• Dr Parul Chopra Buttan

How To Manage Food And Other Allergies During Pregnancy?

Dr. Parul Chopra Buttan, Senior consultant, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist & Laparoscopic surgeon, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurugram.



Pregnancy is a very delicate and sensitive stage for any woman. It is the time when she needs the utmost care and affection. A woman goes through a lot of things during pregnancy and has many restrictions due to its effect on the baby. A mother-to-be has the responsibility of a baby which is even more sensitive; therefore keeping the knowledge of all the important points and eating habits during pregnancy is very crucial. Hence it is important to know and be aware of the food allergies which can happen at any stage and how to manage those allergies.


How Does Food Allergy Affect Your Pregnancy?


Allergies are quite common during pregnancy. It can affect you but that does not mean it can adversely affect your pregnancy too. Infact in most of the cases the baby will be unaware and unaffected by your allergy. Allergy can be due to some medication, food habits or due to some changes in the woman’s body. Only about one third of the allergies turn into something severe otherwise most of the allergies show some symptoms and then go away with time and care. Food allergies are also unlikely to become severe in most of the cases. Try to consult your doctor if you have any problem or symptoms which are unusual in your body.


Allergies and Nasal Congestion In Pregnancy


In earlier phase the congestion is about stuffy nose. Nasal congestion usually starts in the second trimester in most cases. This is due to the high levels of estrogens and progesterone present in the body. All of these actually flow throughout your body including nose resulting in mucus membranes to swell and get softer. It can give you a feeling of allergy or cold which may further lead to nosebleeds during pregnancy.


If you have allergy then you are more likely to experience the above symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, etc with stuffy nose and coughs. However if there is not much of itchiness or sneezes then it could be more of cough or congestion generally related to hormone related congestion of pregnancy.


Can You Get Shots for Allergy When You Are Pregnant?


In general allergy doses are safe for women who are undergoing pregnancy, but mostly in cases where the person has been receiving it in the end before conceiving. Mothers-to-be may have issues with doses of allergy medication if they start it in the middle of their pregnancy term. This happens because at that stage the body is already going through several changes and fluctuating reaction hence another shot may cause unusual reaction.


How To Avoid Food Allergy During Pregnancy?


Nutrition is of paramount importance in the health and well being of the mother-to-be and her growing baby within. The mother must consume a healthy, wholesome balanced diet based on her culture, region and taste. The diet must include a variety of cereals, pulses, seasonal fresh fruits, seasonal vegetables, salads and greens, dairy products and enough water. Consuming freshly prepared, small, home-cooked meals is best in pregnancy.



What To Avoid For Healthy Pregnancy?


A few fruits such as raw papaya, pineapple, jamun, and jackfruit should be avoided during pregnancy especially the early months. They contain some enzymes like papain and ergot alkaloids that have potential to cause uterine contractions.

  1. Monosodium glutamate or ajinomoto, a salt commonly used in Chinese foods should be avoided as it can harm the developing bones.

  2. Avoid excess tea, coffee, chocolate to limit caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day. This equals 1-2 cups of coffee or 2 cups of tea.

  3. Avoid smoking, alcohol and all recreational drugs completely.

  4. If you have any food allergies such as gluten allergy, avoid the offending foods and incorporate other substitutes in your diet.

  5. If you are lactose intolerant and feel uneasy after consuming dairy products, they should be substituted in diet. e.g., the protein intake can be compensated from pulses, eggs meat etc and the calcium taken as a supplement.

  6. If any food item makes you feel bloated or uneasy, or if you develop an aversion to some foods, you must respect your body and avoid the offending food.

  7. Junk food contains an excess of salt, sugar or white flour and should be avoided by pregnant women. Heavy, spicy foods will impair digestion and compromise nutritional intake.

Conclusion


Pregnancy is a complicated stage where the body of woman undergoes several changes and reaction at a particular time. This makes that person vulnerable to many allergies and reaction in the body. Hence knowing what allergies and food can could affect in what way on your body becomes very important. There are certain allergies which are common during pregnancy due to the reaction in body whereas others may look like allergies but may be some general hormone congestion issues. Taking allergy shots may be tricky during pregnancy, only if you are taking that shot from before conceiving then it is fine. But in other cases there are chances that your body may react to allergy shots in unusual way. Hence taking some precautions and knowing which food to take is the best way through and consult your doctor whenever you feel uncomfortable or unsure.

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