If you do not have a history of nut allergies, peanuts and peanut butter can be safe and even beneficial to you and your baby while you are pregnant. Peanuts are a useful source of folate and protein, both of which are extremely important during pregnancy. As a cholesterol-free food, peanuts are a good choice in general.
If you have nut allergies you should obviously avoid eating nut products at all times, not just while pregnant or breastfeeding. Also if you have a strong family history of other major allergies such as asthma, atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis, you should check with a physician trained in food allergies. This physician may be able to help you know whether there is a reason to believe your baby may be adversely affected by peanuts or peanut products.
Typically it is only peanuts that should be avoided by some women — other nuts, such as Brazil, hazelnuts, walnuts or cashew nuts may be perfectly safe.
If you decide to avoid peanuts while pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to avoid not only peanuts themselves (which are also sometimes called monkey nuts or groundnuts), but also products which may contain them. These include:
– peanut butter
– cereals, cakes, muesli, biscuits, some salad dressings, ice cream, and breads — always read the packaging label carefully for information on the ingredients
– dishes in restaurants — either ask if peanuts have been included or choose a simple meal which contains no ‘hidden’ ingredients