Avoiding Nuts During Pregnancy May Do Your Baby More Harm Than Good

This Just In 6

peanutsIf you're at all concerned about your baby possibly having allergies or asthma, then you may want to pay close attention to a specific food you either aren't eating or are maybe even avoiding during your pregnancy.

According to new research, (believe it or not) eating nuts while pregnant can actually reduce your baby's chance of developing allergies. Danish researchers followed the cases of over 60,000 mothers and their children from the time they were pregnant until the kids were 7 years old. And what they found was pretty surprising, to say the least.

Based on the results of the study, women who eat nuts while pregnant have kids with a quarter less chance of having asthma at 18 months, and a third less chance at age 7. The results were also summed up in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, where the researchers stated:

We found that maternal peanut and tree nut intake one or more times per week during pregnancy decreases the risk of allergic disease in childhood. These results do not support avoidance of nuts during pregnancy.

Ok, so they're telling us to go ahead and snack on nuts during pregnancy and not only quit worrying about it, but also see it as a good thing. Wow. That's a switch. I always thought eating nuts while pregnant increased your child's chance of having a nut allergy, which is why I didn't eat too many of them while I was expecting my son.

And up until 2009, that's the advice most pregnant women were given out of fear that eating nuts would make your child more likely to have allergies. (If only this new study had been conducted earlier, a lot of us could've chowed down on peanuts and almonds to our heart's content.)

So, what is it about eating nuts that lessens the chance of our babies suffering allergic reactions?

According to Colin Michie, the chairman of nutrition at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health:

If your body has experienced something before, it’s not going to think that it’s an enemy and come out fighting against it, which is what happens with an allergic response. Scientifically speaking, if you have antigens that are present when you are building up your immune repertoire as a foetus and infant, you are less likely to regard something as foreign or dangerous when you encounter large quantities of it.

You have to admit, the whole thing kind of makes sense. If you've already been exposed to a particular type of food in utero, it seems plausible that you'd be less likely to have a negative reaction to it after birth.

(Darn. I knew I should've eaten more green veggies while I was pregnant. Maybe if I had, my son wouldn't gag on them every single time I try and serve them.)

What do you make of this research? Does it make you less nervous about eating nuts during your pregnancy?


Image via EuroMagic/Flickr

eating for two, pregnancy health, food allergies


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Mrscj... Mrscjones

I are nuts the whole time I was pregnant neither of my children are allergic. Stop listening to all these ridiculous studies and you'll find out life will be a lot better got you.

jagam... jagamama0710

Am I the only one who is thinking "duh...." about this? lol 

tyrel... tyrelsmom

Yup, I'm thinking "duh", too. I eat piles of nuts during pregnancy. They're so healthy, and for some reason I really crave them. Only craving that was common to all 4 pregnancies. The one time it was so bad for a little while DH said she was going to be born a squirrel...

corri... corrinacs

Well, coming from a parent with allergic children.  If you have food allergies and the father of the child has food allergies.....then stay away from overdoing the nuts while you are prengant/nursing as your children have a pretty high chance of allergies as well.  Actually, that goes for many of the top 8 allergens (milk, wheat, soy, sesame seeds, shellfsih, peanuts, and treenuts).  But if neither of you have diagnosed food allergies....go for it :).  I guess they didn't take account for that did they?

Elvy Golden-Brown

Well duh...the prenatal exposure to peanut proteins is exactly why I didn't take any notice of the advice to avoid nuts when I was pregnant with my children.  I believed that as long as the baby's body had experienced these proteins while in utero, it wouldn't overreact to them when it was exposed outside the womb.  Plus I craved peanut butter. 

Green... Green_Amethyst

I avoid nuts all the time - I'm allergic to them. Good thing my first child has no allergies that we know of. However, if I could eat everything I am allergic to, I wouldn't stop while pregnant. Introducing things to your baby before they are born would seem to only be beneficial. Same thing with keeping kids too clean and scrubbing them down with hand sanitizer. If you don't expose them to germs, how will their immune system ever develop to full strength?

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