Avoiding peanuts while pregnant/breastfeeding prevents PA?

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 1:16am
Caterina2's picture
Joined: 02/14/2001 - 09:00

When I was pregnant with my PA daughter eight years ago, there was no research on this topic. I ate peanut butter throughout my pregnancy and while breastfeeding. At 3 years of age, my daughter tried PB for the first time and had a severe anaphylactic reaction. Shortly afterwards, there was a great deal of media attention on Dr. Vadas' study that peanut protein is present in breast milk and therefore pregnant and nursing mothers with a history of any type of allergy should avoid peanut products to avoid their child developing PA.

When I heard this, I felt so guilty and blamed myself for my daughter's PA. When I became pregnant with my second child, I did not consume any peanut products during pregnany or when I breastfed althougth my obstetrician said there was not enough evidence to support the study. My second child is not PA.

Last summer when my daughter was re-tested and my son tested for the first time at Sick Kids Hospital, the allergist informed me that the allergists are not totally convinced that not exposing children in utero, while breastfeeding or before the age of 3 will prevent them from getting PA. They now believe that children are born with PA and may be sensitized to peanut products in utero or while breastfeeding if the mother consumes such products. The allergy is not caused by the consumption of peanuts/PB but may be delayed or supressed if infants or young children are not exposed to PB. Because infants' and young children's digestive systems are not yet fully developed, introducting peanut products after the age of 4 may be better tolerated and may avoid the child from becoming PA.

I am really confused by all of this information and of course more studies need to be conducted. Does this mean that someone may be PA and because he/she does not consume peanut products will never know he/she is PA until one starts to consume such products and is sensitized? If this is true, then people who develop PA as adults were really PA all of their lives, but just not sensitized enough to cause a reaction. Your thoughts, please.


[This message has been edited by Caterina2 (edited March 05, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:04am
arachide's picture
Joined: 08/16/2000 - 09:00

Cathy, that's the question of genetic predisposition. What about the statistic saying pa kids have a 15-20% chance of "out-growing" the allergy if they can avoid all exposure over a number of years? Here avoidance can possibly "fix" the problem.
But then again, there are allergies (I imagine primarily environmental) where constant exposure eventually de-sensitizes an allergic individual (ergo the use of allergy shots).
Search the threads under "gestational diabetes". You'll find some interesting opinions from those who felt/didn't feel that eating peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding caused their child's pa.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:22am
Jazz It Up's picture
Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

Don't you both just love all the conflicting reports in regards to peanut allergy from so many different experts? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
My SIL had her first reaction to peanuts at the age of 27. (She is a member here; mostly posts in the Adults with Peanut Allergy section with the very fitting screen name of allergic@27) I will direct her to this thread...she had eaten PB all her life and then one day bites into a Reeses Cup and has a full blown anaphylactic reaction. That's scary!
I ate Peanut Products with both of my children while pregnant and during breastfeeding. One is allergic; one is not. The one allergic (my youngest) had eczema very badly; the one not allergic did not have eczema.
I had never heard of a peanut allergy until my son had his first anaphylactic reaction and I was just in shock for the longest time.
I'll have my SIL give some info here regarding her allergy to peanuts. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Stay Safe!

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:32am
LJG's picture
Joined: 05/23/2002 - 09:00

I recall during my pregnancy I was extremely fond of cashew butter and almond butter, and ate them both periodically (but not all the time as they were expensive). I also was a vegetarian during the first 2 trimesters, and ate a lot of nuts for the protein (during the 2nd trimester. The first one I was limited to saltines and Ensure, being a total barf-queen). Perhaps consuming the nuts was a contributing factor in my dd's TNA, but there is so much more to learn about what causes the immune system to be hyper reactive. One thing I do not feel is guilt, and I wish some of you would not put yourselves through that. None of us can predict the future. Don't feel guilty about something that cannot be helped, my dears.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:32am
Jazz It Up's picture
Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

After posting about my sister in law, it got me thinking about the adults with peanut allergy so I just started a thread in the Adults Living with Peanut Allergy board asking them at what age did they react to peanuts.
Stay Safe!

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:58am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I totally agree, Lori, about the guilt thing. I've never felt the guilt about Cayley's PA that others have, not ever. And I wish I could assuage the guilt some mothers do feel. I don't feel the PA was "my" fault any more than I think it's Cayley's fault - nothing can be done about what was basically a bad toss of the dice, the way I see it.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 7:31am
smack's picture
Joined: 11/14/2001 - 09:00

I never felt the guilt either nor do I blame my dh for having environmental allergies therefore [b]predisposing[/b] any offspring, to having any sort of allergy.
When I was in the Dr.'s office last year I started this conversation with this man(he remembered me from years ago when I worked in a photography store). He was waiting for his daughter that was in her early 20'S and was in getting her allergy shots.
I asked him if she was peanut allergic and he looked at me really wierd. "How do you know?" I told him about my son and the correlation(from what I've read)made with ea's and food allergies. He told me it was just recently that she became pa. She had tolerated them all her life just fine up until a couple of years ago when she started having reactions. Then off to the allergist to test positive to being allergic to peanuts.
Then with this predisposition, perhaps the in utero theory/breastfeeding just adds fuel to the fire brewing in these children?
Of course these are JUST MOO'S

