Nuts are safe to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. And what’s more, enjoying a daily 30g handful can help women meet the increased nutritional needs of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Here are some good reasons to include a handful of nuts in your diet when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Nuts are nutrient dense, providing at least 28 different nutrients, including a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals
  • They provide plant protein, at around 3-6g of protein per handful (30g) – or around 10-20g of protein per 100g.
  • Nuts contain dietary fibre, especially when their skins are left on. Fibre can help to maintain regular bowel habits, which is a common problem during pregnancy.
  • They are a valuable soure of folate – a nutrient important for the baby’s development during the early stages of pregnancy and prior to conception. Chestnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios contain the highest amounts.
  • Nuts (and particularly almonds, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios) contain iron. Iron in plant foods, like nuts, is better absorbed when consumed alongside foods rich in vitamin C.
  • Nuts are rich in the healthy, unsaturated fats. And walnuts are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the development of the nervous system, brain and eyes of the developing baby
  • They also contain calcium. Almonds are the highest nut source of calcium, providing around 80mg in a 30g handful.

Nut allergies: Pregnancy and breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), and the Australian Dietary Guidelines all state there is no evidence that what a woman eats while pregnant or breastfeeding affects the chance of her child developing an allergy, or allergy symptoms [1-3].

Australia’s ‘Infant Feeding and Allergy Prevention’ guidelines [2] state:

Exclusion of any particular foods (including foods considered to be highly allergenic) from the maternal diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding is not recommended, as this has not been shown to prevent allergies.”

In other words, the guidelines recommend including allergenic foods (like nuts) whilst pregnant and throughout breastfeeding. Of course, pregnant and breastfeeding women with an existing nut allergy should avoid any nuts they are allergic too.


  1. Greer, F.R., S.H. Sicherer, and A.W. Burks, Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: the role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas. Pediatrics, 2008. 121(1): p. 183-91.
  2. ASCIA. Guidelines: Infant feeding and allergy prevention. ASCIA 2016.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013

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