Probiotics may significantly improve the symptoms of pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting and constipation, finds a new study. Published in the journal Nutrients, showed that nausea hours (the number of hours participants felt nauseous) were reduced by 16 per cent, and the number of times they vomited was reduced by 33 per cent. Probiotic intake also significantly improved symptoms related to the quality of life, such as fatigue, poor appetite and difficulty maintaining normal social activities, as scored by questionnaires.
"The cause of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is unknown to this date. Various theories have been proposed, but none of them is conclusive," said lead author Albert T. Liu from the University of California, Davis.
"Nausea, vomiting and constipation during pregnancy can significantly diminish the quality of patients' lives. Once nausea and vomiting during pregnancy progress, they can become difficult to control, and sometimes the patient even needs to be hospitalised," Liu added.
For the study, the team involved a small yet significant number of participants who took a probiotic capsule twice a day for six days and then took two days off. They then repeated the cycle. The probiotics were available over-the-counter and mainly contained Lactobacillus., a type of good bacteria. Each capsule contained approximately 10 billion live cultures at the time of manufacture.
Participants kept 17 daily observations of their symptoms during the duration of the study, for a total of 535 observations for the researchers to statistically assess. The team found that probiotics were also found to reduce constipation significantly.
Another finding was that vitamin E levels increased after taking probiotics. Higher levels of vitamin E were associated with low vomiting scores.