Pregnancy and Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are on the rise, affecting 1% of the North American population. Many pregnant women wonder whether eating peanuts during pregnancy will sensitize the baby to these food allergies.

Although there is not much research on fetal sensitization, it is believed that a fetus can be exposed to peanut allergens. If that fetus has a predisposition to develop a peanut allergy, the fetus may develop that food allergy.

What constitutes a predisposition for babies?
If the mother or the family has a family history of food allergies or if they have a food allergy themselves, then the baby is predisposed to getting a peanut allergy. However, having a history of any type of allergy, even hay fever, may increase the likelihood of your child having an allergy.

Does this mean you should avoid peanuts during your pregnancy?
You should avoid peanuts during pregnancy if you have a food allergy or a family history of food allergies. This means you have to raise your awareness of foods that contain traces of peanuts. For example, many cookies and granola bars are made with ‘traces of peanuts.’ Read food labels before you make a purchase and search for the warning that the product contains traces of nuts. Also, when out to dinner, consider how your food is prepared. Some restaurants, particularly Thai, use peanuts and peanut oil frequently in the preparation of their food.

While peanuts are a great source of folate and protein, and can make protein intake easier on vegetarians, you may still want to avoid them even if you don't have a food allergy. Though there is some deabte as to just how much your pregnancy diet will affect your child's likelihood of developing allergies, most experts agree that the more peanuts you consume during pregnancy, the greater the chance your child has of being allergic to them in the future. Speak with your doctor or midwife for more information on eating peanuts and pregnancy.

A Note About Anaphylaxis
Peanut allergies should be taken seriously. They can lead to anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that can be fatal. If your child has a peanut allergy, they could be very sensitive to peanuts and go into anaphylactic shock. That’s why eating peanuts during pregnancy should be taken seriously.

Discuss with other pregnant women the many allergies that can come with pregnancy in our womens health pregnancy forum.


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