Maternal dietary intake in pregnancy and lactation and allergic disease outcomes in offspring

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2017 Mar;28(2):135-143. doi: 10.1111/pai.12682.


As the prevalence of allergic disease dramatically rises worldwide, prevention strategies are increasingly being considered. Given the potential modulatory effect of nutritional factors on disease, altering maternal diet during pregnancy and/or lactation has been considered in preventing allergic disease in offspring. Although there are a number of observational studies that have examined possible associations between maternal diet and allergic outcomes in offspring, interventional trials are limited. Furthermore, there is a paucity of studies that have prospectively studied maternal dietary intake as well as measuring maternal and infant biologic samples (blood, urine, breast milk) and their relation to allergic outcomes in infants. There is also a particular need to define terminology such as 'fruit and vegetables intake', 'healthy diet', and 'diet diversity' in order to make studies comparable. In this review, we discuss current evidence of maternal dietary factors during pregnancy and/or lactation that may play a role in the offspring developing allergic disease, including factors such as overall dietary intake patterns, specific whole food consumption (fish, fruit and vegetables, and common allergic foods), and individual immunomodulatory nutrient intakes. Additionally, we discuss the limitations of previous studies and propose improvements to study design for future investigation.

Keywords: allergic disease; allergy prevention; lactation; maternal diet; nutrition; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Dietary Proteins / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Infant
  • Lactation / immunology*
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*


  • Allergens
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Immunologic Factors