It’s science: Probiotics may lower your risk of pregnancy complications

Over the years, multiple studies have shown that taking probiotics can have tremendous benefits for your digestive health. But did you know that these good types of bacteria can also have positive effects on pregnancy?

A new observational study published in the journal BMJ Open found that women who drank probiotic milk during pregnancy had lower risks of preeclampsia and premature birth—and the timing of when mamas-to-be drank the probiotics seemed to have significant bearing.

According to the findings, taking probiotics during the third trimester was strongly linked to a lower preeclampsia risk, while drinking probiotic milk in early pregnancy showed a decrease in preterm deliveries.

Preeclampsia is a serious condition marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine that affects 2 to 8% of all pregnancies globally, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. And more than one in 10 babies are born premature, which is defined as arrival before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the World Health Organization.

To reach their findings, a team of Norwegian and Swedish scientists studied data on more than 70,000 pregnancies from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) launched by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in 1999. As part of the countrywide study, mamas-to-be submitted their medical histories, as well as information on their health, diets and lifestyles at 15, 22 and 30 weeks of pregnancy.

The data analysis showed that more than one-third of pregnant women who’ve participated in the MoBa study had consumed probiotic-rich milk during early pregnancy, while nearly a third took probiotics during late pregnancy. Close to a quarter of women drank probiotic milk before becoming pregnant.

The researchers compared information on probiotic milk consumption to incidence of pregnancy complications tracked by the MoBa study—which revealed probiotic use in late pregnancy lowered preeclampsia risk by 20% while taking probiotics during early pregnancy reduced preterm delivery risk by between 11 to 27%.

Because this is an observational study, more research will need to be conducted on the benefits of probiotics on preventing or minimizing pregnancy complications. But, as the researchers note, it sure is a promising sign. And without any apparent major downsides to drinking probiotics, you might as well stock up on some kefir at the store.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

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Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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