Recent UK studies revealing the benefit of giving peanut protein to infants at risk for peanut allergy have left some mothers feeling guilty.
The UK research showed that high risk children are less likely to develop peanut allergy when exposed to peanut protein from infancy through age 5. This outcome suggests to some moms that avoiding peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding could increase the likelihood of a child’s sensitivity to peanuts.
Yet, according to a recent U.S. based study, what the UK results seem to imply about a mother’s diet is untrue.
Peanuts and Pregnancy
The U.S. investigators recruited a group of pregnant and nursing women. They had half of these women eat peanuts while the other half did not, and then waited to see which of their children developed a peanut allergy.
The study’s results may put the mind of some mothers at ease. Incidence of peanut allergy in the participant’s children had no bearing on whether the pregnant or breastfeeding moms consumed peanuts.
“Maternal peanut exposure during pregnancy and lactation has no impact on the development of peanut allergy in the offspring,” concluded the research team. This held true even though some of these women ate peanuts before conception, resulting in various antibodies being passed to their offspring via serum and breast milk.
No Evident Link
Though this U.S. study is good news for concerned mothers, a single research study never constitutes truth. Before a consensus on scientific truth is reached, many experiments - often with conflicting outcomes - are performed. So, we all need to stay tuned for the latest peanuts-and-pregnancy data.
However, for now, no convincing evidence exists linking a pregnant or breastfeeding mom’s peanut consumption or avoidance to the development of a child’s allergy.