Selecting the right probiotic for your specific health needs can be a tricky process, especially when it comes to finding the right one for prenatal health!
While probiotic supplements aren’t hard to find nowadays, most of the products sold in convenient stores and local markets are somewhat subpar in quality.
The majority of these probiotics contain low strain variety, lack prebiotics, and fail to offer clinically studied strains that have been proven to resolve certain health conditions.
Thankfully, we’ve found the leading probiotics available that are designed to promote fertility, support a healthy pregnancy, and enhance the long-term health of both a mother and her baby.
In this article, we’ll review our top 7 picks for the best probiotics during pregnancy. We’ve included options for both women and men on our list and have taken the time to discuss exactly what to look for in a prenatal probiotic.
TL;DR: What are the best prenatal probiotics?
- Mama Bird Probiotics is the best probiotic for pregnancy. It contains 15 trademarked probiotic strains that provide support before, during, and after pregnancy.
- BiomeMD for Women is the best probiotic for vaginal health. Some of its specific probiotic strains for targeted feminine care include Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, and Lactobacillus reuteri 1E1.
- FH PRObiotic for Men is one of the first probiotic supplements made that’s targeted to support male fertility. It contains the following 6 strains that replenish friendly bacteria that support sperm health: Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus.
- Daily Synbiotic by Seed is by far the best prebiotic and probiotic combination available today. This symbiotic supplement contains 24 clinically studied, broad-spectrum strains of probiotics contained in a prebiotic capsule that support digestion, dermatological health, cardiovascular function, and micronutrient synthesis.
- BiomeMD is the best probiotic for constipation. It contains the specific strains Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG that have been clinically proven to reduce gut transit time and aid with constipation.
- Probiotic 40 Gut Boost + is the best probiotic for bloating. Its combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus 14, Bifidobacterium lactis 04, Lactobacillus plantarum 115, Lactobacillus paracasei 37, and Marine Polysaccharide Complex Fructooligosaccharide work together to boost the immune system, ease digestion, and eliminate toxins from the digestive tract.
- Probiotic Prenatal+ is the best probiotic for acid reflux. It contains Lactobacillus plantarum, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum along with ginger to help reduce nausea and vomiting related to acid reflux and contains highly bioavailable and easy to digest forms of key vitamins required for optimal prenatal health.
Comparison of the 7 Best Probiotics During Pregnancy
Mama Bird® Probiotics by Best Nest – Best Probiotic for Pregnancy
Up first on our list for the best probiotics during pregnancy is Mama Bird Probiotics!
This prenatal probiotic can be used before, during, and after pregnancy and provides women with 50 Billion CFU of essential probiotics.
Mama Bird contains 15 trademarked probiotic strains along with a prebiotic blend composed of apple pectin, l-glutamine, and inulin (FOS).
This potent synbiotic blend was carefully crafted to provide the following health benefits:
- Immune system improvements
- Reduced risk of infant allergy formation
- Relief of constipation and IBS
- Improved blood sugar levels
- Better digestion and nutrient absorption
- Support for vaginal health
- Reduction of anxiety and depression
To aid its absorption, Mama Bird Probiotics is encapsulated in delayed-release, acid-resistant capsules that are incredibly small and easy to swallow.
It’s recommended for women to take 1 capsule daily of Mama Bird Probiotics.
- Contains 15 trademarked probiotic strains
- Prebiotic blend of apple pectin, l-glutamine, and inulin (FOS)
- Only 1 capsule daily
- Doesn’t disclose specific concentration of each strain
- Doesn’t disclose concentration of prebiotic blend
- Some women may experience minor but temporary digestive issues
Best Probiotic for Vaginal Health – BiomeMD® for Women by 1MD
BiomeMD for Wome is specifically tailored to feminine care and contains 16 trademarked probiotic strains along with 4 prebiotics.
