My Story of Pregnancy After a Severely Allergic Child

Always consult with a doctor before making diet changes or starting new supplements.

Getting an FPIES diagnosis is typically equal parts relieving and overwhelming. Relief, because you finally have an explanation for why your baby is so sick. Overwhelmed, because there is so much information out there, and yet so much remains unknown. There is so little known about what causes FPIES, if it can be prevented, and if future siblings will be afflicted. After having a severely allergic child, when I got pregnant with my second child, I wanted to do anything in my power to prevent my second from suffering the way my first did. 

This is my experience only, and there is no way to know if any specific one of these, a combination, or none of them at all actually reduced the risk. Even if (and this is a big if) one or more of these strategies is effective at reducing the FPIES risk, no results for any individual child can be guaranteed. For me, having a list of things to at least try was super empowering. It helped ease my worry. The research links included below are regarding IgE allergies, or general atopic risk. They are not specific to FPIES. Nevertheless, doing research and using anecdotal stories was my coping mechanism. It gave me a sense that I had some control in an otherwise murky territory. While I have included a few research links, please do your own research and consult with your pre-natal care team to determine the best course for you and your child’s health. The best news is that my second child is now 9-months-old, and every food we have tried has been safe!

If you want to read suggestions backed by more research and evidence rather than a personal story, check out the last chapter in The FPIES Handbook

This post is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor. This post contains affiliate links.

My Pregnancy Checklist

Diet

  • I paid attention to how foods made my body feel. I avoided what didn’t sit well. I continued this throughout pregnancy, as it changed at different points. I have no research study for this one, just practicing self-awareness on the effects of food.
  • I ate a varied diet to expose my baby to all types of foods and to avoided eating an excess of any one ingredient. Research shows that exposure in utero can reduce the risk of IgE allergies.
  • I focused on eating whole foods and limiting pre-packaged or processed foods. This is simply standard advice for healthy eating. Also some types of preservatives are linked to increased allergy risk.
  • I ate organic to the best of my ability. 
  • Raw milk  was part of my diet for most of pregnancy, along with a good amount of fermented foods (Harvard Medical School).
  • Avoiding synthetic folic acid in enriched food products was one of the things I checked ingredient labels for. Research shows a link between exposure to folic acid in utero and increased risk of food allergies (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology).
  • To limit sources of antibiotics in foods; I avoided non-organic meat, dairy, wheat, corn, soy, blueberries, beets, and more. It is not possible to avoid antibiotics completely unless you make everything from scratch, so I just did what was possible with a moderate level of effort.
  • I cut dairy and soy at 36 weeks. These two foods are the most common allergens via breastmilk and can take up to four weeks to leave your system.

My Supplements

  • There is an extensive list of probiotics I took below.
  • No synthetic folic acid. I took Methyltetrahydrofolate or Calcium Folinate instead.
  • After 20 weeks pregnant, I took 3,000mg per day of Omega 3s. Sometimes my stomach couldn’t tolerate so much, so I took as much as I could. High doses of Omega 3s in late pregnancy and while breastfeeding may reduce allergy risk for the infant.
  • For any allergic reactions, I took a mast cell stabilizer. Vitamin D is also a good option for this, and is also a very important nutrient during pregnancy.
  • For constipation, I used Magnesium and prunes
  • Digestive Enzymes beginning at 38 weeks and stopping a month after birth to support breastfeeding (protocol).

Additional Protective Measures

  • To avoid hand soap in doctor’s offices and public restrooms, I carried liquid Castile soap in my purse and diaper bag. They often have Triclosan, an antibiotic.
  • I declined vaccines during pregnancy, and quarantined myself from sick family members, along with frequent hand washing. My goal was to avoid maternal immune activation, a risk factor in allergies.

Probiotics

Labor, Delivery, & the Newborn Stage

(These are just notes from my birth plan, for help making your own birth plan, see The Gentle Nursery)

  • Delay cord clamping until cord is white and stops pulsating.
  • Leave vernix on the skin.
  • Only use sterile saline wipes for first 24 hours, then water wipes after that.
  • Delay first bath for 2+ weeks.
  • Avoid any oil on baby’s skin until after at least 28 days.
  • Use natural diapers or cloth diapers.
  • Use cotton clothing and bedding (organic if possible).
  • Mutaflor for the first 5 days after birth.
  • AO+Mist on baby’s skin from birth on.

