Too Much Sugar During Pregnancy May Increase Your Baby's Allergy Risk

Could your baby's allergy risk be affected by the amount of sugar you consume while pregnant? A recent study suggests this might be the case. 

Eating too much sugar while pregnant could increase a baby's risk of developing asthma. Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock
According to a new study published in the European Respiratory Journal, the amount of sugar you consume during pregnancy may affect more than just your health—it may also increase your baby's chances of being born with allergies or allergic asthma.

The researchers came to this finding by observing data from about 9,000 mother/child pairs. They weighed maternal sugar intake—which they measured by having mothers self-report it in questionnaires—against allergic reactions like eczema, hay fever, wheezing and doctor-diagnosed asthma in the children.

Researchers looked at the children involved in the study when they were aged 7 to 9 years old. They also adjusted these results to address confounding factors (including the child's sugar consumption and maternal history of allergies or asthma) and, ultimately, the researchers found reason to believe there could be a link. 

But before you start feeling guilty about the cupcake you ate last week, know this: The researchers pointed out that there's more work to be done before they confirm this relationship—after all this was an observational study based on one group.

“The first step is to see whether we can replicate these findings in a different cohort of mothers and children. If we can, then we will design a trial to test whether we can prevent childhood allergy and allergic asthma by reducing the consumption of sugar by mothers during pregnancy. In the meantime, we would recommend that pregnant women follow current guidelines and avoid excessive sugar consumption," said researcher Seif Shaheen, according to a release from Queen Mary University of London. "The team speculate that the associations may be explained by a high maternal intake of fructose causing a persistent postnatal allergic immune response leading to allergic inflammation in the developing lung."

With that being said, eating too much sugar isn't doing you, your pregnancy or your babies any favors. So indulge the occasional ice cream craving...but try to keep your sugar consumption to a reasonable amount.