You might be hoping your baby inherits your eye color or hair type, but what about your allergies? If you have eczema, “hayfever”, or asthma, there are ways you might reduce the chances of your baby suffering too.
Atopic disease includes common conditions such as eczema, asthma, food allergies, and other allergies that have symptoms including a “runny” nose. If you have atopic disease, your baby is more likely to have allergies compared with a baby born to a mom who doesn’t have atopic disease.
But the good news is that passing on your allergies might not be inevitable. Scientists have discovered that your baby may benefit if you take specific probiotic supplements during pregnancy and provide them to your baby through breastfeeding. Research suggests that some probiotics may be effective in reducing the risks of your baby developing atopic dermatitis, or eczema—the most common allergic condition during infancy. The probiotics used in these studies are safe for you and your baby. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider for more information about the type and amount of probiotic that could benefit your baby.
Breastfeeding can also help reduce your little one’s risk of developing some types of allergies. This is because breast milk contains a combination of factors that helps your baby’s immune system become more mature. Health experts highly recommend mothers to breast feed their children for the first crucial years.
Cuello-Garcia CA, Brozek JL, Fiocchi A et al. Probiotics for the prevention of allergy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015; 136(4):952-61.
Dotterud CK, Storrø O, Johnsen R et al. Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. Br J Dermatol 2010; 163:616–23.
Fleischer DM, Spergel JM, Assa’ad AH et al. Primary prevention of allergic disease through nutritional interventions. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2013; 1:29-36.
Kalliomaki M, Collado M, Salminen S et al. Early differences in fecal microbiota composition in children may predict overweight. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87:534-8.
Kim JY, Kwon JH, Ahn SH et al. Effect of probiotic mix (Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus) in the primary prevention of eczema: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: e386–93.
Rautava S, Luoto R, Salminen S et al. Microbial contact during pregnancy, intestinal colonization and human disease. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2012; 9:565-76.
Rautava S, Kalliomaki M, Isolauri E. Probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding might confer immunomodulatory protection against atopic disease in the infant. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002; 109:119-21.