Drinking Milk Can Lower Your Risk of Pregnancy Complications, Study Finds

As long is it has one key ingredient.
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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Updated May 23, 2023
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Nutrition is more top of mind during pregnancy than ever. Which foods should you avoid? What’s the most nutrient-packed? It can feel like your diet requires a total overhaul. Luckily, research is pointing to at least one easy tweak you can make to your diet: Drink more milk.

A study published in the journal BMJ Open found that milk can both lower your risk of preterm delivery and reduce your odds of developing preeclampsia. A couple of stipulations, though: That milk has to be rich in probiotics, like kefir milk. And the protective effect depends on when you drink it. Probiotic milk consumed early in pregnancy was linked to fewer premature births, while consumption in later pregnancy staved off preeclampsia. (So basically, drink it all the time.)

To draw these conclusions, researchers looked at data from the 70,000 pregnant women who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, which included lifestyle questions about their intake of probiotic milk products. So, yes—yogurt counts if you’re looking for a more well-known way to boost your probiotic intake.

However, it’s important to note that other studies have found that there’s insufficient evidence on whether taking probiotic oral supplements during pregnancy truly makes a difference in preterm births and infant mortality. And, while studies on using probiotics during pregnancy haven’t shown increased risk of adverse fetal effects, the data is limited. Plus, according to Kendra Segura, MD, an ob-gyn and star on Bravo’s Married to Medicine: Los Angeles, while probiotics are generally considered safe for pregnancy, some providers don’t recommend them due to the wide variety of formulation. Before taking any new supplements, including probiotics, you should always refer to your healthcare provider for questions regarding your specific circumstances and nutritional needs.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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