If you are pregnant and munching on peanuts to boost your child’s health, watch out! As a new study shows, eating peanuts during pregnancy may actually make your child allergic to the nut.
Recently, Scott Sicherer, a professor of Pediatrics of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City conducted a survey with five colleagues. Sicherer and his team studied over 500 infants aged between 3 and 15 months. The infants were most probably allergic to milk or eggs but not nuts. Most of them had not even tried eating peanuts. Over 25% of these infants showed strong allergy to peanuts. The children whose mothers had consumed peanuts during pregnancy displayed three times more reaction to peanuts.
It seemed the more a woman ate peanuts during pregnancy, the more was her child’s risk of becoming allergic to peanuts. However, consumption of peanuts during breast feeding did not seem to have any effect.
The study has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
But the research does not lead to any definite conclusions. As Sicherer and his colleagues noted, the peanut sensitivity in the examined children was measured only thorough blood tests. This is not the way how an allergy is diagnosed.
The obscurity in Sicherer’s study has confused many women. Through an e-mail, Sicherer has admitted to Reuters Health that he had talked with many mothers who had not consumed peanuts but had children who showed allergy to the food. But he said the lack of a clear outcome would also help mothers not feel guilty about their past diet habits.
Guidance to mothers about peanut consumption has varied over the last 10 years. In 2000, The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advised women to avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. But they withdrew it in 2008.
Currently, about 1% of US children show peanut allergy that often becomes serious for infantile health.