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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies in systematic review of the use of probiotics and/or prebiotics during pregnancy

From: Pregnancy outcomes in women taking probiotics or prebiotics: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Study (Country) Study population (sample size) Intervention Control group Intervention period Potential conflicts of interest Risk of bias
Prebiotics vs placebo
Bergmann, 2008 (Germany) [44] Healthy pregnant women (144) Group 1: Flavored and acidified milk-based supplement, vitamins, minerals and Fructo-oligosaccharides
Group 2: Flavored and acidified milk-based supplement, vitamins, minerals and Fructo-oligosaccharides and Docosahexaenoic acid
Placebo From 21 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Yes Low
Probiotics vs placebo or treatment as usual
Kalliomaki 2001 (Finland) [52] Women carrying a fetus at risk of atopic disease (159) L. rhamnosus GG Placebo 2–4 weeks before expected delivery NR Low
Abrahamsson 2007 (Sweden) [45] Women carrying a fetus at risk of allergies (232) L. reuteri Placebo From 4 weeks before term until delivery Yes Low
Niers, 2009, (Netherlands) [43] Women carrying a fetus at risk of allergies (156) B. animalis subsp. lactis W52
B. bifidum W23
Lc. lactis W58
Placebo Last 6 weeks of pregnancy Yes Unclear
Laitinen 2009 (Finland) [23] Healthy pregnant women (256) Dietary counselling
L. rhamnosus GG
B. animalis subsp. lactis BB12
Group 1: dietary counselling with placebo.
Group 2: placebo only
From mean gestational week of 13.9 ± 1.6 until delivery Yesb Low
Kim, 2010 (Korea) [42] Women carrying a fetus at risk of allergies (112) L. acidophilus AD031
B. bifidum BGN4
B. animalis subsp. lactis AD011
Placebo From 8 weeks before the expected delivery to delivery NR Unclear
Allen, 2010 (United Kingdom) [50] Mostly (91%) women carrying a fetus at risk of atopy (454) L. salivarius CUL61
L. paracasei CUL08
B. animalis subsp. Lactis CUL34
B. bifidum CUL20
Placebo Last month of pregnancy Yes Low
Dotterund 2010 (Norway) Healthy pregnant women (415) (Probiotic milk)
L. rhamnosus GG
L. acidophilus LA5
B. animalis subsp. Lactis Bb-12
Placebo From 36 weeks of gestation to delivery Yes Low
Asemi 2011 (Iran) [47] Healthy pregnant women (82) (Probiotic yogurt)
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
L. acidophilus LA5
B. animalis subsp. lactis BB12
S. thermophiles
Conventional yogurt (containing starter cultures of S. thermophilus and L. bulgaricus) From 28 to 37 weeks of gestation Yesc Unclear
Boyle 2011 (Australia) [48] Women carrying a fetus at risk of allergies (250) L. rhamnosus GG Placebo 36 weeks gestation until delivery Yesa Low
Krauss-Silva 2011 (Brazil) [41] Healthy pregnant women with Nugent scores ≥4 (644) L. rhamnosus GR1
L. reuteri RC14
Placebo Six to twelve weeks (depending on the participant’ s gestational age at the time of enrolment) up until the 24th -26th week of gestation. Uncleard Low
Rautava, 2012, (Finland) [31] Women carrying a fetus at risk of allergies (241) Group 1: Dietary food supplement
L. rhamnosus LPR
B. longum BL999
Group 2: Dietary food supplement,
L. paracasei ST11
B. longum BL999
Placebo Last two months of pregnancy Yes Low
Ou, 2012, (Taiwan) [53] Pregnant women with allergies (191) L. rhamnosus GG Placebo From 24 weeks of gestation to delivery NR Low
Hantoushzadeh, 2012, (Iran) [40] Women with symptomatic bacterial vaginosis (310) (Probiotic yogurt)
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
L. acidophilus
B. animalis subsp. lactis
S. thermophiles
Orally-administered clindamycin (300 mg twice a day for 1 week) One week starting at mean week of gestation 36.43 ± 1.32 Uncleare Low
Lindsay 2014 (Ireland) [37] Obese women (165) L. salivarius UCC118 Placebo Four weeks starting at 24th week of gestation Unclearf Low
Dolatkhah, 2015, (Iran) [36] Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (64) L. acidophilus LA5
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus LBY-27
B. animalis subsp. lactis BB12
S. thermophiles STY31
Placebo Eight weeks, starting between 24 and 28 + 6 weeks of gestation Yesg Low
Lindsay 2015 (Ireland) [37] Women with impaired glucose tolerance or gestational diabetes mellitus (149) L. salivarius UCC118 Placebo From mean week of gestation 31.5 ± 2.2 until delivery Yes Low
Mastromarino 2015 (Italy) [54] Healthy pregnant women (67) L. acidophilus
L. plantarum
L. paracasei
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
B. longum
B. breve
B. infantis
S. thermophiles
Placebo From the 36th week of pregnancy until delivery No Low
Karamali, 2016 (Iran) [46] Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (60) L. acidophilus
L. casei
B. bifidum
Placebo Six weeks starting at 24–28 weeks of gestation No Low
Jafarnejad 2016 (Iran) [49] Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (82) L. acidophilus
L. plantarum
L. paracasei
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
B. breve
B. longum
B. infantis
S. thermophilus
Placebo Eight weeks starting at a mean gestational week 26.4 (SD not reported) No Unclear
Ho 2016 (Taiwan) [35] Group B Streptococcus- positive pregnant women (110) L. rhamnosus GR1
L. reuteri RC14
Placebo Intervention lasted a mean of 21.1 ± 5.5 days until delivery. No Low
  1. aProbiotic and placebo capsules were manufactured and supplied by Dicofarm ltd (Roma, Italy)
  2. bProvision of food products was by Raisio plc (Raisio, Finland), B. lactis Bb12 by Chr. Hansen (Hoersholm, Denmark) and L. rhamnosus GG by Valio Ltd. (Helsinki)
  3. cThe dairy products for the study were provided by the Research and Deevelopmenent Division of Iran Dairy Industry Corporation in Tehran
  4. dThe authors thank Dr. Gregor Reid for providing the necessary batches of probiotics and placebo capsules used in the trial
  5. eUnclear if probiotic yogurt was provided by the producing company (Pegah Company) without cost
  6. fProbiotic and placebo capsules were produced and supplied by Alimentary Health Ltd. Unclear if without cost
  7. gTehran Darou Pharmaceuticals, Tehran, Iran, provided the probiotic supplement for the study
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