Peanuts and pregnancy
Peanuts and pregnancy

Good news if you like peanuts - latest official advice is that there's no need to avoid them during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, UNLESS there is an existing family history of allergy to peanuts.

The Government has carried out a major review of the scientific evidence and concludes that there is no clear evidence either way that eating or avoiding peanuts has any bearing on whether your child devlelops an allergy to them.

It has therefore dropped the previous advice that pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid peanuts and peanut products, or that you should not introduce peanuts into your child’s diet before three years of age.

The number of UK schoolchildren with nut allergies has doubled in the last decade, despite previous guidelines being in place.

And nut allergies are extremely low in countries where peanuts form part of a weaned baby's diet.

The new Government advice states:

'If you would like to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, you can choose to do so as part of a healthy balanced diet, unless you yourself are allergic to them or unless your health professional advises you not to.

'If you would like to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) when you are breastfeeding, you can choose to do so as part of a healthy balanced diet, unless you yourself are allergic to them or unless your health professional advises you not to.

'You may have heard about previous advice to avoid giving a child foods containing peanuts before three years of age, if there was a history of allergy in the child’s immediate family (such as eczema, hayfever, food allergy or other types of allergy). This has now changed because the latest research has shown that there is no clear evidence to say that this will help to reduce the risk of your child developing a peanut allergy.

'If your child already has a known allergy, such as a diagnosed food allergy or diagnosed eczema, or if there is a history of allergy in your child’s immediate family (if the child’s parents, brothers or sisters have an allergy such as asthma, eczema, hayfever, or other types of allergy), then your child has a higher risk of developing peanut allergy. In these cases you should talk to your GP, health visitor or medical allergy specialist before you give peanuts or foods containing peanuts to your child for the first time.

'Whole peanuts or whole nuts should never be given to children under five because of the risk of choking.'

For more information, visit the Food Standards Agency website.

If you have any queries about whether it's safe for you eat nuts while pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your GP or midwife.

Visit netdoctor.co.uk for more information about pregnancy health issues. 

Babyexpert.com 02/09/2009 09:44:00
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