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Allergy in Pregnancy

December 3, 2020

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Pregnancy is a wonderful phase marked by intense changes in a woman. Different hormones play significant roles in pregnancy, which impacts immune system and the overall metabolism to a large extent. Allergic reactions may happen, increase or decrease or not happen at all during pregnancy, which is thought to be because of changing hormone concentrations. Developing an allergy is very common during pregnancy; it may be genetically predisposed or may develop due to exposure to potential allergens.

Food allergy is also counted as one form of allergy. Food allergy is nevertheless different from food sensitivity. Apart from food, even sensitivity to drugs or experiencing skin irritations, rashes, itching as a part of skin changes, may also be considered common during pregnancy.  The effects on the skin may be considered normal and not related to disease.

Hypersensitivity is when there is an adverse reaction to food, the incidence of which is traced to hormones in this phase of pregnancy, whereas Allergy is lack of immune response to food, which is otherwise nontoxic and harmless.

Symptoms that may be observed when you are prone to any allergy;

  • Breathing difficulty, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes
  • Skin: swelling, itching, warmth, redness, rash
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dizziness, headache, sudden weakness

Above symptoms should never be ignored, and it is suggested to visit physician if one or more of the symptoms are being experienced, on a priority basis.

Allergic reactions can be detected either by medical history or by skin testing to spot the allergens. Minimal exposure to allergens and consuming anti-allergic drug if suffering from an allergic reaction may be reasonable treatment options.

If there is any food allergy then one should exclude the allergen (there are tests done to detect food allergy) from the meal without compromising the nutritional value of the routine meals.

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Common allergens:

  • Peanuts, nuts, sesame, eggs and fish, milk & milk products, citrus fruits, wheat: avoided if one observes allergy.
  • In depth check of food labels is a must to identify allergens.

For building strong immunity in newborns:

  • Exclusive Breast feeding  for 6 months
  • Formula milk to be incorporated only if prescribed by Paediatricians
  • Intelligent, healthy, nutritious, innovative weaning practices supported by breastfeeding till the baby is a year old
  • Immunizations schedule should be adhered too strictly
  • Observation as the main cue for detecting any allergy/ allergic reaction

Unless you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that interrupts the airflow during pregnancy, your baby probably won’t be affected at all.

While strengthening your knowledge on these aspects, it is important that, it should not, in any way interfere with your “special feeling and happiness” through pregnancy.

Contributed by-

Ms. Ekta Shukla Bhatt

(Nutritionist, Cloudnine Hospitals, Pune)

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