A mother’s love for her child never ceases to amaze me. It starts the moment her child is conceived and continues into adulthood for the rest of the child’s life. A child’s allergies are closely intertwined with how the mother took care of her health and that of her child. Did you know that there are some ways you may be able to prevent the development of these allergies during pregnancy and childhood?
Here they are:
Load up on your omega-3 fatty acids. Essential omega-3 fatty acid (DHA and EPA) supplementation during pregnancy has been shown to decrease the incidence of food allergies and eczema when the child is born. Likewise, continuation of omega-3 fatty acids in early childhood has been found to keep the incidence of allergies in check.
Breastfeed your child for at least a year. Breastfeeding your child may be the single most useful and practical advice we can give you. No amount of milk formula can compare to breastmilk when it comes to passive immunity and nutrition. As much as possible, feed your baby with breastmilk.
If your family has a strong history of allergies, breastfeeding your baby, especially for the first 6 months of life, can lessen the incidence of allergies later in life. But mum make sure you have a full and healthy diet okay? Otherwise, you will not be able to provide your baby with enough nutrients for him or her to be strong and healthy. Lastly, when it comes to grains and legumes, wait until your baby has teeth to chew and digest these foods as they can be quite hard on their delicate digestive systems. Don’t be afraid to give them organic meat when you start giving them solid foods.
Don’t forget the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D). Not only does vitamin D balance calcium metabolism, it also enhances your body’s immune response to an infection or allergen. The less vitamin D you consume (pregnant mum and child) the higher the incidence of the child developing allergies later in life.
Consume probiotics especially during the last trimester of pregnancy. Your baby’s first food is the milk from your breasts. So whatever you consume during the last trimester of your pregnancy will be your last chance to give your unborn baby all the supplies he or she needs before embarking on a new journey (the outside world).
Probiotics promote the balance of good bacteria in the mother’s digestive system. This delicate and essential balance will be passed on to the baby. Studies have shown that when this happens the incidence of allergies, notably food allergies, goes down.
Go organic and natural. Eliminating all the harmful chemicals and unwanted alterations in the foods you and your child eat can bring down the incidence of allergies. Think about it. Half of the substances most of us are allergic to are substances which are chemically altered by extensive processing. A good example would be pesticides. The breakdown products of these chemicals have been found to be linked with the increased incidence of allergies. Though eating organic, whole foods is not just for during pregnancy and early childhood, this should be a focus for your whole life.
The field of allergology in medicine still occupies a space filled with question marks. There’s still much to learn. Suffice it to say, we’re fortunate enough that there are preliminary studies which serve as road signs towards a healthier and allergy-free pregnant mum and child. These tips will help your child to start off life with a healthy and balanced immune system and may help to prevent the development of allergies.
de Silva D, Geromi M, Halken S, Host A, Panesar SS, Muraro A, Werfel T, Hoffmann-Sommergruber K, Roberts G, Cardona V, Dubois AW, Poulsen LK, Van Ree R, Vlieg-Boerstra B, Agache I, Grimshaw K, O’Mahony L, Venter C, Arshad Sh, Sheikh A 2014, Primary prevention of food allergy in children and adults: systematic review. Allergy doi: 10.1111/all.12334.