What You Can Do To Manage A Food Allergy During Pregnancy
When you are planning your pregnancy its a good idea to visit your GP to discuss the impact your allergy will have on you and the baby and how to manage the symptoms. It might also be helpful to speak with a specialist dietician for advice and guidance on suitable foods so that you receive all the nutrients you need, within the food groups you can eat.
If you discover that you are pregnant and are worried about your allergy medication, you should continue to take your prescription medicines and arrange an appointment with you GP to discuss your concerns. Some medication relies on its continued use, such as inhalers, and if you reduce or stop your intake it could alter your levels of resistance and make your problem worse.
When you pick up a prescription or buy over-the-counter medicines at a pharmacy, let the pharmacist know that you are pregnant and they will be able to advise you on the suitability of the medicine.
For those who may have been undergoing an immunotherapy programme, you should also discuss this with your therapist to decide if continuing whilst pregnant will be appropriate.
How Do You Confirm Lactose Intolerance
A doctor can usually tell whether you have lactose intolerance by asking questions about your symptoms. He or she may also ask that you avoid dairy products for a short time to see if your symptoms improve. Sometimes doctors order a hydrogen breath test or a blood sugar test to confirm the diagnosis.
Tips To Avoid Baby Food Allergies And Eat Right During Pregnancy
Food allergies have increased by about 50 percent in the last two decades and now affects about 1 in every 13 children in the US. If you or your spouse have food allergies, you might be worried about your child suffering from them as well. The good news is that there are several steps that you can take to help reduce your babys risk of allergies. Furthermore, a healthy diet will ensure that you get the nutrition you require and that your babys development is on track.
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Do Allergies Impact The Baby
Any new health concern can be worrying for a pregnant person, but thankfully a developing baby is unlikely to be affected by their parent’s flare-ups as long as symptoms are properly managed.
Whether the baby will eventually be susceptible to allergies is primarily determined by genetics. “If one parent has any allergies, that increases the child’s risk by 50 percent,” explains Dr. Parikh. Environmental factors are also a cause, while alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy are risk factors for a child developing sensitivities.
Food allergies are also not developed from a parent’s food choices. The popular myth that consuming peanut butter while pregnant would lead to nut sensitivity has been proven false. Newer studies reveal that consuming peanut butter while pregnant impacts a child positively by lowering their allergy risk. The current recommendation is for pregnant people to consume a varied diet and avoid foods only if there is an existing sensitivity.
Which Foods Should I Avoid While Breastfeeding
Assuming your baby doesnt have any food intolerances or allergies, you have quite a bit of flexibility in your dietary options as part of your breastfeeding diet.
An old wives tale is that your diet influences the childs digestion. Since breast milk is made from blood, not your stomach contents, this thought isnt exactly true. However, many women still believe that certain foods cause flatulence in their baby and therefore refrain from eating them. But it doesnt matter if you eat onions or coleslaw if youre in the mood. If your baby is really gassy, its usually related to something else. To rule out food intolerance or allergies, consult your pediatrician. Do not exclude any items from breastfeeding nutrition on your own.
Some people try to avoid caffeine or alcohol, but its perfectly fine to have morning coffee or a glass of wine in moderate doses. You might feel like you need an extra caffeine boost on a sleepless night!
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Coping With Food Allergies And Digestive Conditions In Pregnancy
If you have a food allergy, you may be concerned about how to make the most of your diet during pregnancy, to help keep both you and your baby healthy. Due to hormonal changes, allergic reactions and symptoms can change during pregnancy. Some women find that pregnancy reduces their symptoms others find they increase. This guide will explain how you can still meet your nutritional requirements during pregnancy whilst avoiding those offending foods.
Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Food Allergies In Newborns
In addition to the changes you can make in your pregnancy diet, there are also several things you can do to reduce your babys risk of food allergies after he is born.
Theres mounting evidence that including allergenic foods in a breastfeeding diet will help to reduce your babys risk of allergies. A recent study found that children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breastfeeding and introduced peanuts to their babys diet before 12 months had the lowest incidence of peanut allergies at just 1.7%. Babies born to mothers who avoided peanuts but directly introduced peanuts to their babys diet before 12 months had a much higher incidence of peanut allergy at 17.6%.
Previously, it was thought that delaying the introduction of allergenic foods until the child was at least 3 years old. However, this recommendation was based on opinion and not scientific research and contributed to the drastic increase in the prevalence of food allergy in recent decades. Recent evidence shows that infants who are introduced to an allergenic food such as egg at 4-6 months have a lower risk of allergy compared to those who are introduced to the same food at 10-12 months or later.
