Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation and development of atopic disorders in childhood.
Methods: We included studies published up to August 2011 that assessed food-based maternal dietary interventions or that examined associations between maternal dietary intake during pregnancy and/or lactation and allergic outcomes (eczema, asthma, hay fever, and sensitization) in their children.
Results: We included 42 studies (>40 000 children): 11 intervention studies (including 7 randomized control trials), 26 prospective cohort studies, 4 retrospective cohort studies, and 1 case-control study. In the randomized control trials, no significant difference was noted overall in the prevalence of eczema and asthma in the offspring of women on diets free from common food allergens during pregnancy. The prospective cohorts investigated a large number of potential associations, but reported few significant associations between maternal dietary intake and development of allergy. Maternal diets rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, and foods containing vitamin D and Mediterranean dietary patterns were among the few consistent associations with lower risk for allergic disease in their children. Foods associated with higher risk included vegetable oils and margarine, nuts, and fast food.
Conclusion: This review did not find widespread or consistent links between mothers' dietary intake and atopic outcomes in their children. However, maternal consumption of Mediterranean dietary patterns, diets rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, and vitamin D-containing foods were suggestive of benefit, requiring further evaluation.
Keywords: Allergy; Atopy; Diet; Lactation; Pregnancy; Sensitization Eczema Asthma.
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