Pregnancy diet and peanut sensitisation

Yet more research, carried out at The David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight, has questioned whether existing advice to prospective mothers regarding the consumption of peanuts during pregnancy is correct.

Current advice from the Department of Health, first issued in 1998, is that ‘pregnant or breast-feeding women who are themselves atopic, or where another first-degree relative of the child is atopic, may wish to avoid eating peanuts and peanut products during pregnancy and

The Isle of Wight study, which questioned nearly 840 pregnant women about their diets, then, two years later, carried out nearly 660 skin prick tests on their children to detect peanut sensitisation, found that 65% of all mothers had avoided peanuts, whether or not they had the specified risk factors.

In view of the fact that some mothers may therefore have been avoiding peanuts unnecessarily, the study's authors have called for a review of the advice that is currently being given to prospective mothers on eating peanuts during pregnancy.

This study also suggests that the maternal consumption of peanuts during pregnancy may in fact not be associated with peanut sensitisation in infants, so more research also needs to be done to clarify the actual risks.

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First Published in June 2007

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