A previous study has indicated that maternal probiotic administration was associated with a lower rate of atopic dermatitis. The overall quality of evidence supporting this association is considered low.
A recent study (CK Dotterud et al. JPGN 2015; 61: 200-7) examined the effect on the intestinal microbiota in both mother and child following maternal perinatal probiotic supplementation. This randomized, double-blind trial examined the effect of probiotic administration (or placebo) from 36 weeks of gestation up to 3 months postnatally while breastfeeding. Stool microbiome was examined in both mother and child.
- The changes in the infants microbiome were quite limited. “Only the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria colonized the children at 10 days and at 3 months of age. There were no significant differences in the abundance of administered probiotic bacteria between the groups at 1 and 2 years of age.”
My take: We know very little about probiotics and their effects on the GI tract. We often do not even the basics: which strains? which dosage? optimal timing/when to use? Given the lack of persistent change in the infant’s microbiome, does administration to pregnant mothers really make any sense (outside of research endeavors)?