By Allergen Bureau

Dietary avoidance during pregnancy doesn’t impact on food allergy development

While pregnant women do not typically give up certain foods with the express aim of avoiding a food allergy in their babies, those who already have a food-allergic child or who have food allergies themselves are more likely than most to try this strategy. However, a new study has shown that avoiding certain foods during pregnancy does not reduce the risk of developing childhood food allergies. 

Researchers examined data from a previous survey of almost 5,000 pregnant women who were part of a joint US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study between 2005 – 2007. Only around 3 per cent of the participating women said they restricted certain foods during pregnancy in the belief that it would prevent future food allergies in their children. That included 1.7% who ate fewer nuts, 0.3% who ate fewer eggs, and 0.04% who consumed less dairy.

Analysis of the results showed there were no differences in food allergy diagnosis rates in infants born to those who avoided certain foods compared to those who did not practice dietary avoidance. These findings were presented recently at the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology meeting.

More information about the study can be found on the Children’s National website.