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Probiotics May Reduce the Risk of Pre-Eclampsia, Premature Birth

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that occurs during pregnancy in which the mother’s body experiences an exaggerated inflammatory response. It is extremely dangerous for both the mother and child. A recent study suggests that taking probiotics during pregnancy may help lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and premature birth.


Participants in the study included 70,149 pregnant women who took part in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. All of the mothers provided information about their diet, lifestyle, medical history, and any other relevant information at 15, 22, and 30 weeks of pregnancy. They also provided information about consumption of different probiotic milk products before and during their pregnancy at the 15 and 30-week mark.


Just over 23% of the women reported consuming probiotic milk products before pregnancy, 37% consumed them in early pregnancy, and 32% consumed them in late pregnancy. Consumption of probiotic milk was more common in older, wealthier, and better-educated women who were in their first pregnancies.


The researchers analyzed 37,050 participants for pre-eclampsia and found that 5% of them had the condition. After examining the data, the researchers found that consuming probiotic products later in the pregnancy was associated with a 20% lower risk of pre-eclampsia. After further analysis, they found that the association was only significant in women who had severe pre-eclampsia.


For premature birth, the researchers looked at the data of 34,458 women. Among those women, 2,858 babies were born early, 1,795 of whom were spontaneous premature births and 1,065 of whom were born early as a consequence of medical treatment. After examining the data, the researchers found an 11% reduced risk of premature birth if mothers consumed probiotics in early pregnancy and a 27% reduced risk if probiotics were consumed in late pregnancy.


Researchers from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden led the study. It was published January 23, 2018, in BMJ Open.


While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to been shown to help the body in numerous other ways.


Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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