Information on Probiotics

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are health products containing healthy micro-organisms, which are naturally found in our gut (intestines).

These friendly micro-organisms in our gut help to break down what we eat and provide energy for the cells that line our intestines. It’s thought they also help our immune system.

Is it safe to take probiotics in pregnancy?

Probiotic supplements are considered safe to take in pregnancy. When taken by mouth they work in the gut and do not get into the blood stream in healthy people. The type and dose of probiotics used in the HUMBA study has been used before in a Finnish study of pregnant women. Probiotics lowered the risk of gestational diabetes without any side effects.

Probiotic in HUMBA

We need to test whether probiotics are helpful for pregnant women in Counties Manukau. In order to do this, half of the participants in HUMBA will receive a dummy capsule (no probiotic) that looks the same as the probiotic capsule. A computer will allocate the participants to receive either probiotic or dummy capsules. This is the only reliable way to find out if probiotics improve the health of mothers and their babies. At the end of the study you will be able to find out which treatment you received, if you wish.


Further reading:

Finnish study on probiotics

Probiotic safety in pregnancy

Probiotics safety in pregnancy and lactation