Varied diet during pregnancy linked to reduced risk of food allergy

If the pregnant woman has eaten a diet with a high variety, the risk of the child developing a food allergy is lower during the first 18 months of life. This is shown by a study from the research project NorthPop at Umeå University and Region Västerbotten.

The parents have answered questionnaires about dietary habits during pregnancy and symptoms of allergies and asthma in the child. Based on the current general dietary recommendations for pregnant women as well as current knowledge about the connection between dietary diversity and prevention of allergies, we created a dietary diversity index, says Stina Bodén, at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Umeå University and first author of the study. We then investigated whether there was any connection between the pregnant women’s diet and the risk of various allergic outcomes in the children. We found that children whose mothers ate a more diversified diet during pregnancy had a reduced risk of developing food allergy, adjusted for other factors that may influence the association.

The study included 3200 families within the NorthPop cohort and the children were followed until 1 1/2 years of age.

This is an important result that suggests that an optimized diet during pregnancy can reduce the risk of food allergy, says Professor Christina West, head of asthma and allergy research at NorthPop.

The study on the diet during pregnancy and the risk of the child developing allergic diseases is published in the scientific journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

About the publication: Bodén, S., Lindam, A., Domellöf, M., Venter, C. and West, C.E. (2023). Diet diversity in pregnancy and early allergic manifestations in the offspring. Clin Exp Allergy.