Probiotic Supplementation During the Perinatal and Infant Period: Effects on Gut Dysbiosis and Disease

Nutrients. 2020 Jul 27;12(8):2243. doi: 10.3390/nu12082243.


The perinatal period is crucial to the establishment of lifelong gut microbiota. The abundance and composition of microbiota can be altered by several factors such as preterm delivery, formula feeding, infections, antibiotic treatment, and lifestyle during pregnancy. Gut dysbiosis affects the development of innate and adaptive immune responses and resistance to pathogens, promoting atopic diseases, food sensitization, and infections such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Recent studies have indicated that the gut microbiota imbalance can be restored after a single or multi-strain probiotic supplementation, especially mixtures of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Following the systematic search methodology, the current review addresses the importance of probiotics as a preventive or therapeutic tool for dysbiosis produced during the perinatal and infant period. We also discuss the safety of the use of probiotics in pregnant women, preterm neonates, or infants for the treatment of atopic diseases and infections.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance; atopic diseases; autoimmune diseases; dysbiosis; fetal microbiota; gut microbiota; infant microbiota; necrotizing enterocolitis; pregnancy; preterm microbiota; probiotic safety; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Dysbiosis / prevention & control*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / microbiology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / microbiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Perinatal Care / methods*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*