Probiotics Improve Quality of Life During Pregnancy
By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas
It is estimated that 70-85% of pregnant women experience episodes of nausea during their pregnancy and about half of pregnant women experience vomiting. These symptoms often have a significantly negative impact on a woman’s quality of life during her pregnancy.i According to the CDC, there were over 3,600,000 pregnancies in the United States during 2020. Thus, nausea and vomiting, which are often referred to as morning sickness, create significant distress for over 3 million pregnant women in the U.S. annually.
Unfortunately, very little research has been conducted on alternative therapies for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Studies report that therapies like acupressure, acupuncture, ginger, and vitamin B6 have only limited success.ii However, the results of a new study suggest that taking probiotics during pregnancy can substantially reduce the daily incidence of nausea and vomiting as well as improve a pregnant woman’s overall quality of life.
This new study provides wonderful news for the millions of women who suffer from nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy. 32 pregnant women were enrolled in this study. The duration of the study was 16 days consisting of 2 cycles of 6 daily probiotics and 2 days without probiotics. The probiotic used in this study contained ten different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria bacteria (10 billion CFU) along with 200 mg of inulin, which is a prebiotic.iii
The women were asked to enter a daily survey to understand whether probiotic intake influenced GI function within 24 h. The survey questions included daily nausea and vomiting times as well as 17 questions that evaluated life quality. Scores ranged from 1-5:
A score of 1: no nausea or vomiting
A score of 2: nausea or vomiting 1-2 times/day (not too bad or fair)
A score of 3: nausea or vomiting 3 times/day (bad);
A score of 4: nausea or vomiting 4-5 times/day (awful)
A score of 5: nausea or vomiting all the time (cannot function).
The 32 women recorded 17 daily observations on their symptoms during the duration of the study. This created a dataset of 544 observations for the researchers to statistically assess.
The researchers reported that taking the probiotic significantly reduced nausea and vomiting
- 16% reduction in nausea hours (the number of hours participants felt nauseous)
- 33% reduction in the number of times they vomited
- Probiotic intake also significantly improved quality of life issues such as fatigue, poor appetite, and difficulty maintaining normal social activities, as scored by questionnaires.
- Probiotics were found to reduce constipation significantly.
Fecal levels of vitamin E were found to increase after taking the probiotics. Interestingly, women with the highest fecal levels of vitamin E were found to have the lowest vomiting scores. Elevated levels of bile salts can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Probiotic intake resulted in a 5- to 6-fold increase in enzymes that metabolize bile salts. High levels of the bile salt-metabolizing enzymes were associated with a lower daily frequency of vomiting. Bile acids are also known to regulate muscle contraction and intestinal motility. The substantial increase in bile metabolizing enzymes, which reduces bile toxicity, may explain the reduction in levels of constipation.
Overall, the results of this study revealed that the administration of probiotics during pregnancy substantially reduced the incidence and severity of nausea, vomiting, constipation and improved the quality of life for the pregnant women who participated in this study.
Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics for Constipation
Constipation is a common symptom experienced during pregnancy, which causes discomfort and can result in a reduced quality of life. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics was studied in a group of female college students with a history of constipation. The women took 3 capsules of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics daily for two weeks. At the end of the study, all women experienced significant improvement in defecation frequency (the number of bowel movements) and stool output (the quantity of feces in bowel movements). The women also reported improvements in the smell, shape and color of their stools and significant relief after bowel movements.
Antibiotics During Pregnancy
It has been reported that about 25% of pregnant women are prescribed an antibiotic during their pregnancy and antibiotics account for about 80% of the medications that women take during pregnancy.iv In addition to being important for a woman’s health, a woman’s microbiome plays an important role in her newborn’s health outcomes, especially for the development of a healthy immune system in later life. Prenatal antibiotics are associated with increased risk of childhood asthma, epilepsy, and obesity.
Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics
Taking Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics during pregnancy can help women maintain a healthy microbiome. If a woman must take a course of antibiotics during pregnancy, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics is an excellent choice to help quickly restore a healthy microbiome.
It is increasingly being recognized that the benefits from probiotics are primarily due to the postbiotic metabolites that the bacteria produce. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, which contains over 500 postbiotic metabolites, is the world’s leading product for the direct delivery of postbiotic metabolites.