When you’re pregnant it seems like everyone has some important bit of advice to give—do this, eat this, stay away from this—but really the keys to good health during pregnancy are a lot like any other day: follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, and the benefits are sure to follow. So the other day when I came across a story about how probiotic supplements could provide added benefits for pregnant women and their babies, I wasn’t surprised at all.
Scientists in Finland recently followed more than 250 expectant moms to look at how taking probiotics during pregnancy (and afterwards while breastfeeding) may help with healthy blood sugar and preventing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is another name for women who experience high blood sugar levels during pregnancy even though they’ve never had diabetes before, and it affects over 100,000 women in the U.S. every year!
All of the women in the study were considered healthy and had no history of chronic disease, and their daily diet was closely monitored by a nutritionist. But now for the really interesting part: about half of the women received a daily probiotic supplement with a combination of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (those important L’s and B’s!), and those women had improved blood glucose control, which translated into fewer cases of gestational diabetes as well as healthy fetal and infant growth.
Now, I know I talk about probiotics all the time and how all those good bacteria in your gut play a BIG role in keeping your whole body healthy, but this just goes to show that the benefits of probiotics go way beyond just better digestion and a strong immune system. Because there’s been such a drastic rise in obesity and obesity-related disease in this country, researchers are excited about these study results and hope that starting probiotics early on in life will help to ensure a healthy body and weight in later years. More kudos for probiotics!