Even after my first child was diagnosed with food allergies, I didn't realize there was a possibility that the things I had been eating during my pregnancy may have helped contribute to her food allergies after she was born.
Of course, there are many different opinions on what triggers food allergies, and the only thing that most doctors and researchers can agree upon is that they aren't really sure what causes a person to develop food allergies. However, if you're like me, I prefer to have all the facts, as well as the theories, so I can sort out my own opinion on the matter.
When I was in the fifth month of pregnancy with my second child, I was in the allergist's office with my oldest child for her annual check-up. It was at this point that the allergist informed me that I should avoid eating nuts and seafood during my pregnancy since food allergies seemed to run in my family, and that there was speculation among doctors that foods consumed during pregnancy could help trigger the condition after birth. Useful information, of course, but nevertheless, it was information I could have used before I was halfway through my second pregnancy.
If you've already got a child with food allergies, I suggest you address the subject with your allergist and OB/GYN before you conceive your second child. The allergist can give you a lot of information about the possible connection between allergies and foods you consume during pregnancy. However, before you eliminate anything from your diet, you should consult with your OB/GYN to ensure your unborn baby is getting the nutrition it needs to develop properly.
It's important to point out that when my allergist referred to food allergies running in my family, it wasn't just a reference to my oldest daughter. Food allergies, as I would find out later, went back two more generations in my family. After my daughter was diagnosed with a milk allergy, my mother told me she had milk allergies as a child, and that I had allergies to certain fruits when I was very young, which I didn't remember. Of course, even if I had known this family history before my first pregnancy, I would never have assumed that my daughter would have these problems, or that I should avoid certain foods during pregnancy.
Now that we know more about the possible causes of food allergies, if you know someone who is about to have their first child, you may want to advise them to check up on family history concerning this medical condition. If they have this information from the very beginning -- as opposed to after their first child is born and they're sitting in the allergists' office waiting for a doctor to tell them why their child has got hives from head to toe, or worse yet, rushing to the ER with a child who can't breath -- they may be able to avoid food allergies all together.
Published On: June 25, 2008