Constipation is a common problem faced globally by pregnant women, especially in their final trimester. No significant remedy is available to treat the situation except for the commonly available laxatives. But these laxatives also have side effects. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help and support the digestion of foods and prevent constipation. However, their effect on pregnant women has not been much studied.
Inge de Milliano and colleagues at Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, conducted a pilot study to evaluate the role of multispecies probiotic mixture in treating constipation in pregnant women. The study was published in the Nutrition Journal 2012.
AdvertisementTwenty pregnant women with functional constipation aged 18 years and above and who were between 12 and 34 weeks into their pregnancy were enrolled for the study. They were given a daily dose of Ecologic(R)Relief (a mixture of Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Bifidobacterium longum W108, Lactobacillus casei W79, Lactobacillus plantarum W62 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus W71. EcologicŪRelief also contained very small amounts of rice starch, maltodextrins, prebiotics - inulin and fructo- oligosaccharides (FOS) and salts - potassium chloride, magnesium sulphate, and manganese sulphate.
The study revealed an increase in defecation frequency and decrease in the feeling of incomplete evacuation, anorectal obstruction and straining while defecating. There were no adverse effects noted with probiotics.
This study is relevant and important not only because of utter discomfort due to symptoms of constipation in pregnancy but also because the straining can impair the functioning of pelvic region. Further, disturbed defecation can also cause prolapse of the uterus. Considering that probiotics are non-pharmacological and are widely used everywhere, 'probiotics could be of additional value in the treatment of constipation in clinical practice in pregnant women' say the authors.
The researchers concluded that probiotics are effective in significantly treating pregnancy induced constipation, however they said that a randomized placebo trial is required to substantiate the role of probiotics.
Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy? 'A pilot study'; Inge de Milliano et al; Nutrition Journal 2012