Additional Notes from my Delivery

Feeding

  • In case we needed formula, I had an extensively hydrolized formula as well as elemental formula available if needed. My preferred brands are Neocate Infant (for dairy and soy sensitivity) and HiPP Pre HA (for corn sensitivity).
  • Before starting solids, we introduced probiotics.
    1. We gave Mutaflor for the first 5 days of life as mentioned above.
    2. Starting at one month, we started on Infant GutPro once per week, slowly increasing dose. Watch for constipation and other symptoms.
    3. At three months, we introduced Gerber Soothe. This is a very low dose and can be given every day.
  • For solids, starting at 6 months and all signs of readiness is the current recommendation.
  • For us, the key to trialing solids was to balance the risk for FPIES and the risk of IgE allergies by delaying high risk FPIES foods, but giving high risk IgE food earlier.
  • We trialed the following foods (one per week) in the following order. Once baby was safely passing many foods, we stopped trials and fed normally.
  1. Meat broth and boiled meat (grassfed lamb and beef are good options to start with.)
  2. Vegetables cooked in broth
  3. Egg yolks (home pasteurized, so still liquid, but killed the harmful bacteria)
  4. Peanuts and tree nuts, fish, and shellfish
  5. Healthy fats (avocado, coconut, oils)
  6. Fruits
  7. Expansion of tolerated ingredients (whole eggs, coconut chips instead of just coconut cream, raw vegetables, etc)
  8. More meats, vegetables, fruits, and seeds
  9. Grains
  10. The foods your family likes to eat.

Good Luck!

I hope that you find this guide helpful. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best of luck and hope that you too can find success avoiding FPIES and other food allergies with your next child.

6 thoughts on “My Story of Pregnancy After a Severely Allergic Child

  1. Hi there,
    Thank you for sharing your story of your next pregnancy. It has been very helpful to read of your approach as we go through the same thing. Just wondering how you dosed your newborn with the mutaflor for the 5 days after birth? Did you crush the tablet somehow to administer it?
    Also, what was the formula you had available – I am not familiar with formulas at this point and just curious which brand you selected?
    Thanks for your great blog!!

    • I opened the capsules of Mutaflor and measured the dosage according to the linked study. For formula I had two kinds available: HiPP Pre HA (my first choice) and Neocate Infant.

  2. Hi!
    I have a ton of questions as I just found out I was pregnant and I want to do everything I can to prevent him/her from having the same issues as my first two.

    A few questions to start:
    1. Can you safely eat antibiotic free meats?
    2. Did you have any caffeine?
    3. Did you try to eat lots of different types of foods to expose yourself to all different variety of foods?
    4. Did you not eat foods that were triggers for your first child?
    5. Did you have reflux during your pregnancies? Were you able to identify a food that triggered it and then stop eating it?

    I will probably have more if maybe we can connect at some point?

    • 1. Yes, I have no allergies to any meat. I did try to eat mostly antibiotic free meat during pregnancy.
      2. I choose to limit my caffeine intake during pregnancy, but I did not avoid it completely.
      3. Yes I tried to eat a lot of variety.
      4. I did not avoid my oldest child’s triggers, except for cutting dairy and soy the last 4 weeks only (I ate both earlier in pregnancy)
      5. I had a little bit of heartburn/reflux occasionally. Saurkraut, apple cider vinegar, and apples all helped me. It did not seem related to any food for me.

  3. Did you see any intolerance symptoms while breastfeeding before solids? Curious if your baby had any slight allergy symptoms which were resolved with after birth measures such as probiotics. By slight allergy symptoms I mean stuff that doctors say it’s “normal baby stuff” but resolve with eliminating trigger foods: cradle cap, colic, mucous poops.

    • Yes we saw some very slight symptoms while breastfeeding, which we only noticed because we were looking so carefully after our experience with our oldest (who has FPIES, MCAS, and IgE). We have not seen any symptoms that are FPIES or MCAS, and the baby has no IgE allergies. For example we are still avoiding cow milk for the little one because it makes her constipated, but that’s the only symptom, vs big sister is FPIES- acute to shock for cow milk.

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