preventing allergies

Allergies – Preventing Them In Pregnancy

Pregnant mothers might sometimes feel that there is a lot out of their control when it comes to their baby’s health and development. You are often bombarded with both useful and unwanted advice on diet, exercise, stress reduction, and health. But when it comes to preventing allergies, new research has suggested that pregnant mothers can do one simple thing to help protect their child: taking one capsule of fish oil on a daily basis.

The Benefits of Fish Oil

The most important element of fish oil is omega-3 fatty acids. These have been found to have a number of positive effects on heart health. For example:

  • They can help lower blood pressure
  • They can slow the build-up of blockages caused by plaque in the arteries
  • They can reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been seen to reduce the symptoms of some mental health problems.

Fish Oil and Pregnancy

When it comes to preventing allergies, the recent research has found that omega-3 fatty acid’s anti-inflammatory effect has resulted in a 30% reduction in egg allergy risk in young children. Fish oil supplements were found to be particularly effective against egg allergies when taken by breastfeeding mothers during the first few months. However, the research also confirmed that a mother’s diet during pregnancy could influence a child’s chance of developing allergies.

The researchers also found that probiotic supplements taken during pregnancy appeared to reduce a child’s chances of developing eczema by around 22%.

Previous Research – Diet and Pregnancy

Reports dating back to 2012 found a similar connection between pregnant women’s diets and childhood asthma. Despite years of advice suggesting that avoiding nuts during pregnancy was the best course of action to prevent allergies, Danish researchers have recently discredited this theory. They found that eating nuts during pregnancy could significantly reduce instances of childhood asthma. Of the 60,000 mothers and their children who took part in the research the study found that the chance of being diagnosed as asthmatic at 18 months was reduced by 25%, and by 33% at age 7.

Taking certain supplements during pregnancy, particularly folic acid, has long been proven to be beneficial. In the case of folic acid, all mothers are advised to take the supplement during pregnancy to protect against spina bifida and other neural tube disorders. The link between a mother’s diet and the health of her child has long been linked, and these areas of research are just adding to our knowledge of what benefits our children, and what can be damaging.

Allergy Awareness Week

An increasing number of people around the world are now suffering from some type of allergy at some point in their lives. Making pregnant women aware of how they can help protect their children is one way of increasing awareness of this problem. Allergic reactions can manifest in a variety of ways. It can be useful to know how to recognise and deal with these symptoms – it could even save someone’s life:

  • diarrhoea or vomiting
  • a cough
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • itchy throat and tongue
  • itchy skin or rash
  • swollen lips and throat
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore, red and itchy eyes

Very serious cases of allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxsis or anaphylactic shock, can result in the sufferer being unable to breathe. This kind of reaction requires emergency medical attention.

Preventing allergies is an important part of Allergy Awareness Week. Find out more about where you can go for advice on possible allergy symptoms and how you can manage them on our blog.