Pregnancy, Peanut butter, and allergies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-22-2003, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I am not sure this is in the right spot, so please forgive me if it isn't.

I am 6wks pregnant with my first, so of course I am getting all sorts of (unasked for) advice from everyone who knows! (Mental note: Next time wait to tell everyone! ) Because I am a vegetarian, most of this advice is along the lines of what I should and shouldn't be eating.

A few people have told me that if I have a family history of eczema or asthma, which I do, I should avoid all peanut products while pregnant and bfeeding because it can cause the baby to have a peanut allergy. I had never heard of that, but since I really don't eat that much pb anyhow I figured it wouldn't hurt to avoid peanuts.

THEN, I was telling some friends about this and they told me that, no, if you have a family history of pnut allergy, asthma, or eczema, you SHOULD eat peanuts to help get the baby accustomed to them so he/she will be less likely to have an allergy.

So, which is it? Does it matter? It's really, so far, a moot point because peanut butter is one of the foods that makes me nauseated but I am curious for future reference. Thanks!


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#2 of 4 Old 03-22-2003, 06:08 PM
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the latest info I have on this comes from the March 13, 2003 New England Journal of Medicine vol 13 no.11 article "Factors associated with the development of peanut allergy in childhood" by Lack et al

I'm no statistical expert but their study found no association between maternal diet during pregnancy or lactation and peanut allergy

they found that the important associations with development of peanut allergy are:
family history of peanut allergy
early onset of eczema
other rashes with oozing and crusting
use of creams containing peanut oil on broken skin of babies
and the consumption of soy by babies in the first or second year of life (cross sensitisation to peanuts from soy proteins)

this data came from a huge study that identified less than 50 peanut allergic kids from over 12000 births so it's not really a lot of subjects, and other sudies have found different results so it still seems to me that the jury is out over whether or not you should avoid peanuts or maybe all nuts or even soy???? and then what to avoid with babies?

personally I have one nut anaphylactic son - I probably ate some peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding but definitely used a cream containing peanut oil at times on his shocking early onset eczema and other rashes AND he had soy from about 10 months (long story). No family history of nut allergy but lots of other atopic stuff.

with ds2 I never had nuts in the house due to ds1's allergy and certainly ate no peanuts during preg or bf, used no peanut oil creams and he had no eczema or other rashes - he is not allergic to nuts of any kind

how do you make up your mind about this??? like I said, for me the jury is still out
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#3 of 4 Old 03-22-2003, 06:08 PM
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Well, official Health Service advice here in the UK is to avoid peanuts and peanut products while pregnant and breastfeeding if you have a history of allergies, eczema or asthma in the family.

I have all three in my family, so I haven't had any peanuts or peanut products since December '98 (since I've been pregnant and/or breastfeeding the whole time since then).

I have read recently that exposure to peanut oil in lotions on a baby's skin is another huge risk factor for developing peanut/nut allergies, so that is something to look out for once baby arrives.

Not sure where your friends get their information about it being a good idea to expose your unborn baby or newborn infant to peanuts/peanut products to get them used to it. Generally speaking, isn't it a better idea to avoid exposing babies (with their immature immune systems, digestive systems, etc) to things that their immune and digestive systems might find difficult to deal with? :

If anyone knew of any studies showing that it's a good thing to expose unborn/newborn babies to peanuts to avoid peanut allergies, I'd love to read them. I'd kill for some peanut M&Ms!
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#4 of 4 Old 03-23-2003, 02:48 AM
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I don't know...I am a mom who is allergic to peanuts, so I know that my 2.5 year old has never been exposed through me (in utero or through breast milk). But he has the other thing going against him- the heredity. I would say, as my opinion without any medical basis whatsoever, that I would continue to consume peanuts and peanut butter while pregnant but not while nursing. I don't know why I say that, but it just seems different...more direct when nursing, maybe. I assume you have no family history; automatically, then, you have less to worry about.
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