Both sides of our family have a history of allergies. My husband is allergic to all nuts, seeds, mold, pollen and other not-yet identified things. Other members of his immediate family have asthma, hayfever, and skin reactions to sunlight. While I have no obvious allergies, both of my sisters do, (I was the only one of us born in a drug free birth AND breast-fed) and one of my sister’s children is allergic to a bunch of foods and had constant exzema his first few years of life until the offending foods (and there were a lot of them) were removed from his diet. I knew all this family history before I ever became pregnant and figured that my offspring would likely have a genetic susceptibility to allergies. I wondered if there was anything that I could do to reduce the likelihood of them developing allergies. I did quite a bit of research on this topic years ago and found out some interesting things. Unfortunately, at that time I had no thoughts about ever publishing any of the things that I found out, so I made no notes, and collected no references. I was merely trying to gather information to figure out what I might do to help my future children. Also some of what I am about to tell you I didn’t actually read, but rather hypothesized based upon a collection of things that I read. In other words, I could be wrong on some of this. So please just consider what I am about to say my own well-thought out opinions, beliefs and/or hypothesis. However, with the possible exception of the vaccination issue, doing these things is not likely to carry any risk either — so it won’t hurt to try them. However my real intent in sharing all of this with you is simply to give you some ideas to further investigate and come up with your own plan. However know this….my children are now 2 and 6 years old and are allergy free!
Beginning before pregnancy, both parents can work to get their bodies as cleaned out as possible. We made an extra conscious effort starting about 3 months before conception. All substances which might depress immune function were avoided — all drugs and cold medicines, artificial sweeteners, trans fatty acids, all animal derived foods — especially fish which tends to be more chemically contaminated, and dairy products which contain cow hormones in addition to a host of contaminating chemicals. I avoided dental work and x-rays during this time too. It might even be worthwhile to try a diet designed to heal “leaky gut syndrome” (http://www.vegsource.com/klaper/nutrition.htm ) prior to getting pregnant, which might reduce the chance that large protein molecules are passing through the mother’s digestive system into her bloodstream where they could sensitize her baby.
Foods consumed during the first three months of pregnancy might set the stage for the baby to “tolerate” these foods, so I tried to eat a variety of whole foods at that time including various grains, nuts, seeds, tofu, beans and of course tons of fruits and vegetables. Naturally I continued to avoid all of the questionable things listed above. The last three months of pregnancy I read are a time when there may be an increase in the ability of foods to “sensitize” and set the stage for allergies. Therefore I tried not to eat too much of any particular food at this time, or at least to go a few days in between eating the same food again– especially those which tend to be more allergenic like nuts, seeds, soy and many grains.
Think about ways to decrease your baby’s exposure to chemicals during and right after birth as well — this topic is covered extensively in Compassionate Souls — Raising the Next Generation to Change the World.
Then after my baby was born, I did what I consider most important of all –WE NURSED. Beginning AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER BIRTH, PUT YOUR BABY TO THE BREAST! This will release hormones in the mother’s body which facilitate separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, and reduce the risk of hemorrhage. For the first couple of weeks (and especially the first three days) breast milk contains a high percentage of Colostrum. The more colostrum your baby gets the better.