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Can Any Baby Have A Food Allergy
Yes. However, babies with a close family member with a food allergy are at higher risk for developing one themselves. Its especially important to watch for signs in these children.
About 3% of infants and almost 9% of 1-year-olds are allergic to at least one food.A child can have a reaction from eating a problematic food or from consuming breast milk that contains proteins from the food, which come from a mothers diet.
Thankfully, most food allergy reactions are mild. However, some can be severe and require immediate medical attention.
What Are The Best Foods For Breastfeeding Nutrition
When breastfeeding, always eat a vitamin-rich and balanced diet to stay healthy. That way, youll be able to produce enough breast milk for feeding your baby. Your body needs about 400 to 500 more calories per day for lactation, but this doesnt mean 500 calories from added sugar! Make sure to eat whole foods to stay strong and healthy.
Many women naturally lose weight while breastfeeding and dont really need to make any major dietary changes or calorie restrictions. If you are not one of the lucky few who bounces back to their pre-pregnancy size really quickly, take heart! It takes most of us more time. Be healthy, take your vitamins, stay active, but we dont recommend crash diets and ridiculously fast weight loss during this time.
Instead, make sure youre nourishing yourself with a nutrient-dense diet so youre able to produce high-quality breast milk, should you choose to breastfeed.
While theres nothing wrong with losing weight after giving birth, remember: your body was preparing for having a baby for nine months. It will also need nine months to recover fully. So give yourself time to regain your old shape. Cutting out nutrients is not the right thing for breastfeeding nutrition. Your body needs macronutrients with high nutritional values from fat,proteins, and carbohydrates so you can produce breast milk.
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Swelling Of The Face Lips And Eyes
Your baby may take on a puffy look in their face, especially in the lips and around the eyes, if they are having an allergic reaction to a food. This is called angioedema.
Treating the allergy with antihistamines should help the angioedema go away. Without treatment, the swelling will likely go away within a few days.
This symptom is considered mild unless your baby also has swelling in the tongue and throat.
What Is Food Intolerance
A food intolerance isn’t the same as a food allergy.
People with food intolerance may have symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps. This may be caused by difficulties digesting certain substances, such as lactose. However, no allergic reaction takes place.
Important differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance include:
- the symptoms of a food intolerance usually occur several hours after eating the food
- you need to eat a larger amount of food to trigger an intolerance than an allergy
- a food intolerance is never life threatening, unlike an allergy
Read more about food intolerance.
Page last reviewed: 15 April 2019 Next review due: 15 April 2022
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Treating Allergies During Pregnancy And Beyond
The development of allergies may not be fully understood, but it’s unnecessary to suffer with no relief through pregnancy and postpartum if you’re not in the lucky group. With a doctor’s guidance, certain medications and nasal sprays can be used safely during pregnancy to alleviate symptoms. Make sure to reach out to your health care provider if you develop any new allergies during pregnancy or postpartum or if your symptoms worsen.
Immunotherapy And Influenza Vaccine
Allergen immunotherapy is often effective for those patients in whom symptoms persist despite optimal environmental control and proper drug therapy. Allergen immunotherapy can be carefully continued during pregnancy in patients who are benefiting and not experiencing adverse reactions. Due to the greater risk of anaphylaxis with increasing doses of immunotherapy and a delay of several months before it becomes effective, it is generally recommended that this therapy not be started during pregnancy.
Patients receiving immunotherapy during pregnancy should be carefully evaluated. It may be appropriate to lower the dosage in order to further reduce the chance of an allergic reaction to the injections.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for all patients with moderate and severe asthma. There is no evidence of associated risk to the mother or fetus.
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Can Pregnancy Affect Allergies
Allergies can go either way when youre pregnant.
A third of women with allergies experience relief from their symptoms during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, one-fifth to a quarter of women experience allergies during pregnancy. And of those with allergies, one-third will experience worse symptoms than usual.
Because of how pregnancy affects your body, you may feel as though your allergy symptoms are worse. Symptoms may also feel worse because they are combined with pregnancy symptoms.
Does A Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy Mean I Have Allergies
Pregnant women often develop stuffy noses. Nasal congestion usually starts sometime in the second trimester causing mucus membranes to swell and soften. Your doctor may refer to this as pregnancy rhinitis.
Pregnancy rhinitis can make you as stuffed up as if you had a cold or an allergy. It can result in nosebleeds during pregnancy and/or post nasal drip that may make you cough or even gag at night.
The good news is that pregnancy rhinitis typically goes away soon after pregnancy ends.
