Food And Skin Allergies During Pregnancy – All That You Need to know
Pregnancy is a phase during which anything and everything is normal. Some may experience some random food cravings while other women may complain of food allergies.
What are allergies?
When something harmful enters your body, your immune system builds a mechanism to fight these invaders. Occasionally for some women, this reaction tends to increase in intensity causing an overreaction that is called an allergy. The causes could be pollen, pet dander, food etc.
What are food allergies?
Food allergies are caused due to ingestion or application of certain foods which you may be allergic to. If these food allergies occur during pregnancy, it can be a real pain. Given the discomfort due to the growing baby inside uterus, the added food allergies just cause more trouble.
So, what causes Food And Skin Allergies During Pregnancy? When a person’s immune system starts considering an otherwise safe substance like food to be harmful, the body creates antibodies. These antibodies help your body to defend itself from the supposed invader – food item. These antibodies are called immunoglobulin E or IgE which act as scouts and messengers to the body’s immune system. Once created, these antibodies then identify the food culprit and prepare for an attack. While many allergic women wouldn’t show symptoms during the first or second time of their exposure to the food allergen, the full-blown attack comes up only after repetitive allergen exposure which leads to build up of more antibodies.
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What Causes Food And Skin Allergies During Pregnancy?
Can pregnancy cause /trigger food allergy?
While you may not be allergic to any kind of food before pregnancy, your body can suddenly develop a food allergy without any apparent cause. A food allergy can cause adverse reactions in your body based on the quantity of intake of the food allergen.
The most common allergens are milk, eggs, wheat, gluten, peanut, seeds, fish, shellfish etc. On consuming any one of these items, you may develop the symptoms and start suffering from allergic reactions. If you are allergic, and you are avoiding certain foods, kindly add additional vitamin and mineral supplements to provide adequate nutrition to your growing baby and for your body.
A combination of environmental and genetic factors is known to cause food allergies in humans.
What are the symptoms of food allergies?
Symptoms caused due to food allergy include a runny nose, sore and itchy throat, tingling on the tongue, lips or throat etc. Other symptoms may also include severe skin reactions like urticaria, rashes, eczema or abdominal complaints like cramps, diarrhoea or vomiting.
Do you have a food allergy?
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms without any known cause, or if you suspect any intolerance, the first thing to confirm your food allergy is by maintaining a food diary. Keeping a food diary helps you to track the reaction causing foods along with providing the necessary information to your physician to advice treatment.
In your food diary, write down what food you eat through the day and how you felt immediately after consuming that food. Note any changes observed 15 mins to a few hours later as well. There are some foods that cause reactions several hours after having eaten the allergy causing food.
To confirm your allergy causing allergen, your physician will suggest a skin-prick test or a blood test.
What are the tests for food allergies?
A skin test is usually the preferred test of choice to detect food allergies. The skin test includes a list of allergens that are pricked onto your skin to see for the reaction produced thereafter. Due to a theoretical risk of developing a severe allergic reaction, pregnant women are not advised the skin test. Instead the pregnant women are advised a blood test which gives almost same results.
Can your Food And Skin Allergies During Pregnancy affect or hurt your baby?
Food allergies in pregnancy First Trimester
While allergies are your body’s way of reacting to a foreign stimulus, food allergies are very common during pregnancy. However, there is no proven research which shows that allergies in the mother are known to affect the child.
During pregnancy, if a woman develops food allergies and suffers a severe attack, chances are that the anaphylactic shock will cause reduced blood flow to the growing baby. If the reaction isn’t treated immediately, the decreased blood flow will lead to the death of both the woman and the unborn baby.
Can food allergies disappear during pregnancy or after pregnancy?
Post-delivery, while breastfeeding your baby, follow your baby’s body. Your baby is the best judge to tell you whether your food allergy is affecting your little one. If you notice that your breastfed baby reacts to something that you eat or are allergic to, then simply avoid that food item.
While weaning your child and introducing solids, observe for any allergic reaction like itching, rashes, vomiting, pale skin, swelling of eyes, tongue or lips and difficulty in breathing. Introduce a new food every weekly rather than daily, to observe the reactions. Inform your paediatrician if the symptoms appear and follow their advice.
How to deal with your food & skin allergies?
While there are no specific studies which show food allergies worsening during pregnancy, some doctors believe that the allergies reduce during pregnancy due to the woman’s immune system being suppressed so that her body doesn’t reject her own baby.
Strictly avoiding your food related allergens is the key to handling your allergy during pregnancy. Constant vigilance during pregnancy over what you eat is a must! If you have cravings for the forbidden foods, look for other options which may help relieve your cravings. Consult a nutritionist who can help evaluate your diet and suggest a good food plan for you during pregnancy, ensuring that both you and your baby get all the necessary nutrients.
Can allergies worse during pregnancy? What to do?
If your allergies tend to get worse during your pregnancy, consult your physician and gynaecologist, for prescribing some safe medicines for you. Before taking any kind of medication or any other therapy during pregnancy, consult your gynaecologist first. Ask for help, anytime, there is no need to suffer during the best phase of motherhood!