More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes

You know that yogurt helps to supply your daily calcium, but can it decrease your risk of gestational diabetes? Possibly. "Probiotics," those friendly bacteria in yogurt, miso, cottage cheese, aged cheese, kimchi, and other foods have been discussed in everything from research journals to commercials for "active" yogurt.

The British Journal of Nutrition recently published research indicating that some strains of probiotics may decrease a woman's risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women in the study were randomly assigned to a control group, which received standard prenatal care including basic nutrition information from the clinic, or a group that received more intense dietary counseling. The dietary counseling group was further divided. Half of the women received counseling only. The other half received counseling and a probiotic supplement.

Women who took the probiotic supplement were significantly less likely to develop gestational diabetes than either of the other groups (13% vs. 34%). Women who received dietary counseling had about the same rate of gestational diabetes as women in the control group however, the counseling reduced their risk of fetal overgrowth associated with gestational diabetes.

Different strains of probiotics appear to produce different health benefits. The strains of probiotics associated with reduction in the rate of gestational diabetes in this study were Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis.

There did not appear to be any ill effects from taking the probiotics. There was no significant different in the percentage of women who carried their baby to term or in the 5 minute Apgar scores of the babies. Cesarean rates were similar. Miscarriage rates were approximately the same. This would indicate that taking the probiotic was safe for healthy women. Women with chronic diseases were excluded from the study, although women with allergies were included.

Other studies of probiotic foods and supplements indicate that they decrease bloating and gas. They may help you absorb calcium better and help strengthen your immune system and your baby's. Probiotics are associated with a reduction in the risk of allergies (J Am Diet Assoc 2008:108, 501-521). There is even some evidence to suggest that a healthy gut environment may even help you avoid obesity (Mayo Clin Proc 2008 Apr; 83(4):460-9).

So, how much yogurt, kefir, miso, or kimchi should you eat? Should you take probiotic supplements? It is too early in the study process to give accurate recommendations. However, probiotic food is generally healthy food. If you like it, include it as a part of your healthy diet. As with any supplement, discuss probiotic supplement use with your doctor who can make recommendations based on your specific medical needs.