Prenatal Diet and the Development of Childhood Allergic Diseases: Food for Thought

  • Michele N. Pham
  • Supinda BunyavanichEmail author
Food Allergy (T Green, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Food Allergy


Purpose of Review

The development of allergic disease is shaped by genetics and the environment, including diet. Many studies suggest a role for maternal diet during pregnancy. In this article, we discuss potential mechanisms by which specific nutrients, particular foods, and dietary patterns may influence allergic disease development and review studies examining the relationship between prenatal diet and the risk of childhood allergy.

Recent Findings

The combination of in utero exposures and genetic predisposition may contribute to the development of allergic disease by altering immune and organ development. Inflammation predominates in the first and third trimesters whereas the second trimester is characterized by anti-inflammatory and Th2 immune responses. Maternal dietary exposures during pregnancy may interact with inherited genetic risk factors influence immune system development.


There are varied results regarding the impact of maternal prenatal diet on the development of childhood allergies. Well-designed randomized controlled studies are needed to clarify this area.


Maternal diet Prenatal Childhood allergy Atopic disease Vitamins Nutrients 



C-reactive protein


Dendritic cells


Food frequency questionnaire


Immunoglobulin E




International units


Major histocompatibility complex




Randomized controlled trial


Skin prick test


T helper 1


T helper 2


T regulatory


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and ImmunologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Genetics & Genomic SciencesIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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