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Should moms-to-be avoid peanuts?

A new study suggests that expecting moms who eat peanuts are more likely to have babies who test positive for peanut allergies than moms who don't eat peanuts.

The reason is that peanut proteins may circulate to the fetus and cause an allergic response, said study researcher Dr. Scott Sicherer, pediatrics professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, to science and health website MyHealthNewsDaily.

The study, published online in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on October 29, evaluated 503 infants who had eczema or tested positive for milk or egg allergies, indicators of a possible peanut allergy. Women were evaluated in regards to their peanut-eating habits while pregnant.

"While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions," said Sicherer, a peanut allergy expert and author of The Complete Peanut Allergy Handbook.

Peanut allergy is serious, usually persistent, and sometimes even fatal, and yet is one of the most common allergies in the world. Prior research on how peanut allergies develop has yielded mixed results. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned that mothers with a family history of allergies should avoid peanuts while pregnant or breast-feeding. In 2008, it revoked the recommendation based on scant scientific evidence.

To access the study: http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749%2810%2901334-5/abstract