Probiotics during Pregnancy can reduce the occurence of Gestational Diabetes

We all know that prenatal nutrition impacts upon the health and well-being of the child, but it can also impact on the mother in the long term.

A recent Finland study examined the safety and efficacy of perinatal probiotic-supplement in conjunction with dietary counseling by evaluating pregnancy outcome and fetal and infant growth during the 24 months’ follow-up.

In a 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that probiotic supplements and dietary counseling could help reduce the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome during pregnancy.

The study included 256 women, all of whom were normally healthy and had no chronic diseases.  During the first trimester, the participants were randomised into control and dietary intervention groups. The dietary intervention group was given intense nutritional counseling by a nutritionist, and then further divided into two groups: one receiving probiotic supplements and the other a placebo. The probiotic capsules were taken from the beginning of the intervention (first trimester) through the end of exclusive breast-feeding.

Pregnancy outcomes and fetal and infant growth were analysed during the two years of follow-up. No adverse events were reported and all pregnancies were of normal duration.

Women who took probiotic supplements had a reduced frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): 13 percent for the diet/probiotics group, compared to 36 percent for the diet/placebo group and 34 percent for the control group. Dietary counseling during pregnancy also reduced the risk of increased birth size in both groups, reducing the likelihood of future obesity.

The results of this study indicate that probiotic supplements and dietary counseling during pregnancy can be a safe and effective way to address the epidemic of metabolic syndromes such as gestational diabetes.

Source: Luoto R, et al. 2010. Br J Nutr 103(12):1792-9