One of my sons developed wheezing when he was a couple months old. Wheezing is that high-pitched whistling sound that his nose made when he had a cold. His twin brother did not.
He was started on inhaled medications which he had to use during attacks. I used to dread the coming of the cold months when kids would surely catch the colds. Because I knew that for him, it would not be just ordinary sniffles. Several times he was also diagnosed with acute respiratory tract infection that was luckily caught early before it developed into full-blown pneumonia. When he was 2, his wheezing progressed into asthma.
But as he grew older, his condition improved. He hadn’t had a wheezing/asthma attack in over 3 years until a couple of weeks back (see other post on this).
The causes of wheezing that eventually lead to asthma are many and complex. Allergies, family history, and maternal diet during pregnancy are just some of the few factors that have been linked to wheezing. Some studies (source: Reuters), for example, have reported that children of pregnant women “who eat more fish, apples, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and E seem to have relatively lower risks of the breathing problems.” However, the findings were not conclusive as it wasn’t clear what exactly are the benefits of these foods. Some experts suggest that it is not specific food stuffs that do the job but the mom’s overall dietary pattern.
Researchers decided to delve further and conducted a survey of 1,376 mother-child pairs. The moms were asked to complete a questionnaire during their first and second trimesters concerning their diet during pregnancy. The babies were monitored for wheezing rates till age 3. Diets of the moms could be broadly classified as
- “Mediterranean”-style diet — typically high in fish, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and whole grains
- · A “prudent” diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry and eggs.
- · The “Western” pattern — included relatively high amounts of red and processed meats, high-fat dairy, sweets and refined grains like white bread.
Eighteen percent of the children developed recurrent wheezing within the first 3 years of life. However, the incidence of asthma was not linked to any specific diet pattern.
So does this mean we can eat anyway we want during pregnancy? Wrong! A healthy pregnancy diet is highly important even if it is not linked to asthma.
A study, for example, has linked high intake of diet soda to premature delivery. Another study showed that children who were born during food shortage period have a higher risk for abnormal blood sugar levels and eventually diabetes.