Pregnant women must refrain from consuming foods they might be allergic to. This is the best way to prevent food allergies during pregnancy. Scroll down to find out more on ways to tackle food allergies that may develop during the course of pregnancy.
Every woman clearly understands the need to make the correct lifestyle choices during the course of pregnancy. After all, anything that negatively impacts the health of a pregnant woman, would certainly have a negative effect on the pregnancy as well. It is through the mother’s blood that the nutrients, which are indispensable for the proper growth of the fetus, are supplied to the fetus. Thus, if pathogens, toxins or allergenic substances are circulating in the mother’s blood, these would be carried to the fetus through the placenta. This is the reason why women must refrain from consuming any such foods, that have earlier caused an allergic reaction. Avoidance of such foods is the best way to prevent food allergies during pregnancy.
What Causes Food Allergies?
You might be wondering why some people develop an allergic reaction to certain foods. Well, a food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a food, thinking of this otherwise harmless food, as a foreign invader. The immune system launches an attack by producing immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies, bind to the receptors on subcutaneous immune cells. These cells are referred to as mast cells. When these antibodies bind to the allergens, it triggers the release of chemicals known as histamines.
When histamines are released into the tissues, these cause various types of symptoms. These may cause inflammatory responses in the skin, nasal passages, throat and other organs. This may cause hives, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and a host of other symptoms. One may even be genetically predisposed to food allergies. If any one of the parents suffers from food allergies, one is at an increased risk of developing food allergies. Usually, people develop food allergies during childhood, but some people may develop an allergy, later in life.
Food Allergies and Pregnancy
For some people, consumption of foods such as dairy products, berries, wheat, gluten, nuts, soybean, eggs or shellfish often causes an allergic reaction. Sometimes, an allergic reaction to food may result on account of use of food additives. At times, the consumption of processed foods that contain colors or preservatives may cause an allergic reaction. Women, who have suffered from any such food allergy or food hypersensitivity in the past, must therefore, refrain from consumption of allergenic foods during pregnancy.
Women who have never suffered from food allergies, and don’t have a family history of food allergies, must also consult a registered dietitian regarding the diet. Though there is no conclusive evidence to prove that refraining from foods, that are considered highly allergenic, may lower the risk of food allergies in infants, some medical experts believe that it’s better to refrain from consumption of highly allergenic foods such as peanuts or tree nuts during pregnancy and even while one is breastfeeding.
Well, there is no consensus among medical experts on the connection between the pregnancy diet and atopic condition that a child may develop. In fact, a few studies indicate that if certain foods are not consumed during pregnancy and not introduced in the child’s diet in the early years, children may be at an increased risk of developing food hypersensitivity. With conflicting theories regarding the link between pregnancy diet and a child’s response to foods that are considered allergenic, the wise thing to do, would be follow the advice of your doctor.
Only a medical expert, would be in a best position to assess what’s best for you and your unborn child. If you do experience an allergic reaction during pregnancy, doctors may prescribe antihistamines, which are a class of drugs that undo the effects of histamines. Like any other drug, use of allergy medicine can also have an adverse impact on pregnancy. This is the reason why doctors prescribe the drugs that are considered to be the safest. Also, make sure that you have an allergy drug, as per prescribed dosage.
Pregnant women as well as nursing mothers should be very careful about their diet. Certain tests can help in the identification of foods one may be allergic to. This can help one decide the foods that must be avoided. One can also consult a nutritionist, who can give dietary guidelines about the best diet for women who are susceptible to food allergies.
After all, the mother’s blood is the source of nourishment for the child, and it’s essential that her diet provides the fetus with all the nutrients that are required for proper growth and development. If you have ever suffered from a severe allergy or an anaphylactic shock after consuming particular food items, avoid such highly allergenic foods during pregnancy.