Results of a recent study suggest that regular consumption of dairy-based probiotics may be associated with lowered risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women. Preeclampsia is a condition during the second half of pregnancy in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop. The exact cause is unknown, but it can lead to complications since the only way to cure it is to give birth. Preterm labor may need to be induced in certain preeclampsia cases.

In the probiotic study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, data were analyzed from 33,399 Norwegian women. It was found that the women who regularly consumed lactobacilli-containing dairy products also had a 20 percent reduced risk in developing preeclampsia.

While this study does not prove causality, it only shows an association; studies like these pave the way for further trials investigating just what is happening here. The researchers stated, “Further strain/species-specific investigation is warranted with the use of randomized controlled trials for further evaluation of the effect of probiotics on preeclampsia.” The researchers suggested two possible explanations for probiotic benefit to preeclampsia: a possible local effect on cells surrounding the embryo, and/or an overall reduction in inflammation levels.

Taking probiotics during pregnancy has also been found to reduce belly size after pregnancy, maintain healthy blood sugar, and even help reduce later allergic illnesses. Always be sure to talk to your doctor about taking supplements during pregnancy, however. You want to be sure your doc is also on board.