Do probiotics effectively ameliorate glycemic control during gestational diabetes? A systematic review

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Sep;298(3):477-485. doi: 10.1007/s00404-018-4809-2. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. The aim of this work was to systematically review all studies in which probiotic supplements were used during pregnancy and analyse the effects on GDM.

Methods: The data were collected using the medical subheading (MeSH) terms: ("diabetes, gestational"[MeSH Terms] OR ("diabetes"[All Fields] AND "gestational"[All Fields]) OR "gestational diabetes"[All Fields] OR ("gestational"[All Fields] AND "diabetes"[All Fields])) AND ("probiotics"[MeSH Terms] OR "probiotics"[All Fields]). The search included original articles written in English/Portuguese and published between 2012 and 2017.

Results: Of the 31 articles identified, seven met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. In these studies, the sample size ranged from 60 to 373 women with GDM, which was between 24 and 40 weeks of pregnancy (second and third trimesters). Results demonstrated that probiotics used during pregnancy in women with GDM may improve glycaemic control and reduce VDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.

Conclusions: The present systematic review highlights the importance of probiotics for glycemic control and decrease of inflammatory markers in GDM. Further long-term studies should be conducted to elucidate this interaction.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Gestational diabetes; Gut microbiome; Lactobacillus.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol