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Gut Health for Fertility, Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Nursing

A healthy gut directly improves the quality of life. So let’s target the gut and discuss exactly what it is. It’s your whole Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract) that covers the majority of your digestive system. The gut can impact your mental health, your heart health, vitamin, mineral + nutrient absorption, and  immunity. At Pink Stork we want to see women flourish during all life stages - fertility,  pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing- and we believe that in order to flourish Gut Health is a must to talk about.

How does gut health impact fertility? 

New evidence is proving that gut health can play a surprising role if you are trying to conceive. In some cases, an improvement in gut health could be the missing link to an otherwise unexplained fertility concern since a healthy gut will limit inflammation and oxidative stress.  

The gut is home to over two thousand microbes that regulate a lot of processes in the body including sperm and egg quality and weight management. Having a balanced gut that is thriving in your body will affect the productivity of your physical body. With inflammation and the resolution of the inflammation is a regulated process if the gut is healthy.  Higher inflammation in the gut damages your gut lining which can cause damage to developing eggs and sperm. Reducing inflammation in your gut is huge if you are fertile and trying to conceive. In addition, there are gut microbiomes that balance the amount of estrogen living in the gut.  

How does gut health impact pregnancy? 

One of the most important times to be thinking about your gut microbiomes is when you are pregnant.  A mother’s gut health will be transferred to the baby’s health. Recent research shows that the gut microbiome is critical for the development of the central nervous system and can control brain functions because many of these bacteria neurotransmitters affect not only mood but brain development.  During pregnancy, your immune system changes, inflammation increases, and your microbiome is impacted by this shift. Estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that increase during pregnancy, can also alter the microbiome and impact gut health. A healthy microbiome can improve how we deal with stress by giving positive feedback to the nervous system. This may reduce the long-term risk of depression and anxiety. 

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that occurs to over 3 million women in the  US yearly. It is a condition that happens late in pregnancy that leads to dangerously high blood pressure and spilling of protein in the urine. It affects 10% of pregnancies and can cause serious complications for the mother. Gum disease, which is influenced by bacterial balance in the mouth, in the mother has been linked to an increased risk of preeclampsia. In addition to preeclampsia, there is also Gestational diabetes  (GDM), a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy, it impacts 14% of all pregnant women. If left  untreated, GDM can lead to severe complications for the infant and mother, a too-large fetus, and an increased risk of C-section. Women who develop GDM have been found to have less diversity and more  inflammation-triggering microbes in their gut microbiome. This is all where an anti-inflammatory diet comes into play. There are so many foods that are high alkalinity (think almonds, avocados, sweet potatoes) that can reduce the inflammation in your gut organically.  

How does gut health impact postpartum?

Having your body be at the optimal gut health performance is a key factor in the postpartum stage of  life. Your body is already recovering from so many other factors, let’s not have an unhealthy gut be  another challenge to take on in this particular season. Eighty percent of your immune health resides in  the gut. While in the postpartum stage, having peak immunity will ease your mind so you can take on  the challenges of having a newborn child instead of worrying about a lingering cold. Having an unhealthy gut during postpartum can lead to a constant feeling of fatigue which no mother wants to feel, so maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet and watching added sugars will benefit and aid in digestion as well. Thanks to growing research on the gut-brain axis, we now know that postpartum mood can be attributed to a shift in the gut microbiomes following the experience of labor and now the surge of hormones throughout the body following labor. Maintaining a healthy gut vs. a non-healthy gut will ease this transition and smooth the process in your body. 

How does gut health impact nursing? 

For the first months of life, if you make the decision to breastfeed your baby, this new person is going to rely on you as the sole provider for food. If you do not take the proper precautions it can be very easy to feel depleted, and you may come across more Urinary Tract Infections, Uterine Infections (if you had a c-section), or yeast infections. Do not give up if this is you right now. Breastfeeding plays a critical role in “seeding” the microbiome in your infant. Nearly one-third of good bacteria in a newborn’s intestinal tract comes directly from the mother’s milk, and an additional 10 percent comes from the skin on your breast your baby will receive from nursing. Know this information as a nursing mother to help you, and your baby, thrive during the nursing season.  

How can I improve gut health? 

No matter what stage you find yourself in as a woman, the overall theme is you need a healthy gut. So  what can you do? 

Total Monolaurin - Total Monolaurin is effective for so many reasons. It helps against many viruses,  bacteria, yeast/fungi. Total Monolaurin also aids in supporting the body’s immunity, fighting UTI, Yeast Infection (or Thrush if you are nursing), pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria strongly linked to morning sickness, candida, HSV-1/2, and much more. Total Monolaurin is also recommended to use while trying to conceive and is healthy for mom and baby through all life stages. Start by taking a small scoop three times a day, working your way up to three scoops three times a day. 

Prenatal Pro - A probiotic plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut and immunity, and helps cleanse bad bacteria in the GI tract. Pink Stork Pro is time-released so the benefit will be delivered throughout the day to your body and is healthy for mom and baby through all life stages. 

Probiotic Gummies - If pills are not your thing, we also offer probiotic gummies. These are made with 5 billion CFUs of Bacillus coagulans, that will support your digestion, immune system, vaginal health, gut health, and whole-body wellness. These gummies come in two flavors; orange and strawberry and are healthy for mom and baby through all life stages. 

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 

Watching what you eat is so important for healthy guts, focusing more on foods rich in higher alkaline levels and focusing less on sugar highly processed foods. Finding a balance in this diet is important since we know at Pink Stork food is love, so take it easy on yourself if you get Chik Fil A one day, and try to focus more on an 80/20 mindset meaning 80 higher alkaline food, and 20 being cheat moments. 

Water intake  

Hydration is crucial for having a healthy, sustainable life. Try to aim for anywhere between eight to ten glasses of water a day. Maintaining a healthy level of hydration is essentially the first step in improving gut health. Having Pink Stork Calm Tea will definitely spice up the water game and also aid in lowering stress levels.  

We believe that no matter what stage of life you as a woman find yourself in, it is by no mistake. You are exactly where you are intended to be for this particular part of your journey. Make the most of it and make your body as strong and able as you can. You are strong and capable.