for their efficacy in improving vaginal microbiome, relieving gut problems, and boosting immunity.

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