Ask any parent who has a child who is allergic to peanuts how difficult their life has become. Food shopping can take hours because every food label must be read it and studied to make sure it contains no traces of peanuts. Arrangements for peanut-free foods must be made with the child’s school ahead of time and other children’s birthday parties can be a parent’s worse nightmare. Peanut allergies although common can be one of the most fatal allergies a child could suffer from. Some children are so sensitive to their peanut allergy that if they come into contact with peanuts just from someone else’s skin, their life can be at risk. Peanut allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock which is a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal.
Peanut allergies are usually not diagnosed until a child reaches the age of 2 or even three years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents who have a peanut allergy in the family should wait until their child is at least three years old before giving them peanuts or anything containing peanuts. There are even some conservative obgyns who advise their pregnant patients not to eat peanuts, especially if when they are in their third trimester regardless of if there is a history of peanut allergy in the family or not.
The reason for this is that in order for a peanut allergy to develop, the child has to come into contact with small traces of a peanut. This contact sensitizes the child so that they later have a severe allergic reaction. Some experts believe that this first sensitization can occur during pregnancy. It is believed that a tiny amount of peanut protein can cross the placenta. In fact, a recent study showed that if a woman ate peanuts or peanut butter while pregnant their baby could be four times more likely to develop a peanut allergy than a child whose mother didn’t eat any peanuts during her pregnancy.
This isn’t to say though that if you have a no history of nut allergies you should avoid peanuts at all costs. In fact, peanuts and peanut butter are very beneficial to you and your baby. Peanuts are a useful source of folic acid and protein, both of which are very important to your and your growing baby. Peanuts and peanut butter have been said to help some women get through the first trimester of morning sickness. Keep in mind however that there have been some instances when women who had no history of peanut allergies in their family and ate an overwhelming amount of peanuts or even peanut butter throughout their pregnancies wound up with children who had a peanut allergy.
Before you decide to throw out all your peanuts and say goodbye to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, talk to your doctor. Give your doctor a detailed family history and let him know if there are any peanut allergies in your family. With your doctor’s help you will be able to create a healthy peanut eating plan for your pregnancy. If you do not feel comfortable at all eating peanuts due to the risk do not let anyone change your mind. It is your body and your child and you have the right to make that decision.