The following probiotic strains have extensive clinical research for their role in promoting vaginal health through reducing inflammation, promoting antioxidant defense, and inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes that may lead to bacterial vaginosis (BV) or aerobic vaginitis (AV) :
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 – 1 Billion CFU
- Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 – 4 Billion CFU
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 – 2 Billion CFU
- Lactobacillus reuteri 1E1 – 1 Billion CFU
In order to enhance the potency and vitality of these probiotic strains, BiomeMD includes human identical oligosaccharides (HMOs) as a part of its prebiotic blend.
This type of prebiotic is well known for its role in preferentially feeding beneficial gut bacteria, specifically Bifidobacterium.
It is recommended for women to take 1 capsule daily of BiomeMD for Women along with food containing fiber.
- 16 probiotic strains and 4 prebiotics
- Contains human identical oligosaccharides (HMOs)
- Only 1 capsule per day
- Doesn’t disclose specific amounts of probiotics in its proprietary blend
- Some women may prefer to not use synthetic prebiotics (HMOs)
- Contains vegetable oil powder
Best Probiotic for Men – FH PRObiotic for Men by Fairhaven Health
Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors of prenatal health is male fertility!
It takes 2 healthy individuals in order to successfully conceive making it is of utmost importance for both women and men to ensure their fertility is optimal.
One of the best ways men can boost their fertility is through the use of a probiotic, thus we recommend FH PRObiotic as the best probiotic for men.
The following probiotic strains are included within this product in order to improve sperm health parameters, boost the immune system, and improve cardiovascular health through the management of cholesterol:
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
It is recommended for men to take 1 capsule daily.
- 6 probiotic strains for male fertility
- Only 1 capsule per day
- No refrigeration necessary
- Does not contain prebiotic
- Lacks a wide variety of probiotic strains
- Does not disclose specific strain concentration or name
Best Prebiotic and Probiotic Combination – Daily Synbiotic by Seed
Seed offers the best prebiotic and probiotic combination that can be used by both women and men.
Its Daily Synbiotic contains over 53 billion AFU of broad-spectrum probiotics that stem from 24 trademarked strains along with 400mg of non-fermenting punicalagins concentrated from Indian pomegranate.
Its formulation is designed to support the major health areas of digestive health, dermatological health, cardiovascular health, and micronutrient synthesis.
Some of the most noteworthy strains found in Daily Synbiotic that promote fertility through preventing BV, improving sperm parameters, enhancing natural folate production, and improving cardiovascular health include :
- L. crispatus SD-LCR01-IT
- L. fermentum SD-LF8-IT
- B. adolescentis SD-BA5-IT
- Lactobacillus plantarum SD-LDL400-UK
- Bifidobacterium longum SD-BL4-IT
It is recommended for adults 18 and older to take up to 2 capsules daily. For best results, this probiotic should be taken on an empty stomach.
- Contains 24 broad-spectrum probiotic strains
- Made with non-fermenting prebiotic to reduce digestive issues
- No refrigeration required
- Requires subscription
- Proprietary formula – doesn’t list specific concentrations of strains
- Only 1 version available – some people may prefer female/male-specific probiotic
Nothing’s worse than constipation throughout pregnancy! That’s why we’ve included the best probiotic for constipation on our list.
BiomeMD provides much-needed relief for constipation and its associated discomfort and inflammation.
This potent supplement is comprised of 15 different probiotic strains including the key strains of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG which have been clinically verified to reduce total gut transit time and relieve the most symptoms associated with constipation.
BiomeMD also includes human identical oligosaccharides (HMOs) along with XOS, FOS, and GOS as a part of its prebiotic blend.
- Contains 15 probiotic strains and 4 prebiotics
- Includes 2 of the most potent probiotics for constipation relief
- Only 1 capsule per day
- Does not disclose the concentration of probiotics within its proprietary blend
- Some women may prefer non-fermenting prebiotics for additional relief
- Contains vegetable oil powder
Many women experience bloating through their pregnancy due to hormonal imbalances and microbiome shifts.
Probiotics can be extremely helpful in shedding excess water that’s related to these issues and also aids nutrient absorption.
Probiotic 40 Gut Boost + by Nuzena is the best probiotic for bloating as it contains the following strains that optimize nutrient absorption, reduce inflammation, and restore healthy bacteria within the gut :
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus La-14
- Bifidobacterium Lactis Bl-04
- Lactobacillus plantarum Lp-115
- Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37
Something incredibly unique about this probiotic supplement is its delivery technology, MAKTREK Bi-Pass Technology.
