There are many skin conditions that can occur in pregnancy, including prenatal eczema. If you have this condition, you may experience red, rough bumps that are itchy and can flare up in any place on the body. It’s estimated that 20-40% of pregnant women will experience prenatal eczema flare up.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s believed to be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors, including immune function. Though uncomfortable, there are a variety of ways to treat eczema, including topical steroids and lifestyle changes, such as to your diet.
Research has found that certain foods can exacerbate eczema, including dairy, gluten, nuts, and soy products. And though no food is a cure for this skin condition, incorporating certain foods into your diet can help manage eczema symptoms.
Below, we look at the best foods to incorporate into your diet if you’re experiencing eczema in pregnancy.
10 Fatty Fish
In general, eating foods that fight inflammation is a good starting point in treating eczema. Anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants, polyphenols, and other immune-boosting ingredients, all of which help to fight inflammation in the body, which is believed to contribute to eczema.
Certain fish such as salmon and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Healthline recommends getting at least 250 mg of omedga-3 fatty acids per day.
There’s a wide variety of fruits known for anti-inflammatory benefits, including apples. They specifically contain quercetin, a plant-based flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a good choice for folks with eczema.
Apples are a nutritious snack in pregnancy for other reasons, too. They’re a strong source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and pectin, which are essential for strengthening gut health.
Another food that’s high in quercetin is blueberries. In fact, blueberries are well-known for their benefits to the skin. They can fight premature aging, boost collagen, improve blood circulation, and support wound healing. In pregnancy, blueberries can also help manage the risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia since they’re a strong source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Cherries are also known for containing high levels of quercetin. Chukar explains that cherries also contain a pigment known as Anthocyanin, which is particularly good at alleviating inflammation and joint pain. The other prenatal benefits of cherries include improving constipation, migraines, and insomnia and being a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
It’s not only fruits that can be rich in quercetin and anti-inflammatory properties. Many vegetables have the same qualities, too. For instance, broccoli is a good food source to reduce inflammation. Broccoli is also a rich source of folate, which is crucial for the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Additionally, spinach is another simple vegetable you can work into your diet to increase quercetin intake and fight prenatal eczema. The other health benefits of spinach include that it can prevent cancer, promotes eye health, and helps control blood pressure.
Foods that contain probiotics are also good for supporting a healthy immune system as well as reducing skin flare-ups and allergic reactions. Look for foods that are rich in probiotics to help alleviate prenatal eczema symptoms, like yogurt.
Aside from helping fight eczema symptoms, yogurt is also great in pregnancy since it’s rich in a variety of nutrients, high in protein, can help control weight, and improves overall heart health.
3 Sourdough Bread
Certain breads are better than others for helping reduce eczema symptoms. Sourdough bread is loaded with probiotics, so you should switch out your regular bread for a sourdough loaf while expecting.
Some other health benefits of eating sourdough bread in comparison to other varieties include that it promotes better gut health, can improve digestion, and can moderate blood sugar levels.
2 Soft Cheeses
Not all cheese is safe in pregnancy. Soft, unpasteurized cheeses (like brie, camembert, goat, and feta) are at a higher risk of containing Listeria, a bacterium that causes a flu-like infection. Listeria can be detrimental to fetal health in pregnancy, especially since not all medications are safe to use while expecting.
However, there are still a handful of soft cheeses that are okay to eat in pregnancy and should be incorporated into your diet because they’re rich in probiotics. Look for varieties such as gouda, cottage cheese, or anything made with pasteurized milk.
Finally, for another food rich in probiotics, give kefir a try. This is a fermented milk drink that’s high in nutrients and probiotics. It’s known to support digestion and gut health. Aside from helping alleviate skin conditions like eczema, the other health benefits of kefir include its antibacterial properties, it can help fight cancer, and it can improve allergy and asthma symptoms.
Please speak to your doctor for more information on treating prenatal eczema.
Sources: Healthline, Healthline, Healthline, Healthline, Medical News Today, All About Women, Parenting First Cry, Chukar, Kid’s Health, Eating Well, Mom Junction,
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