Is Probiotic Supplementation During Pregnancy Important for Labour?

Written by
Fathalla Ali, Bsc MSc, MPH and PHD student UNSW

Adaptation of the maternal immune system to the developmental change during pregnancy is an important factor for a successful pregnancy. During this period, the immune system should remain tolerance to the fetal allograft and adapt to immune functions against diseases. Any disruption in this balance could lead to multiple complications such as miscarriage, preterm birth and preeclampsia. It has been known that the second trimester of pregnancy is characterized by anti-inflammatory environment that is important for fetal growth and development, then the immune state will change to a pro-inflammatory environment that is critical for labour and delivery.

A group of researchers from The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University investigated the effect of probiotic supplementation during pregnancy on gut microbiota and inflammatory proteins (cytokines). In this study, 30 pregnant women with no history of diseases, especially periodontitis, type 2 diabetes and bacterial vaginosis, were recruited before 32 weeks of gestation and divided randomly into two groups (14 pregnant women received probiotic and 16 pregnant women did not receive probiotic). The probiotic group received 2 tablets twice daily until delivery. The mixture composed of Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus delbruecki bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Researchers in this study found that the level of inflammatory proteins (cytokines) were equal between baseline and control groups but were significantly increased after probiotic administration. Therefore, probiotic supplementation could have immunomodulatory effects through the stimulation of a variety of inflammatory proteins which could help to create a pro-inflammatory microenvironment which is important for labour.

Keywords: Pregnancy, probiotic

Reference:

Chen, Y., Li, Z., Tye, K. D., Luo, H., Tang, X., Liao, Y., Wang, D., Zhou, J., Yang, P., Li, Y., Su, Y., & Xiao, X. (2019). Probiotic Supplementation During Human Pregnancy Affects the Gut Microbiota and Immune Status. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 9, 254. Click here.