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Try Probiotics to Lower Pregnancy Nausea and Soothe Fussy Babies

Baby smiling sitting wearing blue hooded bathrobe


Two new studies suggest that the right probiotics can offer relief for the 85 percent of pregnant women with nausea and for the 25 percent of fussy newborns with colic. In the journal Nutrients, University of California, Davis researchers reported on a study in which 32 pregnant women that had nausea, vomiting and constipation took a probiotic capsule twice a day. The over-the-counter probiotics formula contained 10 billion live cultures, mainly Lactobacillus. After 12 days, the number of hours participants felt nauseated was reduced by 16 percent, and they vomited one-third fewer times. Constipation was also reduced. Quality of life markers such as fatigue, poor appetite and difficulty maintaining normal social activities also improved. Examining biomarkers in fecal samples, the researchers found the probiotics increased vitamin E and a bile salt enzyme that helps prevent vomiting and nausea.

In a second study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, University of Naples researchers explored whether a particular probiotic strain (Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis BB-12) could help soothe babies with colic, a common gastrointestinal disorder in the first three months of life that studies have linked to maternal postpartum depression, parental guilt and frustration, drug use and long-term behavioral and sleep problems. They found that the probiotic reduced the duration of daily crying by 50 to 80 percent in the 40 infants that received it once daily for 28 days, compared to a 32 percent reduction among 40 babies receiving a placebo. The probiotic also had beneficial effects on sleep duration and on stool frequency and consistency. It increased gut production of butyrate, which positively regulates intestinal transit time, pain perception, the gut-brain axis and inflammation.

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