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Is it safe to consume nuts during pregnancy? Women, who are pregnant, fear that consuming nuts triggers the risk of developing allergies in their kids and therefore avoid eating them. Read on to find out if it is safe to consume nuts during pregnancy.

Correlation between eating nuts during pregnancy and allergy in kids

Do you think that eating nuts during pregnancy might have an effect on your child’s resistance to allergies? Till a few years back, doctors used to recommend women to avoid nuts as there was the risk that the child might develop nut allergies or asthma.
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However, a recent study conducted in Denmark has revealed that pregnant women can enjoy nuts without the fear of passing on allergies to their off-springs. The study was undertaken by Ekaterina Maslova and her fellow researchers at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.

The study and its key takeaways

To understand the correlation between nut consumption during pregnancy and allergy in kids, about 62000 Danish mothers were selected and they were asked to fill up mid-pregnancy food frequency questionnaires with emphasis on peanut and tree nut consumption. The researchers also evaluated the medical records of the off-springs of these mothers from 18 months to seven years of age.
The questionnaires covered areas such as the nut consumption patterns of the mothers who were part of the sample population. The researchers evaluated the effects of consuming peanuts and tree nuts separately. The key takeaways of the study are detailed below.

Consumption of peanuts during pregnancy

The following results were observed on the examination of the medical reports of children whose mothers consumed peanuts during pregnancy.

• The 18th month examination revealed that the children were less likely to have asthma. Only about 15 percent of the children whose mothers consumed peanuts more than once a week had asthma. On the other hand, about 17 percent of the kids had asthma but their mothers never ate peanuts.

• The researchers also concluded that the kids whose mothers were regularly eating peanuts during pregnancy were 21 percent less likely to have asthma.

• When the medical data of the same group of kids was examined when they were 7 years old, it was found that they were 34 percent less likely to develop asthma when compared with kids whose mothers completely abstained from consuming peanuts during pregnancy.

• The study revealed no correlation between peanut consumption by mothers during pregnancy and the development of nasal allergies in their kids.

Consumption of tree nuts during pregnancy

The study conducted by Ekaterina Maslova and her fellow researchers revealed the following results for the mothers who consumed tree nuts during pregnancy.

• The 18th month examination revealed that the children whose mothers consumed tree nuts more than once a week were 25 percent less likely to have asthma and wheezing in comparison to the children whose mothers avoided consuming tree nuts during pregnancy. However, at seven years of age, this difference was considerably lower.

• The children of mothers who consumed tree nuts frequently during pregnancy were 20 percent less likely to contract allergies.

Key Inferences of the study

The study goes on to prove that nuts do not play any role in the prevention of allergies and asthma in kids. However, consumption of nuts by expectant mothers cannot be attributed as a reason for allergies and asthma in kids. Therefore, expectant mothers can enjoy nuts without any worry of passing on allergies to their kids. In fact, consuming nuts and seeds during pregnancy is recommended as they are a good source of proteins, vitamins E, essential fatty acids, minerals, and folate. Nuts are an excellent and healthy alternative to snacking during pregnancy.
Continue reading after recommendations

  • "Peanut and tree nut consumption during pregnancy and allergic disease in children—should mothers decrease their intake?”, by Ekaterina Maslova, et al. Published in the June 2012 issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, accessed on August 8, 2012.
  • “Maternal Food Consumption during Pregnancy and the Longitudinal Development of Childhood Asthma”, by Saskia M. Willers, et al. Published in the April 2008 issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, accessed on August 8, 2012.
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