How Eating Peanuts When Pregnant Can Affect Your Child's Health
Researchers studying the relationship among pregnant women who eat peanuts and their children believe that these women should lay off the peanuts. Why? They believe that the eating of the peanuts or peanut butter increases the odds that the child, when born, will develop asthma.
The study did not focus on pregnant women who ate peanuts occasionally. Rather, it concentrated on those who ate peanuts every day, or most days. The study was done by the Dutch government and focused on nearly four thousand pregnant women.
When contrasted with women who never ate peanuts or rarely ate peanuts during pregnancy, the children born to the peanut consumers had a roughly fifty percent greater chance of having breathing problems or asthma than the children of non-peanut eaters. Another interesting aspect of the study was that eating fruit seemed to mitigate the odds of the woman's child developing wheezing – although it had no effect on the number of children who develop asthma. But, since the study was not originally built around studying the relationship of eating fruit on asthma, no concrete conclusion can be made about its effect.
Other interesting and unexplained results from the study was that the percentage of boys that historically developed asthma was greater than the number of girls to develop the disease. Nearly 4 out of every one hundred children in the US have one or more food allergies. Of the children that have peanut allergies, about 1 in 5 will eventually outgrow their allergy to peanuts. But most will retain their allergy through adulthood. Because of time limitation, this particular study, however, only followed the children up to age 8.
The diets of the children after birth was studied also. And the children's diet seem to have no relationship as to whether they developed asthma, or not. This reinforces the idea that the development of asthma in the children was primarily due to the ingestion of peanuts by the mother while the child was still in the womb.
It has long been long known that heredity affects the odds of a child developing asthma. One thing left undetermined by this particular study is how much a family history of asthma contributed to the child's asthma and how much is due to the consumption of peanuts. The study is so interesting because of the constant battle in science about how much heredity affects the odds of developing specific diseases in the future and how much is dependent on nurture.
Although, the study has yet to be repeated by another research group, some cautious doctors are asking that their women patients be careful about eating peanuts during their pregnancy. In the meantime, the Dutch researchers have expanded their study to focus how to prevent the development of asthma in children. But even though this study was limited in its scope, medical professionals are excited by it because it helps to guide them in the nutritional advice they can give to expectant mothers in helping them to give birth to healthier children.