More than eight in 10 pregnant women with allergies worry about passing them on to their child. A study of 500 women who are currently pregnant, or who gave birth within the last five years, found 25 percent avoided eating nuts while pregnant in case they gave their unborn child an allergy.
Gluten (20 percent) and pollen (16 percent) are also among the list of potential allergens avoided by mums-to-be.
While 57 percent were worried about passing on an existing sensitivity of their own.
Of those who have already had their baby, 41 percent suffered from hay fever, yet 29 percent took medication for it during their pregnancy because they didn’t realise they were allowed or felt there was a lack of advice.
Following the findings, Dr. Shireen Emadossadaty, a GP and family health expert, is working with Fusion Allergy Nasal Spray, which commissioned the research, to debunk myths around allergies in pregnancy as part of Allergy Awareness week (24th-30th April).
She said: “It’s understandable that lots of mums-to-be have concerns around allergies and worry about passing on their own sensitivities to their child.
“We might think that by avoiding certain foods or environmental triggers like pollen will reduce the chances of this happening.
“However, there is some research to show that having exposure to common allergens like pollen, nuts and eggs during your pregnancy can actually be beneficial.”
Hay fever came out on top as the allergy expecting mums worry about passing onto their children.
And 36 percent of those currently worry about passing on an intolerance to eggs, while 28 percent fret about nuts.
However, while 22 percent of pregnant women feel there is not enough information about allergens and unborn babies, this rises to 40 percent of those who have given birth in the past.
It also emerged 42 percent are most likely to turn to midwives for advice around allergies in pregnancy, followed by doctors (37 percent).
But 27 percent took to Google to find answers, while one in five would ask friends or relatives who had been pregnant before.
The research also found 27 percent of those polled said their hay fever got worse while they were carrying their child, with 28 percent admitting it meant they did not enjoy their pregnancy.
When pregnant, 28 percent said their hay fever symptoms made them feel low at times, 23 percent spent less time outdoors and 18 percent were less active.
Of those already with children, one in five had a child with hay fever, with 42 percent stating they have sought medical advice about what medication to give them.
Parents also worried hay fever would affect their school (39 percent), mood (38 percent) and being able to play with other children (28 percent).
And 28 percent would feel more comfortable taking medication for their own hay fever if it was drug-free or natural.
Dr. Shireen Emadossadaty, for Fusion Allergy Nasal Spray, added: “As with so many issues around pregnancy, there’s a lot of half-truths and myths around allergies.
“Hay fever is certainly something many are worried about, as anyone who suffers will tell you – it’s no picnic.
“But we want to reassure pregnant people – and their loved ones – that just because you’re pregnant, you don’t have to suffer through it.”
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