This system makes use of a natural seaweed extract which encapsulated the probiotic blend in order to ensure absorption and delivery through the stomach.
It is recommended for adults 18 and older to take 2 capsules daily, once during the middle of the day and then again at night.
- Contains 4 clinically studied probiotics
- Contains fructooligosaccharides sourced from seaweed
- Made with veggie capsules
- Lacks strain diversity
- Doesn’t disclose the concentration of each strain
- 2 capsules per serving
Up to 50% of women experience acid reflux during their pregnancy. While extremely common, this side effect can lead to major changes in eating habits or even aversion to food which can be problematic when trying to properly nourish a growing baby.
Even though there are numerous over-the-counter remedies and drug therapies to resolve this health issue, it’s always in the best interest of both mother and baby to alleviate symptoms naturally through lifestyle modifications and dietary changes.
The combination of probiotics with antioxidants and herbal remedies is an absolute must for mothers who are seeking a natural solution to their heartburn!
As such, we’ve included Probiotic Prenatal + by Mary Ruth’s as our choice for the best probiotic for acid reflux during pregnancy.
This prenatal supplement includes a probiotic blend of Lactobacillus plantarum, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum combined with ginger and red raspberry leaf that promotes both gastrointestinal and vaginal health, prevents nausea and vomiting, and leads to improved labor outcomes.
Additionally, the following essential nutrients and antioxidants have been included within its formulation in the most bioavailable and easy-to-digest form possible:
- 15mcg Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
- 18mg Iron (Ferrochel®)
- 940mcg DFE Folate (Magnafolate-C®)
- 2.8mcg Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
- 60mcg Selenium (SelenoExcell®)
- 55mg Choline (VitaCholine®)
It is recommended for women to take 2 capsules daily and this product may be taken with or without food, depending on preference.
- Contains 3 key probiotic strains that promote both feminine health and digestion
- Includes essential nutrients and antioxidants in bioavailable, easy to digest forms
- Ginger and red raspberry leaf also included to reduce nausea and promote better labor outcomes
- Doesn’t disclose specific concentration of probiotic strains
- Lacks strain variety and strain specification
- Concentration of ginger is lower than clinically effective dosages
Many women choose to use probiotics as a part of their prenatal health regimen not only to improve their fertility and overall health but also to boost the immune system of their baby and reduce the risk of infections, allergies, and other conditions.
Most prenatal probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
Lactobacillus strains are generally used to help maintain a healthy vaginal pH and restore good bacteria. These strains convert sugar into lactic acid which creates a more acidic environment in both the gut and vagina which prevents overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria or other pathogens.
Lactobacillus is also known for its role in boosting the immune system in both mother and baby, improving glucose metabolism, and assisting with mental health by reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.
Bifidobacterium strains can be found all throughout the gut and are regarded as some of the most crucial strains for immune system function. This type of bacteria supports digestion, greatly influences the development of a child’s immunity, and reduces the risk of allergy formation.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacteria lactis, and Bifidobacterium bifidum strains are the most studied during pregnancy, though all of these have benefits for mama and baby.
Benefits of Probiotics During Pregnancy
There have been countless benefits observed from the use of probiotics and prebiotics during pregnancy.
Some of the leading health benefits associated with prenatal probiotics include:
- Healthier vaginal microbiome
- Decreased risk of urogenital infections
- Reduction in postpartum anxiety and depression
- Boosts the immune system, fights off infections, and lowers inflammation
- Improvements in breast milk quality
- Reduction in the risk of formation of allergies and skin disorders in newborns
- Protects mother from gestational diabetes and aids carbohydrate metabolism
- Constipation, gas, and bloating
- Helps prevent morning sickness and occasional nausea
- Reduces mercury and arsenic absorption
- Lowers the risk of pre-term birth and preeclampsia
Probiotics for Men
Many prenatal brands fall short in terms of providing proper prenatal supplementation for men, especially when it comes to developing the right type of probiotic supplements.
