Pregnancy and Food Allergies

 Outside of her living and growing baby, there is probably very little a pregnant woman thinks about more than food. And I’m not just talking cravings. I’m talking about “this is what you should eat” and “this is what you shouldn’t eat” and “this is what will effect your in-utero progeny in really terrifying ways, so if you happen to consume said item, be prepared to worry like a crazylady.” 

Let me be transparent: I’ve thought about food--what is good for me versus what is bad for me--my entire life. I have food allergies. From the time I was two, my incredibly patient and careful parents steered me away from corn, wheat, eggs, and--get this--all cow-based dairy. I wasn’t much older than six before I knew many of the different words that meant “milk,” and younger still when I learned to say no to cheese, ice cream, and chocolate. So, I’m used to thinking about ingredients. Used to taking vitamins. And also used to knowing that sometimes, regardless of the consequences (eczema, for me), you just have to have that bowl of cookies and cream.

All of this has led me here, to thinking about nutrition for both myself and my unborn child. I have so many questions. Will the baby automatically have food allergies too? Should I be avoiding certain foods in order to decrease this chance? Should I be stocking up on other supplements to fortify his or her immune and digestive systems? And what should I do about dairy? Some yogurt? No yogurt? Greek yogurt? Frozen yogurt? 

True, my allergies--which have gradually abated as I’ve aged--have not ruined my gastronomic life. I’ve enjoyed many fine foods, meals made even more savory by their carefully selected ingredients. They’ve probably even helped me in some ways; I genuinely like the taste of most vegetables and fruits, and being forced to develop will power early on has shaped not only my eating habits but also aspects of my personality. But I have many memories of birthday parties where I couldn’t eat the Domino’s pizza, couldn’t taste the DQ ice cream cake, had to give just about all of my piñata candy away, so if possible, I’d like my child to avoid such dietary restrictions. 

It’s likely that, with my sweet babe already so intricate and unique inside of me, these kinds of sensitivities came pre-coded on his or her DNA. But if there’s anything I can do, I want to do it. If there’s anything I can learn, I want to learn it. Have any of you dealt with similar issues? Peanut allergies? Gluten allergies? How did or didn’t your pre-pregnancy allergies affect your child? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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