At Hyperbiotics, we’re steadfast in our mission to provide new moms with the support they need to bring their babies into the world in the most healthy and natural way possible, based firmly on the belief that gut health begins at birth.
A few months ago, Natalie Zambreski did something many expecting mothers out there daydream about: She had a natural, complication-free childbirth, embraced skin-to-skin with her newborn daughter immediately after she made her arrival into the world, and since has had zero obstacles in breastfeeding her beautiful little girl.
While this experience isn’t possible for every mother, if you’re striving for a gentle start for your little one, there are many practices and healthy habits you can incorporate into your lifestyle to improve your odds of passing along the best health benefits to your child.
Because Natalie is part of our Hyperbiotics family, she has first-hand knowledge of just how critical microbial health is during pregnancy and in the months that follow—both for optimizing maternal health and for laying the groundwork for a healthy immune system for her child.
Why was taking a probiotic supplement so important for you during pregnancy?
For me, it was about making sure I was giving my baby the very best start to gut health possible. The implications of our microbes are amazing when it comes to our health. Research shows that it’s the good bacteria (aka probiotics) that colonize to become an infant’s building blocks for their immune system. It’s pretty incredible!
Because I knew my baby would be inoculated with bacteria directly from me, I wanted to do everything I could to avoid unwanted interventions and unnecessary antibiotics and give her the best start to life possible.
What are some of the steps you took to stay healthy and active while expecting?
I was determined to find a great food-based prenatal vitamin (I eventually settled on Rainbow Light One Prenatals) because I didn’t want to take anything synthetic. I paired it with Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms to keep my digestive health in shape—plus the kiwifruit powder in PRO-Moms really helped with pregnancy-related constipation.
The maternal microbiome is one tough cookie since it’s constantly changing to support your growing baby. But because my digestive health was in good shape, I had a ton of energy! So much so that I was also able to lightly jog and exercise right up until my daughter was born.
I also focused on fueling my body with the right foods (i.e. tons of fruits and prebiotic veggies). The fact that I gave birth to a little girl and not a sweet potato still surprises me sometimes!
Why was striving for a natural birth so important to you?
This one is two-fold for me! First and foremost, one of the most important things I feel about birth is that you need to feel safe and comfortable in your birthing environment. For me personally, that wasn't a hospital.
Nothing is more natural than bringing a child into this world; it's innate, and it's really astounding to see how much things have changed since the medical model of birth as been introduced.
When I learned I was pregnant, I did a lot of research regarding the current model of care when it comes to labor and birth in the U.S. Our statistics are less than impressive. Medical interventions that in the past were reserved for emergencies are now used routinely, and often without discussing some of the negative impacts that may occur as a result.
I really do believe that when it comes to childbirth, nature knows better than we do (and has for millions of years!). Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy that allowed me to have a positive and intervention-free labor - especially since I was in for the shock of my life: the little boy we were expecting was actually a girl! You can read more about my birth story here.
What was your diet like during your pregnancy?
While I consider myself to be a fairly healthy and health-conscious person, I was admittedly terrible with my diet throughout pregnancy. I was suddenly craving carbohydrates and sugar like crazy! However, smoothies and cold overnight oats were staples in my diet and included things like steel cut oats, almond milk, greek yogurt, bananas, peaches, berries, honey, nut butter...whatever I could find!
I also tried to make some hearty vegetable dishes with foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa, black beans, and other fibrous fruits and veggies.
What are some healthy habits you’ve adopted as a new mom?
Life as a new mom is both mentally and physically tough (at times). I do my best to treat any ailments I have homeopathically and avoid using over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol or Aspirin—for both myself and my baby. I really want to keep her gut bacteria protected so it can support her, and so many artificial compounds in these pain relievers can wipe out the delicate baby bacteria working hard to thrive in her little digestive tract.
I also try to make it a habit to spend as much skin-to-skin time with my daughter as I can. It really helps calm her down when she’s fussy, and there’s simply nothing like the close bond I feel when we’re connecting this way.
My prenatal vitamins and probiotics are still in good supply, so I’ve been taking them every day. I know the vitamins are really getting into my system because probiotics help with nutrient absorption. I feel so good with the combination, I don’t see myself stopping any time soon!
Can you give one example of how probiotics supported your health in your new postpartum life?
One thing I was really nervous about was struggling with breastfeeding. So many new moms I know really had a hard time—whether it was a medical complication or their pediatrician (for whatever reason) suggesting that they supplement with formula. I was familiar with the utterly profound importance of breastmilk, especially in regard to giving your baby EXACTLY what he or she needs for ultimate health and a strong immune system, so I was determined to say the least.
I continue to take my prenatal vitamin and my PRO-Moms to make certain that my milk is packed with the nutrition that my little gal needs. Because probiotics can help with your immune system, I thankfully haven’t had any issues with blocked ducts or any of those other common issues. And I’m proud to say that I’ve had an extremely positive breastfeeding experience and my little love continues to grow healthfully without the need of any additional supplementation. Plus, I know she’s getting all the good bacteria her little system needs to flourish.
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
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