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Nuts During Pregnancy and Risk of Asthma
Now that I have a little boy (see picture of Basil, 15 months), I am always interested in studies that look at diet during pregnancy. A recent study in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine looked at the diet of women when they were pregnant and the risk of asthma in their children. The researchers followed almost 3,000 expectant mothers and their children for 8 years.
Women's consumption of allergenic foods during pregnancy may increase the risk that the baby will become sensitized to certain allergens. The only consistent association these researchers found was consumption of nuts and asthma.
Women who consumed nuts or nut products on a daily (or almost daily) basis increased their children's risk of developing asthma by more than 50% vs. women who rarely or never consumed nut products during pregnancy. This is an association, not a definitive cause and effect.
No PBJ while pregnant? Oh, no! If you are a peanut butter and jelly sandwich fan, don't worry. You can still have your PBJ occassionally, but I would limit consumption of peanuts and other nuts to a few times per month to be safe. Peanuts are a really potent allergen, but further studies will hopefully give us more clues as to how dangerous it is to eat while pregnant and nursing. Some doctors tell women to avoid all peanut and other nuts during pregnany and nursing and to feed a child any peanut containing foods until they are over 2 years of age. If you have food allergies in your family, be more prudent. If not, use caution and look carefully for signs of allergic reactions to nuts in all children.
Photo of Basil Gidus and Dusty Dog courtesy of Tara Gidus