Can probiotics support pregnancy health?

  • BMJ Open

  • Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Women who consumed probiotic milk have a lower risk for preeclampsia and preterm labor.

Why this matters

  • Probiotics may affect the inflammatory cascade that may lead to preterm delivery and preeclampsia.

Key results

  • 23.3% of participants reported consumption of probiotic milk prior to pregnancy, 37.6% during early pregnancy, and 32.2% during late pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia was diagnosed in 5.0%.
  • Intake of probiotic milk in late pregnancy was associated with a lower risk for preeclampsia (aOR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.64-0.94).
  • 5.2% had spontaneous preterm birth.
  • Consumption of probiotic milk during early pregnancy was associated with a lower risk for preterm delivery (aOR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.97).

Study design

  • Cohort data from the Mother and Child Cohort Study, a prospective population-based pregnancy cohort study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
  • Questionnaires were used to assess intake of milk products that contain probiotic lactobacilli.
  • Main outcomes included preeclampsia (n=37,050 in preeclampsia analysis) and preterm delivery (n=34,458 in preterm labor analysis).
  • Funding: None disclosed.   

Limitations

  • Some women may have consumed probiotics from sources other than milk.