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Probiotic milk in pregnancy can reduce preeclampsia risk

Tuesday 30th January 2018
Consumption of probiotic milk in pregnancy has been linked with a lower risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in a new research paper. Image: daoleduc via iStock
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    Probiotic milk consumption during pregnancy has been linked with a reduced risk of expectant mothers suffering preeclampsia or giving birth prematurely in a new study.

    Research carried out in Norway and published in the BMJ Open journal found that drinking probiotics at certain points throughout a pregnancy could have a potentially significant effect on its outcome - advice that nurses and midwives may wish to pass on to their patients.

    The study involved the monitoring of some 70,149 pregnancies in total; 23 per cent of the mothers who took part had regularly consumed probiotic milk before their pregnancy, while 37 per cent drank it in their early pregnancy and 32 per cent as their due date neared.

    Those who drank probiotic milk during the latter stages of their pregnancy were found to be 20 per cent less likely to suffer from potentially life-threatening preeclampsia than those who did not consume any at this time.

    Meanwhile, expectant mothers who consumed probiotics in the early weeks of their pregnancy were 11 per cent less likely to give birth prematurely. What's more, these women were 27 per cent more likely to deliver a full-term baby than their counterparts who did not drink probiotic milk while expecting.

    The amount of probiotics consumed did not appear to impact on the outcome; the more important factor seemed to be when in a pregnancy they were drank.

    However, further research is needed to investigate the cause and effect here more closely so that more detailed advice can be given to pregnant women on the consumption of probiotics. In the meantime, there is no reason for them to stop drinking them, as the study found only positive benefits.

    In conclusion of their findings, the authors wrote: "If future randomised controlled studies support a protective effect of probiotic consumption on reduced risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery, recommending it would be a promising public health measure to prevent these adverse pregnancy outcomes."

    Written by James Puckle

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