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Pregnant Women and Their Babies May Benefit from Probiotics

Pregnant women may be able to keep their children healthy before they are even born by taking probiotics during their pregnancy, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Turku in Finland.

The study findings were published in the February 2010 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

For the study, the Finnish researchers recruited 256 women in their first trimester of pregnancy. The women were randomly assigned to a control group or a group that received probiotics daily. The reearchers then followed the mothers and the babies for 24 months.

They found that probiotic supplementation reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 20%. There were no negative effects associated with the supplementation.

Additionally, the rate of larger birth size was also significantly lower among the probiotic group. Birth size is a marker for later obesity.

Offspring of women who suffer from gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at an increased risk for childhood obesity and diabetes as they get older. Additionally, gestational diabetes increases a woman's risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Probiotics have been shown to provide a large range of other health benefits, particularly in regards to treating gut problems and gastrointestinal disorders. Probiotics also may boost the immune system, delay the development of allergies and possibly even help children avoid the flu.

To boost probiotic levels in your gut, try consuming more yogurt and cultured milk products. You can also try incorporating a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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