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I’m Pregnant. Can I Lower My Baby’s Food Allergy Risk?

I’ve heard that if I avoid certain foods during my pregnancy, like peanuts, I can help prevent my child from developing food allergies sometime down the road. Is this true?

At this time, doctors do not recommend that you avoid certain foods during pregnancy in order to prevent the development of food allergies. Recent studies have not shown a reduction in food allergies when mothers avoided certain foods during pregnancy, even when there was a family history of allergies.

The key to eating right during pregnancy — and making sure that you’re giving your baby the nutrients to grow healthy and strong — is to eat foods from the different food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, meat, and beans) and to consume more nutrient-rich calories than before. In fact, pregnant women need about 300 extra calories a day, especially later in pregnancy, when babies grow quickly.

It’s also important to avoid certain foods that contain toxins that can be harmful to a developing baby. Talk to your doctor about what foods are best for you and your baby.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013