Probiotics Improve Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting affect about 85% of pregnant women and have a significantly negative impact on life quality during early pregnancy. Vitamin B6, antihistamine doxylamine, and metoclopramide may benefit patients who have nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Alternatively, holistic remedies may be useful. Overall, there is a lack of strong evidence that any of these options can effectively relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Probiotics are referred to as “beneficial bacteria.” They can be found in foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh. Probiotics are also available as food supplements. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, other than vitamins, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement for adults.

Probiotics are thought to support the community of different microbes, often referred to as the “gut microbiome,” found in the gastrointestinal tract.

During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone increase, bringing about many physical changes. These increases can also change the gut microbiome, which likely affects the digestive system functions and causes unwanted symptoms like nausea, vomiting and constipation.

Researchers found that probiotics significantly improve the symptoms of pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting and constipation

The researchers set out to determine whether supplementing with a probiotic could be beneficial for gastrointestinal function during pregnancy.

The study lasted for 16 days. A total of 32 participants took a probiotic capsule twice a day for six days and then took two days off. They then repeated the cycle.

The probiotics were available over-the-counter and mainly containedLactobacillus., a type of good bacteria. Each capsule contained approximately 10 billion live cultures at the time of manufacture.

Participants kept 17 daily observations of their symptoms during the duration of the study, for a total of 535 observations for the researchers to statistically assess.


The researchers found that taking the probiotic significantly reduced nausea and vomiting. Nausea hours (the number of hours participants felt nauseous) were reduced by 16%, and the number of times they vomited was reduced by 33%. Probiotic intake also significantly improved symptoms related to quality of life, such as fatigue, poor appetite and difficulty maintaining normal social activities, as scored by questionnaires. Probiotics were also found to reduce constipation significantly.

The current study might be one of the first to show the benefits of probiotics in pregnancy.It would be interesting and important to further test whether probiotics can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy in cancer patients.


Albert T. Liu, Shuai Chen, Prasant Kumar Jena, Lili Sheng, Ying Hu, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan. Probiotics Improve Gastrointestinal Function and Life Quality in Pregnancy. Nutrients, 2021; 13 (11): 3931 DOI: 10.3390/nu13113931