A recent study found maternal supplementation with a Probiotic appears to be helpful in terms of baby length and weight at 12 months although it does not affect diarrhea incidence.
Over 200 healthy women, at 24 weeks to 28 weeks into their pregnancy participated in this study and were randomly assigned to three groups. The first group (68 women) received no supplementation –group 2(70 women) received two servings of a daily supplement containing 7.9 grams of protein, minerals and multivitamins-group 3 (70 women) received the same daily supplement as group two enriched with a Probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis. The study period began in the third trimester of pregnancy and lasted until at least 2 months after the babies were delivered.
At 12 months, researchers found the infants in group 2 and group 3 had gained more height and weight than those in group 1 (the non supplemented group). Additionally even though the participants in group 2 and group 3 had higher caloric intakes, the mean maternal weight gain was comparable in all three groups at the time of delivery. No statistically significant differences were seen between the groups in regards to the incidence of pregnancy-related or adverse fetal outcomes. Lastly there was no difference in the incidence of infant diarrhea between the three groups.
Researchers did point out a few limitations found in the study. First, supplement intake was not monitored after the two month postnatal period, nor did they assess any effects continued supplementation may have had on growth in infants who had been breastfed. Next, researchers did not review the potential impact the supplements had on the composition of breast milk which may have had an effect on infant growth. Lastly the study population was limited in the sense the participants consisted in women only in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy living in a specific region.
Further studies are needed.
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