Pregnancy and the maternal diet - BSACI

Pregnancy and the maternal diet

Avoidance of particular foods or allergens in the maternal diet during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, has not been shown to prevent food allergies in infants. Unless there is the presence of maternal food allergy or dietary restrictions (e.g. veganism), all food allergens including dairy, eggs, wheat, peanut and tree nuts should be included in the diet throughout pregnancy.  Additional research is required to investigate possible relationships between allergy prevention in infants and maternal diet during pregnancy and when breastfeeding

EAACI guideline: Preventing the development of food allergy in infants and young children, 2020 update

Pregnant women should eat a varied, healthy balanced diet and ensure good food hygiene practices to optimise the health of their unborn baby. Additional advice on healthy eating during pregnancy can be found on the NHS website.

During pregnancy it is advised that certain foods are avoided or require caution, due to their possible risk associated to food-borne illness and toxicity. These include;

  • Unpasteurised dairy products
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Raw or undercooked egg
  • Shellfish
  • Oily fish – limit oily fish to two portions per week
  • Foods high in vitamin A
  • Caffeine and caffeinated drinks – Pregnant women should reduce their intake of caffeine (200mg/day or less)
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British Dietetic Association (BDA) – Pregnancy and diet: Food Fact Sheet

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NICE Guidance - Maternal and child nutrition 2014


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