When mothers took probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, their babies were less likely to develop eczema according to a new study completed in Finland.
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” needed for good bowel health. Our intestines have both good and bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria overrun the good, you can get a number of intestinal problems, such as diarrhea, yeast infections and inflammatory bowel disease. Probiotics, or good bacteria, help to stop the growth of the bad bacteria and can regulate intestinal problems. Probiotics are found in yogurt with the words “live and active cultures” on the label and are also available in supplement form.
The Research Study
The study included 241 pregnant women, all with a history of allergies, who were divided into two groups. One group took a probiotic formula to be mixed in a glass of water each day. The other group received a bacteria-free powder to mix with water – a placebo. The women used the formulas each day for the last two months of pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
The babies were tracked for two years after birth. At the end of the study, 71 percent of the babies in the placebo group had had eczema at least once while only 29 percent of the babies in the probiotic group had had eczema. Chronic eczema was seen in 26 percent of the placebo group as compared to only 10 percent of the probiotic group. 
Although a clear decrease in the number of cases of eczema were seen in the babies whose mothers had taken probiotics, it remains to be seen if the effects will last beyond the age of 2. The children did not show any difference in other allergies, such as milk, wheat or dog/cat dander.
Are Probiotics Safe During Pregnancy?
During the study, no side-effects from the probiotics were noticed. An article on the Canadian Family Physician website also indicated that probiotics were safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, ‘Probiotics do not appear to pose any safety concerns for pregnant and lactating women…the current literature does not indicate an increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes.” 
Despite the evidence the probiotics are safe for pregnant women, you should always talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.
 “Are Probiotics Safe for use During Pregnancy and Lactation,” 2011, March, Jackie Elias, RPh., Pina Bozzo, Adrienne Einarson, RN, Canadian Family Physician
“Ask Dr. Sears: Probiotics During Pregnancy?” Date Unknown, Dr. William Sears, Parenting.com
 “Probiotics During Pregnancy may Protect Baby Against Eczema,” 2012, Oct., Genevra Pittman, Reuters, TodayHealth at Today.com
Published On: October 29, 2012