Why women with dogs actually have healthier babies (yes, really)

The news all dog-lovers have been waiting to hear...

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

If you’re a dog-lover and you’re also expecting, you may have heard that it’s dangerous to have a pooch around your newborn.

It doesn’t matter if you have the smartest dog breed in Britain, or if you like to talk to your pet (because BFFs), there are always naysayers who are ready to list off reasons why you should get rid of your beloved pet.

However, if you’re currently pregnant and deciding whether or not to keep your dog, here’s some science to help make your mind up for you.

According to new research, women with dogs during pregnancy actually have healthier babies. The data was taken at the University of Alberta, where they found that houses with dogs actually produced babies with some very useful gut bacteria.

The study followed 746 infants and their mothers for four years, with the mother’s noting whether or not they had a pet during the second or third trimester, as well as approximately three months post-partum.

Following this information they checked the gut health of all the babies and compared the results of those who were exposed to pets during pregnancy and shortly after birth, and those who weren’t.

It found that the babies with household pets (70% of which were dogs) had a wealth of the good bacteria, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira, which are linked to a lower risk of obesity and allergic diseases in children.

The study said: ‘The impact of pet ownership varies under different birth scenarios.

‘However, in common, exposure to pets increased the abundance of two bacteria… which have been negatively associated with childhood atopy and obesity.’

So there you have it – having a pooch is good for you and your baby. Maybe you can convince your OH to get a French Bulldog after all…

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