Is It Safe to Eat Peanuts & Peanut Butter While Pregnant?
So many contradictory reports have confused expectant mothers
At this point, no one really knows for sure whether or not it is safe to eat peanuts and peanut butter during pregnancy. Conflicting outcomes of research studies have shown on one hand that children whose mothers ate substantial amounts of peanuts during pregnancy had an increased risk of developing a peanut allergy. Other studies pointed to the fact that being exposed to peanuts early in life lowers the chance of developing a serious peanut allergy.
Doctors do not agree on the safety of eating peanuts during pregnancy
Many obstetricians tell their patients without peanut allergies to eat peanuts freely during pregnancy. Doctors do not agree on whether a non-allergic mother can safely eat peanut products while she is pregnant if other family members are allergic to peanuts. The fear is that the child may have inherited food allergies from the father or other family members on either side. To be safe in a case like this one, doctors usually caution the mother to simply avoid peanut products.
Avoiding peanuts is not so easy
As anyone with a peanut allergy in their family already knows, avoiding peanut products is not so easy. Sure, you can substitute sunflower seed butter for peanut butter, but what about all of the products with hidden peanuts in them? Peanuts are hidden ingredients in many foods.
The seriousness of peanut allergies is cause for concern during pregnancy
An older study from 1999 that was published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology studied how eating peanuts during pregnancy affected the occurrence of peanut allergies in children. In the study, children up to three years of age were the test subjects. Out of these kids, 25 out of 43 had tested positively for peanut allergies. The allergic group of children were found to have mothers who ate peanuts only one time each week had a four times greater chance of having a child born with an allergy to peanuts.
Even the government doesn't know whether eating this food is safe during pregnancy
Much of the confusion about whether eating peanuts during pregnancy causes asthma and peanut allergies originated when the U.K. government issued a warning to expectant mothers to avoid peanuts while pregnant. In 2009, the British government revised their advice, saying that there was no connection between consuming this food while pregnant and having a child with severe allergies. The U.S. government issued similar warnings and later confirmed that there is no clear evidence that peanut consumption during pregnancy causes allergies in an infant or toddler.
Pregnant women should discuss peanut consumption with their doctor
Expectant mothers may want to discuss peanut allergy causes with their obstetrician since each family is different in the allergies that they may have. Until there is conclusive evidence that peanuts affect the unborn child, most doctors are currently telling non-allergic patients to enjoy peanuts without eating them in excess.