Probiotics are one of those areas of nutrition and health that we’re really just starting to scratch the surface. You’ve probably heard that probiotics can be used to help with digestive problems, and you’ve probably even heard that they can be used to help babies with colic. Probiotics are a quick and easy way to bring some balance to your body.
However, those benefits are spilling over beyond simply helping the gut. There’s new research that shows that probiotics may actually be beneficial for the pregnant woman. In particular, probiotics may help to reduce the risk of a woman developing preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia typically occurs after about the 20th week of pregnancy, and is marked by an increase in blood pressure. Generally, the woman with preeclampsia will have swelling in her hands, feet, ankles, and face. About one in 20 women will experience preeclampsia. If it’s not recognized and dealt with, it can lead to a more severe condition in which the pregnant woman may have seizures or worse.
This most recent study looked at 33,000 pregnant Norwegian women over a period of six years. Some took probiotics in one form or another each day during pregnancy. That group of women was less likely to develop preeclampsia.
Of the women who took probiotics, only 4.1 percent developed preeclampsia. This compares to 5.6 percent of women who did not take probiotics. Even factoring in other differences between the women that can contribute to preeclampsia such as smoking, weight and other factors, the risk was 20 percent lower for women who took probiotics.
Certainly, more testing in this area could be beneficial. In the Norwegian study, some women drank probiotic milk while others ate probiotic yogurt. Further studies could be done using standardized probiotic capsules, which controls the exact amount of good bacteria that he woman gets.
The good news is that probiotics are safe. They are “friendly” bacteria that are good for your digestive system, immune system, and more.
So, what about you? Do you take probiotics? If so, in what form? What has your experience been with them?