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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?
- Marlee

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