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 10:58am
hannah mom's picture
Joined: 10/12/2001 - 09:00

Hi All
While I don't feel guilty, I do believe my almost daily consumption of peanut butter while pregnant and breastfeeding may have contributed to Hannah's allergy. If I had it all to do over again, I would avoid peanuts and this is what I have advised my pregnant/breastfeeding friends to do.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 11:45am
Caterina2's picture
Joined: 02/14/2001 - 09:00

I did feel guilty when this study was first released, but I don't anymore. Because of all of the conflicting information, I have come to realize that doctors don't really know for sure what causes PA -- yes, they all have theories, but no solid evidence to support them. I have met so many people who did not consume peanut products while pregnant or nursing and they still had children with PA.
I still believe the peanut must have been genetically altered in some way, but we'll never know for sure.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 2:45pm
momof4's picture
Joined: 03/26/2001 - 09:00

Hello all,
I just wanted to point out. I have 5 kids and the first two I ate a ton of peanut butter but never nursed. The third is the one with the allergy to everything. I know I ate very little if any peanut butter during the pregnancy. I breastfed her for a year, and maybe ate peanut butter a couple times. She had the allergy from birth basically I am sure it would have shown up if she had been tested at a month old. Her allergies came out at age 10 months, but she never had or has ever tried peanut. We were lucky enough to find out about the allergies through the egg allergy which was not fun, but not life threatening. I thank god (not much of a church person), daily that I listened to MY gut feelings. Had I not, she would more than likely be dead right now. I have no other explanation for what I did or how I decided to ignore the doctors. They told me at age 2 she could start peanut butter now since she only showed signs to egg allergy, was fine with citrus, tomato and a few others. I told the doctor NO, I want her tested first. If I didn't demand that, and had given her peanut, she would never have made it to the hospital and the emt's did not carry epi-pens and could not administer them at that time. I know now to always follow my gut. I do not feel her allergy had any bearing on what I ate. However, I had and still do many food allergies none life threatening though. If you look at my 5 kids, this third one Saphyre, looks identical to me and so does my baby(20months old now). I will not give him any peanut at all, I will have him tested very soon. My other daughter #4 child also has no allergies, and looks like the others who have none. She was nursed for 9 months and baby is still nursing. I am however tempted to try something to myself. I guess I will post somewhere else about thatone... Do not ever feel guilty about how the allergy came about. These are things we can not predict. So just think of how to keep your children safe. Hope all is well with everyone. Cindy(Florida)

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 10:19pm
Batman's picture
Joined: 08/11/2000 - 09:00

Being the queen of guilt [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img], I do blame myself somewhat for my son's PA. I ate peanut butter and peanuts all through my pregnancy and 6 months of breast feeding. I know the research is not conclusive, but I also know that I did not help the situation.
One on my biggest fears is that my son will blame me for his allergy when he gets older and realizes that I may have had something to do with it (note I said MAY). I only hope by then that the studies show otherwise!

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 11:43pm
Kathy L.'s picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

Does anyone know where to find a position statement from a medical source about NOT eating peanuts during pregnancy? I can find many documents about not eating peanuts while breastfeeding. I want to give an article to my co-worker who never heard of peanut allergy. I searched google, etc., but nothing is definitive. In fact, the Atkins diet advises that if you follow this diet during prenancy that you should eat peanuts for protein!

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:16am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Research for peanut allergies is all over the place. No longer are doctors talking about kids outgrowing their peanut allergy, because the long term picture is that many of these kids are becoming allergic again.
In the year 2000, with a grant from the American Peanut Council, Dr. Vadas in Toronto, did a study on breast milk and peanut protein. He found that women who ate peanuts while breastfeeding did have the protein in their milk. Whether or not this creates peanut allergy, no one knows. We only know that we expose our children to small amounts of peanut very early on but it may explain why what we think to be our child's first exposure to peanut can result in a life threatening situation.
Many of us like Momof4, ----but says she has 5 kids---so I don't know whether they're all just moving too fast for her to count heads or what [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ate peanuts with every pregnancy but not every child has the allergy.
I think the genetics theory is a load of bull. Where did we suddenly get this epidemic of genes.
Bottom line is that we have absolutely no idea why peanut allergies are happening. But it is likely a good thing not to eat peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding because if your child is going to acquire a peanut allergy, you're increasing the chances of a serious reaction.

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 3:03am
Caterina2's picture
Joined: 02/14/2001 - 09:00

River, your comment "But it is likely a good thing not to eat peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding because if your child is going to acquire a peanut allergy, you're increasing the chances of a serious reaction." is exactly what I believe happenend in my situation. I don't think my eating peanut products throughout my pregnancy or breastfeeding caused my daughter's allergy but rather sensitized her enough so that when she finally did try peanut butter herself, she had a very serious reaction.
It's just unfortunate that the general public, not knowing enough about the allergy, heard or read that study which at the time was all over the media, and then interpreted it as meaning women who ate peanut butter during pregnancy or breasfeeding caused their child's allergy. I can't remember how many of my co-workers called me up at the time to ask me if I ate peanut butter throughout my pregnancy. Even today, when I meet new people and we get on the subject of my daughter's allergy, the first question they ask is "did you eat peanut butter while pregnant or nursing" as if this is the reason why my daughter is PA.

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