How can you tell the difference between allergies and a bad case of pregnancy congestion? If you have allergies, youll most likely experience symptoms such as congestion, coughing, sneezing and itchy eyes. If noticeable itchiness and sneezing arent plaguing you, it could be hormone-related congestion of pregnancy. If youre not sure, talk to your doctor.
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What Is An Allergy
An allergy happens when a persons immune system treats a substance like an inappropriate invader. The body will try to protect itself by releasing a chemical into the body called histamine. This chemical is what causes the symptoms that are unpleasant or even dangerous. The reaction can start very suddenly, even after being exposed to a small amount of the allergen.
Allergens can get into the body in different ways. They can be:
- ingested as food ,
- ingested as medication ,
- injected by an insect sting , or
- absorbed through the skin .
When To Seek Medical Advice
If you think you or your child may have a food allergy, it’s very important to ask for a professional diagnosis from your GP. They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.
Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.
Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended. Many kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are reliable, you should have the results looked at by a health professional.
Read more about diagnosing food allergies.
The Risks Dos And Donts
Every mum wants the best for her baby, but it shouldnt be at your expense your general health is as important as theirs. These tips can help you avoid any potential risks to either of you:
- Check with your GP that your allergy medication is safe during pregnancy
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to help you both get the nutrients you need
- Stop regular allergy medication as it can suddenly escalate symptoms
- Smoke during pregnancy as it can make the symptoms of allergies, that children later develop, more severe
- Drink alcohol. If you do, limit your intake to two units once or twice a week
It’s thought that some fish oils may have a preventative effect, but you should limit your intake to two portions a week
How Does Lactose Intolerance Affect Pregnancy
Lactose intolerance doesnt affect the baby in any way. Even if the mother doesnt get enough calcium for her baby, her body will draw calcium from the bones and teeth required for the growth of the baby. This can have devastating long-term effects on mothers health, causing osteoporosis in the later stage of life.
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What Is Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance happens when the body doesnt produce enough of the enzyme lactase to fully break down the sugar found in most dairy products. It is rare in young children and usually only develops after 3 years of age. While some young children adjust to the lack of this enzyme, some will have problems for life.
If your child is lactose intolerant, you can give them the calcium they need by offering lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk.
While none of these items will provide enough calcium on their own, its also healthy to offer:
- fortified soy milk,
Many of these foods do not provide enough vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about whether a supplement of vitamin D would be right for your child.
Children And Food Allergies
It’s important to take special care with children who have food allergies. A child with severe food allergies may have a life-threatening to even a tiny amount of a food allergen. Your child should always wear a medical alert bracelet. Talk to your doctor about an Anaphylaxis Action Plan.
Make sure that all caregivers :
- Know about your child’s food allergy.
- Can recognize the symptoms of a food allergy.
- Know where the epinephrine shot is kept and how to use it.
- Know to call 911 immediately.
Children may have only mild symptoms in the first few minutes after they eat the food allergen, but they may have severe symptoms in 10 to 60 minutes. Children always should be observed in a hospital for several hours after a reaction.
Make sure that your child:
- Always wears a .
- Always carries epinephrine. Children at risk of severe allergic reactions should keep their epinephrine at school or day care and at home. Older, mature children should be taught to give themselves the shot.
Although your child needs to avoid certain foods, he or she still needs to eat healthy foods. A can tell you which foods are important for your child’s health.
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What Increases Your Risk
You have a greater chance of developing food allergies if you:
- Have a family history of allergy. If both of your parents have allergies, you are more likely to have allergies.
- Have another allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis or asthma.
- Are young. Infants and children have more food allergies than adults.
- Have a medical condition that makes it easier for allergens to pass through the walls of the stomach and intestines and enter the bloodstream. These conditions include gastrointestinal disease, malnutrition, prematurity, and diseases that , such as eosinophilic esophagitis .
You have a greater risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction from food allergy if you:
- Develop allergy symptoms within minutes of eating the food.
If you or your child has a severe food allergy, always carry epinephrine and know how to use it. You should also wear a medical alert bracelet at all times. Being prepared to immediately deal with a severe allergic reaction reduces the risk of death.
What Can I Do About My Symptoms
If you cant take your usual medications for allergy relief, there are many perfectly safe ways to control the symptoms so you are not quite so uncomfortable.
- Avoid places you might find the allergen.
- Change your clothes and wash well after being exposed to the allergen.
- Use an air filter, especially in your bedroom.
- Leave pets with a friend or relative.
- Wash your bedding more often.
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and reduced sugar and dairy.
- Practice breathing exercises.
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