Eating Food Allergens During Pregnancy May Decrease Allergy Risk in Kids

Published Online: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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Women in early pregnancy who eat foods to which children are commonly allergic may help reduce their child’s risk for allergies and asthma, suggest the results of a study published online on February 11, 2014, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The researchers of the study evaluated associations between (1) maternal intake of peanuts, milk, wheat, and other common childhood food allergens during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and (2) childhood allergy and asthma among 1277 mother-child pairs. Women completed food frequency questionnaires during pregnancy and questionnaires about food allergy, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis when their children were aged about 8 years on average.

The results indicated that increased maternal intake of food allergens reduced children’s risk of developing allergies. Higher maternal peanut intake during the first trimester was associated with a 47% reduced risk for peanut allergies among children. In addition, increased milk intake among mothers during the first trimester was associated with a reduced risk for both asthma and allergic rhinitis, while higher wheat intake during the second trimester was associated with reduced atopic dermatitis among children. The results also found that peanut, wheat, and soy allergies were each associated with an increased risk for childhood asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis.

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