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Eating Peanuts While Pregnant: Bad Idea?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Although I love my children more than anything and wouldn’t trade them for the world, I can’t say that being pregnant was a particularly enjoyable experience. I wasn’t one of those women who felt great and full of energy once they got through the morning sickness of the first trimester. I was always jealous of them, because I was the one who felt like I was going to get sick, all day, every day. And that lasted for the majorities of my pregnancies.

Eating was a struggle for me. All of the foods I love while not pregnant seem repulsive for those 9 months. All foods, except for one: peanut butter. I love peanut butter, pregnant or not. When I got pregnant, one of the first questions I asked my Ob/Gyn was "Can I still eat peanut butter?" His response was "Yes, since you don’t have a history of food allergies in your family, I think it’s fine." Thank goodness, because I’m not sure what I would have eaten for those 9 months without it. But his answer might be considered controversial. Some doctors say pregnant women shouldn’t eat peanut butter, and others say it’s fine. A new study shows that pregnant moms who eat it might increase their baby’s risk of developing a peanut allergy.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, tracked 503 infants (ages 3 months to 15 months) who were already likely to have a milk or egg allergy. If a child is allergic to dairy or eggs, they have an increased risk of developing a peanut allergy. "Researchers did blood tests on the babies, finding that 140 of them had a significant sensitivity to peanuts. Those whose mothers ate peanuts during pregnancy were more likely to have the allergy than the infants whose mothers didn't."

The researchers acknowledge that further studies are needed, especially since there is controversy over food allergies. Some experts say avoidance is the best way to prevent them, while others say exposure is the best course of action. Peanut allergies can be especially difficult to manage, since peanuts and peanut oil are in so many foods.

Did you avoid eating peanuts while pregnant? Do you or someone you know have a peanut allergy? What has that been like to manage?