Avoid peanuts during pregnancy

Washington: A new research has found that pregnant women who eat peanuts might be putting their children at an increased risk for peanut allergy.

Scott H. Sicherer at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his colleagues evaluated 503 infants aged three to 15 months with likely milk or egg allergies or with significant eczema and positive allergy tests to milk or egg, which are factors associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy.

"While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions," said Sicherer.

Although an earlier study had arrived to similar results, the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it.

The authors caution that the study has limitations, including the reliance on the self-reporting of dietary habits among pregnant women. Importantly, the study has thus far only shown an increased risk for positive allergy test results to peanut.

The authors conclude that controlled, interventional studies should be conducted to explore these findings further.

"Peanut allergy is serious, usually persistent, potentially fatal, and appears to be increasing in prevalence," said Sicherer.

"Our study is an important step toward identifying preventive measures that, if verified, may help reduce the impact of peanut allergy."

The data are reported in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.