The link between gut microflora populations and weight may also extend to pregnancy, with a new study revealing that women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy have different microfloral profiles. Women who experienced excessive weight gain during pregnancy had more Escherichia coli bacteria in their gut, and fewer Bifidobacteria (a beneficial probiotic strain) than women with normal weight gain during pregnancy, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition. “Therefore, gut microbiota composition is related to body weight, weight gain and metabolic biomarkers during pregnancy, which might be of relevance to the management of the health of women and infants,” wrote the researchers.
The new study looked at gut microbiota populations in normal weight and overweight women at the 24th week of their pregnancies. Data showed that overweight women had fewer Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides and more Staphylococcus, Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli than normal-weight women. Increased Bacteroides levels were seen as beneficial as they were associated with higher levels of HDL-cholesterol and improved folic acid levels, while higher Bifidobacterium levels were also associated with increased levels of the B vitamin. Furthermore, women with excessive weight gain had higher levels of E.coli and lower levels of Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia muciniphila than women with normal weight gain, said the researchers. This new research points to yet another potential role for pre and probiotics.