Maternal diet during pregnancy in relation to eczema and allergic sensitization in the offspring at 2 y of age

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;85(2):530-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.2.530.


Background: Maternal diet during pregnancy might be one of the factors that influences fetal immune responses associated with childhood allergy.

Objective: We analyzed the association between maternal diet during the last 4 wk of pregnancy and allergic sensitization and eczema in the offspring at 2 y of age.

Design: Data from 2641 children at 2 y of age were analyzed within a German prospective birth cohort study (LISA). Maternal diet during the last 4 wk of pregnancy was assessed with a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire, which was administered shortly after childbirth.

Results: High maternal intake of margarine [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1. 49; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.04] and vegetable oils (aOR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.91) during the last 4 wk of pregnancy was positively associated and high maternal fish intake (aOR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.98) was inversely associated with eczema during the first 2 y in the offspring. High celery (aOR: 1.85; 95% CI: 1.18, 2.89) and citrus fruit (aOR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.18, 2.53) intakes increased the risk of sensitization against food allergens. In turn, sensitization against inhalant allergens was positively related to a high maternal intake of deep-frying vegetable fat (aOR: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.54), raw sweet pepper (aOR: 2.16; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.90), and citrus fruit (aOR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.92).

Conclusions: We suggest that the intake of allergenic foods and foods rich in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy may increase and foods rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may decrease the risk of allergic diseases in the offspring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Eczema* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity* / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / epidemiology