Probiotics For Pregnancy : Mother’s Health

Probiotics are living microorganisms, known as “good bacteria” that confer a health benefit when administered in adequate amounts. The most commonly used probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, often nicknamed as “friendly bacteria”. These organisms create a balanced micro-ecosystem and they are helpful in supporting your digestive health, immune system as well as maintaining overall health [1]. Ongoing research & scientific articles prove that probiotics supplementation during pregnancy and in the neonatal period might reduce some maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes.

UTI (urinary tract infection) is a common cause of serious infection in pregnant women. Caused by bacterial infection in the urinary tract, UTIs can cause pain during urination, fever, tiredness, or shakiness as well nausea or back pain. The intake of probiotics, especially lactobacilli, has been considered for the prevention of UTIs. Since lactobacilli dominate the urogenital flora, it has been suggested to protect against UTI’s. Research shows that reduced presence or the complete absence of Lactobacillus species in the vaginal microbiome is associated with increased risk of various urogenital disease conditions, including vaginal colonization with E coli.[2]

Moreover, up to 38% of pregnant women experience constipation, this can be caused by prenatal supplements and hormonal fluctuations. Research proves that taking probiotics during pregnancy may help prevent constipation. In a 4-week study of 60 pregnant women with constipation, taking a probiotic enriched with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria daily increased the frequency of bowel movements and improved several constipation symptoms [3]. In another study of 20 women, taking probiotics containing a mix of bacteria strains increased bowel movement frequency and improved constipation symptoms like straining, stomach pain, and the sense of incomplete excretion during the pregnancy period [4].

Going further, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. Several complications may occur during pregnancy due to poor glycemic control. GDM is associated with a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes for the mother, such as pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure with protein in the urine) and instrumental or operative delivery. Intestinal microbes change during pregnancy and probiotics can alter intestinal microbes. As probiotics improve glycemic control and gut microbes may be associated with diabetes, probiotics can alter gut microbes and lower the blood sugar levels of pregnant women [5]. 

There are so many complications that can occur that are out of our control during pregnancy, but gut health doesn’t have to be one of them. 


  1. Bermudez-Brito, M., Plaza-Díaz, J., Muñoz-Quezada, S., Gómez-Llorente, C. and Gil, A., 2012. Probiotic mechanisms of action. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 61(2), pp.160-174.
  2. Stapleton, A.E., 2017. The vaginal microbiota and urinary tract infection. Urinary Tract Infections: Molecular Pathogenesis and Clinical Management, pp.79-86.
  3. Mirghafourvand, M., Rad, A.H., Charandabi, S.M.A., Fardiazar, Z. and Shokri, K., 2016. The effect of probiotic yogurt on constipation in pregnant women: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 18(11).
  4. de Milliano, I., Tabbers, M.M., van der Post, J.A. and Benninga, M.A., 2012. Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy?’A pilot study’. Nutrition Journal, 11(1), pp.1-6.
  5. Barrett, H.L., Nitert, M.D., Conwell, L.S. and Callaway, L.K., 2014. Probiotics for preventing gestational diabetes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).

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