Here is the short and curly on this: there is not a significant amount of evidence that supports peanut consumption during your pregnancy will increase the chances of your child having a peanut allergy.
The problem is that there have been some small studies that support it and some small studies that don’t.
Ten years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that women with babies at increased risk of allergy due to family history avoid peanut products while pregnant or breastfeeding. However, avoidance didn’t seem to make a difference, as peanut allergies were still on the rise, so the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it.
One study followed kids in the UK and kids in Israel and found that the kids in Israel had a lower incident of peanut allergies yet consumed peanuts at a much earlier age and their mothers didn’t avoid peanuts during their pregnancies. Yet another study found that a group of women that consumed peanuts during pregnancy had babies that had a strong sensitivity to peanuts based on their blood tests.
Peanut allergies are a scary thing and they certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. Unfortunately, nobody knows what causes them yet so we’re ending up with a lot of theoretical advice. What’s worse is the media likes to lead with “Rise in Allergies from Peanut Consumption During Pregnancy”, while showing a close-up photo of a belly holding a gerbera daisy and a jar of peanut butter. It’s not until you’re completely freaked out that they decide to mention that it was a very small study so there’s no conclusive evidence yet. You’ve extracted “Killer Peanuts” from the headline and bought the magazine, so their job is done.
It looks like we’ll still have to wait on the peanut debate a little longer but from what I read, it doesn’t look like you need to put away the jar of Skippy just yet.
With that said, in January of 2017, a panel of experts sponsored by the National Institute of Health came together and formulated new guidelines for when to introduce peanut products to babies. In a nutshell (hardy har har), early exposure to peanut products vastly reduces the chances of developing peanut allergies later in life.
It’s peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time!
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