Probiotics and Pregnancy Review
You may have heard that probiotics can help your digestion, but did you know that they may also be able to save your unborn baby’s life? In Norway, researchers closely studied the intake and effects of probiotics on over 30,000 pregnant women. Their findings proved that probiotics are even more essential for pregnant women and their unborn babies than we had previously known. In many of our vitamin reviews, we encourage women to find a prenatal vitamin that contains probiotics because it can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. However, in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, it was found that the consumption of probiotics during pregnancy can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia by 20%. This is even higher than we could have hoped. But wait! There’s more!
Probiotics and Severe Pre-eclampsia
Perhaps the most surprising and impressive finding of this study was the unique effect that probiotics has on severe pre-eclampsia. When pregnant women consumed probiotics weekly, pre-eclamsia was reduced by 25%, and when consumed daily, probiotics reduced the risk of pre-eclampsia by 39%!
The Science Behind the Numbers
The Norwegian Institute for Public Health hypothesizes that probiotics may work in one of two ways to reduce pre-eclampsia. The first theory is that probiotics have a local effect on the cells that actually surround the embryo. In the second hypothesis, scientists reason that probiotics help reduce overall inflammation (one of the proposed causes of pre-eclampsia). Either way, probiotics positively affect the way your body reacts to pre-eclampsia and help your natural defenses fight the condition.
Pre-eclampsia and you
For many pregnant women, pre-eclampsia is something vague to worry about. Remember when your parents would shine a flashlight under the bed to “get rid of monsters”? Well, now we’re the grown-ups and the best way to prevent pre-eclampsia is to shine a light on the matter and understand it!
Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that affects 2-8% of all pregnancies. Once pre-eclampsia develops, the more serious eclampsia can follow, which causes seizures and can be life-threatening to you and your baby. Basically, pre-eclampsia occurs when a pregnant woman develops high-blood pressure, or if high-blood pressure becomes worse. High-blood pressure is particularly dangerous when you’re pregnant because it can prevent the placenta from giving your baby the food and oxygen that he or she needs. At this early stage, your baby may be undernourished, underweight, and/or need to be delivered early. If the condition worsens, seizures and placental abruption can result – both of which are highly dangerous to you and your baby. Obviously, understanding the severity of this occurrence also means understanding the importance of preventing pre-eclampsia. Probiotics are an easy and viable way to prevent pre-eclampsia and protect you and your baby.
Probiotics and you
Fortunately for you (and your baby), probiotics are relatively easy to find these days. Although you can get probiotics from yogurt, some soy based foods, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, the easiest and most reliable way to make sure that you are getting sufficient probiotics every single day is to find a prenatal vitamin that includes probiotics. Probiotics are not just popular with health food stores anymore! The best prenatal vitamins on the market today should include probiotics! So check those labels and get your probiotics!