Dealing with Food Allergies
No one knows for sure if food allergies worsen during pregnancy. Some doctors believe that allergy symptoms lessen overall during pregnancy because a woman's immune system is suppressed so that her body doesn't reject her unborn baby. There have been no specific studies to suggest whether this is valid or not. Most food allergy sufferers learn how to manage their symptoms on their own so they don't report problems—good, bad, or otherwise—to their obstetrician. Broadhead says that she noticed her food allergy symptoms increase during pregnancy. Moreover, she had adverse reactions to eggs while she was nursing. "I didn't say anything to my doctor, though," admits Broadhead. "He'd probably think I was crazy."
So, how should you treat food allergies while you're expecting? Strict avoidance. If you know that you are allergic to certain foods, make sure to avoid them. Dr. Fenster advises constant vigilance during pregnancy to avoid problems. "Be wary of restaurants and ask about ingredients," she adds. Read food labels carefully. Dr. Fenster admits that you may have cravings—especially for that forbidden food. Make meals ahead of time and freeze them so that when the cravings hit you have something to eat that will satisfy your hunger and won't cause an allergic reaction.
If you have any concerns about foods that may be giving you problems—severe or slight—talk to your obstetrician or midwife. You may wish to have them recommend a nutritionist to help you evaluate your diet. It's never a bad idea to review your diet, especially during your pregnancy to ensure that both you and your baby are getting all of the nutrients you both need to stay healthy.