Turns out having a family pet can benefit kids before they're even born
Pet parents, rejoice!
Lots of studies have previously shown the health benefits of having a family pet – it can make children less anxious, and it's great for learning responsibility – but did you know a having a pet in the house can even prove to have health benefits to children before they are even born?
It's true. According to a new study from the
According to the Canadian researchers, it all comes down to gut bacteria.
“We looked at the kinds of gut bacteria these babies have around three months of age, and we found exposure during pregnancy or postnatally was associated with some beneficial gut bacteria in these babies,” study author Anita Kozyrskyj said on
It’s long been thought that sharing the floor with a pet exposes babies to good bacteria, as other studies indicated
“The interesting thing is that exposure in pregnancy also resulted in these changes, suggesting that there might be some changes to mom’s gut bacteria while she’s pregnant,” Kozyrskyj explains.
The research looked at the gut bacteria of more than 700 3-month-old babies whose moms were enrolled in the
“Both have been associated with a lower incidence of allergies later in life and a lower incidence of becoming overweight,” Kozyrskyj told CBC.
The work also indicates that when moms have a pet during pregnancy, the transmission of vaginal group B Strep, which causes pneumonia in newborns, is reduced.
Most of the moms with pets who participated in the research were dog owners, but a smaller group of cat lovers was represented in the research—indicating kitties bring the beneficial bacteria to pregnant moms, too.