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If you’ve noticed a change in your allergic symptoms or reactions since you’ve been pregnant, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for expectant mums to experience either an increase or reduction in symptoms. This is thought to be due to changing hormone levels. If your symptoms increase, you should speak to your GP. Otherwise, remember to let your midwife know about your allergies at your first meeting, known as the ‘booking appointment’, so they can be added to your pregnancy notes.
Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or are already, it’s a good idea to review your allergy medication with your GP. This gives them the chance to decide what you can continue with and what may need to be changed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you’re taking prescription medication for your allergy, it’s important that you continue to do so until you’ve spoken to your GP. Suddenly stopping medication that you use regularly, like an inhaler for asthma, can cause symptoms to escalate, which can be dangerous. Likewise, if you have a food allergy or intolerance, eliminating certain foods from your diet can stop you from getting all the nutrients you both need. If you’re concerned that you may not be getting the right nutrition, you can ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian.
If your usual medication isn’t safe during pregnancy, there are plenty of other remedies and treatments available for allergy sufferers that are safe. Over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines, provide relief for many expectant mums. Just remember to check with the pharmacist first.
"Whether you're planning to get pregnant or are already, it's a good idea to review your allergy medication with your GP."
Every mum wants the best for her baby, but it shouldn’t be at your expense – your general health is as important as theirs. These tips can help you avoid any potential risks to either of you:
Current research suggests that certain foods may have allergy prevention properties2. However, eating vast quantities of these foods will not protect your baby from food allergies, so always eat a healthy balance.
It’s thought that some fish oils may have a preventative effect, but you should limit your intake to two portions a week. If you decide to take a fish oil supplement, avoid any containing vitamin A, such as cod liver oil, as it can harm your developing baby.
There is some evidence to suggest fruit and vegetable intake may help to protect against the development of breathing problems and allergy2.
Vitamins C, D, E and folate have been suggested to have a role in allergy prevention however further evidence is required2.
As an allergy sufferer, there’s a strong likelihood that your baby will have allergic tendencies too1. However, they may have different allergies to yours, and cows’ milk allergy (CMA) could be one of them. CMA is an allergy to the protein in cows’ milk, and while it only affects 2–7.5% of babies3,4, it’s worth knowing the symptoms as it can affect both breastfed and bottlefed babies.
The symptoms of CMA can be difficult to recognize because they may occur immediately after consuming cows’ milk or much later on. Common signs to look out for include:
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