• Harvard researchers have confirmed that Vitamin D supplements in pregnant women significantly reduce the chance for their children of developing asthma. It seems that this benefit is conferred primarily in the first trimester of pregnancy.
· Having pregnant women take cold-water fish oil during pregnancy reduced the risk for asthma in their children by 30%. So showed research at the University of Copenhagen. In general, modern diets tend to run low in the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish. These oils are known to reduce inflammation.
Exciting results are out from an eight-year study by the Harvard Medical School that questioned the outcomes of allergy in children if their mothers either avoided completely – or purposefully consumed – peanut, milk and wheat during pregnancy.
These three foods were chosen because they account for a large proportion of food allergies found in young children, and cause or contribute to asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. The study included 1,277 mother/child pairs.
The results were quite dramatic:
- Ingestion of peanut, especially during the first trimester, reduced the chance of peanut allergy by 47 percent!
- Daily milk intake during pregnancy, again especially in the first trimester, markedly reduced the risk for asthma and allergic rhinitis.
- Daily wheat intake, in both the first and second trimesters, significantly reduced the chance for the child developing eczema.
So, moms-to-be can relax a little. Based on their results, these Harvard researchers concluded that ingestion as indicated above of peanut, milk and wheat during pregnancy has a marked ability to reduce childhood allergies.
- Research at the University of Turkey in Finland demonstrates that if expectant mothers take probiotics during the pregnancy, their infants have a significant reduction in the risk for eczema. And at another Norse medical center, Glostrup University in Copenhagen, scientists have finished a multi-year study looking at individuals on allergy shots and the frequency of autoimmune disease. They discovered a marked reduction in autoimmune disease in those receiving allergy shots.
Anaphylaxis in pregnancy – a condition that poses risks for both the mother and the fetus – now has published guidelines, thanks to work done at the University of California in San Diego and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Guidelines previously did not exist. The authors point out that just as the general incidence of anaphylaxis is increasing, it is also increasing in pregnant women.
During the three trimesters of pregnancy the causes of anaphylaxis are the same as in the general population. In order of decreasing frequency these are: foods, stinging insects, medications, biologic agents (X-ray dyes) and latex. At the time of labor and delivery the causes shift. Again in the order of decreasing frequency they are: antibiotics, latex, neuromuscular blockers (used as part of anesthesia), oxytosin (used to stimulate contractions of the uterus), local anesthetics and transfusion of blood or blood products.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis in pregnancy are the same as in non-pregnant women, with a few caveats, and include itching, rash, swelling, throat constriction, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia and low blood pressure. Symptoms somewhat unique to pregnancy include severe vulvar and vaginal itching, low back pain and premature labor contractions.
Treatment of anaphylaxis in pregnancy is the same as for non-pregnant women with some special considerations. Adrenalin (epinephrine) is still the mainstay of therapy. It is critical to give enough adrenalin to maintain the mother’s systolic blood pressure above 90 (and thereby the fetal blood flow).
IV fluids are used as in all people with anaphylaxis, as is oxygen – except in pregnant patients high levels, even 100 percent oxygen, are recommended. Recumbency is part of treatment of all anaphylaxis, but it is best for the pregnant woman lie on her left side so as to better ensure uterine blood flow.
Finally, if the anaphylaxis is protracted or severe, emergency C-section delivery of the infant is indicated.