Constipation is a common complaint for pregnant women with as many as 40% suffering with the condition according to NHS statistics. However, a new pilot study undertaken by the University of Amsterdam, has revealed that probiotic supplementation may be effective in reducing constipation during pregnancy.

Led by Dr Marc Benninga, the study observed a group of 20 pregnant women suffering with constipation and measured the effects of a probiotic formula over a four week period. The women completed a diary and questionnaire, before and during the study, in which they recorded defecation frequency, consistency of stools, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and any possible adverse effects such as abdominal pain or diarrhoea.

The results showed a significant reduction of constipation after week 2 and week 4 of supplementation of the probiotic formula, including Bifidobacterium lactis, which can be found in For maintaining regularity. Benninga and his team commented that probiotics may offer a safe and possibly effective method of reducing constipation during pregnancy but further research is needed.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the use of probiotics in constipated pregnant women… A large placebo-controlled randomised trial is now required to confirm these data.”

For more information about constipation, including tips for constipated pregnant women, see www.constipationexperts.co.uk

Reference: Benninga, M. A et al. (2012) Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy? A pilot study. Nutrition Journal. Published online ahead of print.


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