British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103:1792-1799 Cambridge University Press
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Human and Clinical Nutrition

Impact of maternal probiotic-supplemented dietary counselling on pregnancy outcome and prenatal and postnatal growth: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Raakel Luotoa1a2 c1, Kirsi Laitinena3a4, Merja Nermesa1 and Erika Isolauria1a2

a1 Department of Paediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Kiinamyllynkatu 4-8, 20520 Turku, Finland
a2 Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
a3 Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
a4 Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
Article author query
luoto r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
laitinen k [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
nermes m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
isolauri e [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


The perinatal nutritional environment impacts upon the health and well-being of mother and child also in the long term. The aim of the present study was to determine the safety and efficacy of perinatal probiotic-supplemented dietary counselling by evaluating pregnancy outcome and fetal and infant growth during the 24 months' follow-up. Altogether, 256 women were randomised at their first trimester of pregnancy into a control and a dietary intervention group. The intervention group received intensive dietary counselling provided by a nutritionist and were further randomised, double-blind to receive probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12; diet/probiotics) or placebo (diet/placebo). Firstly, probiotic intervention reduced the frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM); 13 % (diet/probiotics) v. 36 % (diet/placebo) and 34 % (control); P = 0·003. Secondly, the safety of this approach was attested by normal duration of pregnancies with no adverse events in mothers or children. No significant differences in prenatal or postnatal growth rates among the study groups were detected. Thirdly, distinctive effects of the two interventions were detected; probiotic intervention reduced the risk of GDM and dietary intervention diminished the risk of larger birth size in affected cases; P = 0·035 for birth weight and P = 0·028 for birth length. The results of the present study show that probiotic-supplemented perinatal dietary counselling could be a safe and cost-effective tool in addressing the metabolic epidemic. In view of the fact that birth size is a risk marker for later obesity, the present results are of significance for public health in demonstrating that this risk is modifiable.

(Received August 18 2009)

(Revised November 25 2009)

(Accepted December 18 2009)

(Online publication February 04 2010)

Key Words:Diabetes; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Dietary counselling; Pregnancy; Probiotics


c1 Corresponding author: Raakel Luoto, fax +358 2 313 1460, email


Abbreviations: GDM, gestational diabetes mellitus