Peanuts are a filling and satisfying snack that’s high in fiber, protein and heart-healthy fats. But if you happen to be “eating for two”, you may want to curb your cravings for this salty snack. Why? Eating peanuts during pregnancy could increase the risk of your unborn baby having a peanut allergy.
Should You Eat Peanuts During Pregnancy?
Researchers at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine looked at over 500 infants with allergic tendencies. Some of these babies had milk and egg allergies, while others had the skin condition eczema. These factors are all characteristically associated with a greater risk of peanut allergies.
Surprisingly, almost 30% of the infants, when tested, were positive for peanut allergies – despite the fact they had no history of nut allergies. After questioning these women about their diet, researchers reached an interesting conclusion. Moms who ate peanuts during pregnancy were more likely to have babies who tested positive for peanut allergies.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy: Are Peanuts a Problem?
Pregnant women are understandably concerned about what to eat and what not to eat, because what goes into their body directly affects their growing baby. Fish that are high in mercury, unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and deli meat are all foods women should boycott when pregnant. Now peanuts could be added to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.
A peanut allergy can be a challenge to live with. If someone with a peanut allergy accidentally eats even a small peanut, the reaction can be serious or fatal. Therefore a peanut allergy means a lifetime of avoiding anything that contains peanuts even in small quantities.
On the positive side, new research suggests that some kids with peanut allergies can successfully be de-sensitized by eating tiny amounts of peanut flour in gradually increasing doses over time. This should always be done in a setting with emergency equipment, not at home, in the event a reaction should occur.
Should You Eat Peanuts During Pregnancy: The Bottom Line?
This study has its limitations and more research is needed to see whether the proteins in peanuts can sensitize a developing baby and lead to a peanut allergy. This is more likely to happen if the mom has an allergic history, which would put the baby at higher risk of allergy due to genetics.
More studies are needed, but if you’re pregnant, especially if you have a history of any type of allergy, it’s best not to eat peanuts during pregnancy until more is known.
Eurekalert.org. “Pregnant women who eat peanuts may put infants at increased risk for peanut allergy”