It takes 2 healthy partners to successfully conceive a child, thus the health of men must also be prioritized when selecting prenatal supplements.
Research conducted over the last several decades has displayed the increasing importance of the use of probiotics in improving sperm health parameters, such as increasing sperm count and motility while improving morphology and vitality.
Additionally, many studies have also shown that certain strains of probiotics improve cardiovascular health, cholesterol homeostasis, hormone production, and sexual function.
Similar to women, most prenatal probiotics for men also include a mix of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
Some of the best strains for men’s health and fertility include Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus crispatus.
Probiotics Benefits for Men
The major health benefits provided by probiotics for men include:
- Improve cardiovascular function and enhanced cholesterol breakdown
- Enhanced steroid synthesis and spermatogenesis
- Improvements in sperm quantity, quality, and motility
- Healthier microbial composition in seminal fluid and greater ejaculate volume
- Lowered risk for forming erectile dysfunction associated with IBS
- Fewer urogenital infections and reduced inflammation
- Protection against free radical damage
- Higher testosterone levels and greater excess estrogen removal
What to Look for in a Probiotic
There are several factors to consider when trying to select the best probiotic possible for improving prenatal health.
3 of the major characteristics which make or break a product include strain diversity, the use of trademarked substrains, and the inclusion of prebiotics.
It’s recommended for women and men to use a prenatal probiotic that contains at least 12 different strains in order to promote broad-spectrum benefits and provide support for microbiome balance.
In addition to having a high number of strains, it’s highly recommended to select a probiotic that uses trademarked substrains that have clinically proven results for their efficacy.
For example, Seed provides the full name of each of the strains it uses along with research pertaining to their clinically verified health benefits.
Finally, the probiotic you select for your prenatal health regimen should include a high-quality prebiotic.
In layman’s terms, prebiotics are food for probiotics to consume in order to live off of and proliferate from.
Not only do they help the good bacteria from probiotics to survive and thrive, but they also promote probiotic function and help to maximize their health benefits.
Prebiotics generally are found in one of the following forms in probiotic supplements:
- Inulin-type fructans
- Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
- Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS)
- Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs)
How Often Should You Take a Probiotic
Probiotics should be taken daily over the course of several months.
Women who are trying to become pregnant should start their use a minimum of 3 months prior to trying to conceive, but it is beneficial to start their use much earlier in order to experience the full range of health benefits.
Probiotics can be used all throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding. You may continue to use a probiotic for as long as desired or needed as long as you do not experience issues such as recurring nausea or stomach pain.
Any side effects experienced while taking probiotics are almost always minor and will resolve shortly on their own. However, it is always best to consult with a medical professional if you are concerned with your symptoms.
Best Time to Take a Probiotic
Most probiotics are recommended to be taken early morning on an empty stomach to limit exposure to digestive enzymes and bile salts.
However, some products may be divided throughout the day with one serving taken in the morning or early afternoon and then another serving taken at night.
How Long Does it Take for a Probiotic to Work
There is no exact answer to this question, however, most people experience results from consistent and daily use after the course of several weeks.
When it comes to easing digestion, a lot of people say that they’ve experienced significant results after a few days of use.
In contrast, people who use probiotics for issues such as restoring a healthy vaginal microbiome or improving fertility oftentimes state that they noticed significant improvements within 3-6 months.
Best Probiotics During Pregnancy
As seen, there are several amazing probiotic supplements available for use during pregnancy.
Our top pick for the best prenatal probiotic is Mama Bird Probiotics by Best Nest.
However, if you’re looking for probiotics that resolve specific health areas, such as improving vaginal health or reducing bloating and/or acid reflux, we recommend BiomeMD® for Women by 1MD, Probiotic 40 Gut Boost + by Nuzena, and Probiotic Prenatal + by Mary Ruth’s.
If you’re still interested in looking at other products, we suggest checking out FH PRObiotic for Men by Fairhaven Health to help improve sperm health parameters as well as Daily Synbiotic by Seed for a broad-spectrum probiotic that can be taken by both women and men.