For parents-to-be who have a family history of eczema, you would do anything not to wish this condition onto your unborn child. Pregnant women can help prevent infant eczema with some changes to their diet during pregnancy.
If you have it yourself, you know the pain, irritation and physical stress of it, as well as the self-confidence challenges that you face, and you don’t want this for your child.
If you are a parent of a baby already with eczema, the last thing you need is another one (that’s not true at all, every baby is loved and greatly cherished, but if you could get one without eczema that would be great…)
But did you know that you can also eat to prevent your baby’s chances of getting eczema? Research is starting to show that this might be the case. And when you consider the alternative, adjusting your pregnancy diet to help prevent eczema in your infant seems like a small concession to make.
Why don’t you want your baby getting eczema?
I know that pregnant women have more than enough things to worry about. But research now indicates that up to 20% of infants suffer from it, so baby eczema is more predominant than any other affliction they could have.
This number is growing quickly and seems to have doubled over the last half-century. The true cause of the increase is unclear and experts speculate that the condition’s increase could be greatly affected by factors such as lifestyle, nutrition, and hygiene.
And while of course, it isn’t life-threatening, as we already know, it can be gut-wrenching to watch your little ones go through, as well as being exhausting to deal with from a parent’s perspective.
Cheeky little eczema rashes are hot, extremely itchy and uncomfortable. They can become painful, weeping, oozing, bleeding or even infected. For older children and adult sufferers, the visible nature of eczema can cause personal distress and lower self-confidence.
Families dealing with this condition can incredible experience stress trying to figure out what triggers it and easy ways to treat it.
As we discussed above, the exact causes of eczema are largely unknown. It is not known why someone will get it, or how to prevent it or cure it. One theory is that the condition is considered to be caused by an immune system dysfunction that can start when your baby is growing in your womb, that affects your baby’s skin barrier and its ability to hold in moisture.
Research is still new about whether you can adjust your diet while pregnant and either cause or reduce eczema in your baby, but certain things may help.
There is quite a lot of growing information that taking a probiotic supplement or boosting the foods you eat that contain live culture while you are pregnant may lower your infant’s chances of developing eczema.
The results of a recently published study found probiotics reduced the risk of infant eczema by a significant amount.
In this study, pregnant mothers who took probiotics during their third trimester reduced their baby’s risk of eczema by 29%.
In addition to this, breastfeeding mothers that took probiotics reduced their baby’s risk of eczema by 40%. When infants are given probiotics directly, their risk of developing the skin condition was reduced by 20%.
Experts are surmising that having poor gut health may affect your baby’s developing the immune system, and how your baby’s growing skin develops its ability to self-heal and moisturize. Therefore, in the same way, that probiotics can improve your tummy health, you may be able to eat to improve your baby’s developing tummy, and this is where probiotics may come in.
Probiotics are live cultures or good bacteria and yeast, or live microorganisms that have a range of great health benefits. Most readily found in yogurt and fermented foods, these good bacteria are prepared by bacterial fermentation, and work to combat the bad bacteria in your system.
Probiotics help to restore the proper balance of good bacteria. When we have a good balance of bacteria we reduce the risk of overall inflammation and sensitivities which reduces our risk of eczema. The balance can be thrown out when we eat poorly, drink a lot of alcohol or caffeine, and take prescription antibiotics.
Probiotic tablets for pregnant women
Probiotics are available in many foods, some of which we have listed below. But if you want to take an easy option you can get all the Probiotics you need in one easy to take capsule form which Is easy and safe to use during pregnancy. We found one of the most popular with great reviews on Youtube and Amazon is this one form HYPERBIOTICS
Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms Prenatal Probiotic
6 Targeted Probiotic Strains specifically chosen for the benefit they provide to pregnant and breastfeeding moms, such as supporting nutrient absorption, producing natural (non-synthetic) folate, improving the odds of successful breastfeeding, and promoting a healthy immune system for both mother and child:
Kiwifruit Powder is a whole food, superfruit ingredient, derived entirely from the New Zealand kiwifruit, that helps your probiotics colonize, and naturally supports regularity, a common concern during pregnancy. This nutritious ingredient is naturally comprised of prebiotics, polyphenols, a kiwi-unique enzyme called actinidin, and insoluble fiber.
Only Once per Day. That’s it. Because with time-release delivery, the full benefits are being delivered deep inside your gut hour by hour.
Long Shelf Life & No Refrigeration Necessary. With the patented LiveBac¨ manufacturing process, we offer a guaranteed, extended shelf life with zero refrigeration. Most probiotics don’t provide a date of any kind because their organisms die so quickly after being manufactured.
Natural Probiotic Supplement. At Hyperbiotics, we don’t believe in artificial. Our formulas are vegetarian, non-GMO, and free of lactose, gluten, and yeast. There is also no soy, sugar, iron, nuts, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives.
Yogurt is the primary source of probiotics through food in the Western diet. It’s made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Yogurt boasts a wonderful range of health benefits including boosting the strength of your bones and teeth, lowering blood pressure, and fighting any nasty bugs that are lowering your immune system.
Not all yogurt contains live probiotics, and some are also heavy on the sugar, so read their labels before you buy. Look for yogurt products that contain active or live cultures.
Actually, a higher source of probiotics than yogurt, but not quite as popular in a Western diet is kefir. This is a fermented milk drink, whose name comes from the Turkish word for ‘feeling good’, and which brings with it some wonderful nutritional benefits. It is developed by adding cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast to cow’s or goat’s milk.
A delicious side dish in countries like Germany, sauerkraut often appears next to roast meat, or piled on top of a hot dog or sausage. This is made by finely shredding cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.
Make sure that when you are buying to look for unpasteurized sauerkraut.
When cheese is made the aging process used usually kills off all of the good bacteria, however in some cheese the live and active cultures remain. Cheeses which are high in probiotics include cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, and cottage cheese.
Pickled cucumber or gherkins are another source of probiotics, and also go really well with hot dogs, but look for those that are naturally pickled in just salted water.
Other cuisines also bring us some wonderful sources of probiotics, so this is as good an excuse as any to broaden your culinary horizons a bit. You might like to try:
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, which has a nutty or earthy favor.
A spicy Korean dish made from fermented cabbage (much tastier than it sounds), which can be flavored with garlic, chili, ginger, and salt.
Miso is a Japanese seasoning, which is becoming increasingly popular in contemporary cooking. It is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a fungus called koji.
Nutrient-rich miso can also be made by mixing soybeans with other ingredients, like barley, rice, and rye and is most commonly used in miso soup.
Can you eat to prevent or reduce infant eczema once your baby is born?
If your baby suffers from eczema you may be able to make some dietary changes to reduce the chances of a flare-up.
Your baby may be sensitive to certain proteins, such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk or soy, so if they are formula fed you could try different brands and see if this makes a difference.
If you are breastfeeding certain foods in your diet may make their eczema worse (such as nuts, gluten or eggs). It may help to pay attention to what you have eaten when flare-ups occur and try eliminating a single food group at a time for a few days and see if this has a positive effect. You can also see an allergist and get some clearer advice on this.
Studies show that continuing to take probiotics while you are breastfeeding may also help.
What is the effect of exclusive breastfeeding?
Trying to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months may also lower your baby’s chances of suffering from eczema, but the jury is still very much out on this. Exclusively breastfeeding will not prevent eczema, as my own experience with two eczema babies will attest.
Formula feeding or mixed feeding certainly does not cause eczema. But exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months can lower the number of allergens that your baby is exposed to, so this may help to some extent.
If you need any advice on Breastfeeding try looking at the website for The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers