FlaxSeed During Pregnancy Safe Or Not Safe?

5 min read

Flaxseeds are a part of an ever-growing list of “superfoods” that are gaining popularity these days. Rarely would you not find a box of flaxseeds sitting on the shelf of a supermarket. These seeds are rich in fiber, protein, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids (“good” fats). While doctors recommend flaxseed during pregnancy as one of the top fertility foods for women trying to conceive, it may not be safe for a pregnant woman to consume it.

Flaxseed in different Indian Languages

  • Hindi – सन का बीज
  • Telugu – అవిసె గింజ
  • Tamil – ஆளிவிதை
  • Kannada – ಅಗಸೆಬೀಜ
  • Malayalam – ചണവിത്ത്
  • Odia – ଫ୍ଲକ୍ସସିଡ୍ |
  • Bangla – ফ্ল্যাক্স-সীড

flax seed during pregnancy
In This Article

Are Flaxseeds Considered Safe During Pregnancy?

There is a lot of debate on whether or not flaxseeds are safe for pregnant women, mainly because there is a lack of substantial research and information. Therefore, some doctors recommend you completely avoid it.

What Exactly are Flaxseeds?

Flax is a fiber crop. It is another term for ‘linseed’. In Hindi, it is called ‘Alsi’. Flaxseed during pregnancy is an excellent source of dietary fiber and omega 3.

Not only omega-3, but it also has folate, vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and protein. It should not be ignored in one’s diet, given its health benefits. Is it the same during pregnancy? Let’s see below.

Nutritional Value

Every 100 gms of these seeds has 534 calories. This means that when you eat one tablespoon of seeds (approx. 10 gms), your calorie intake will amount to 55.

This contains 42% percent of fat, 29% carbohydrates, and 18% protein. This combination of fiber makes it a natural laxative, and it promotes digestive health as well.

Safety of Flaxseeds in Pregnancy: Not Enough Evidence

Some animal studies show that high doses (4 tablespoons of flaxseeds for every 2000 calories) of flaxseed during pregnancy may be harmful to the fetus. However, there are no studies conducted on human beings confirming the effects of flaxseed during pregnancy.

What are the Health Benefits of Flaxseeds?

woman with flax seeds

Recent studies have shown that consuming flaxseeds may provide you protection from the below diseases:

1. Cancer

It is rich in lignans, which are natural cancer-preventing phytonutrients. It provides protection against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer.

2. Diabetes

Taking flaxseeds every day can help regulate your blood sugar levels for an extended period of time. It increases insulin sensitivity because of its high content of soluble fiber.

3. Cardiovascular Diseases

Eating flaxseed during pregnancy helps decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL). It also has blood-thinning properties, hence reducing the risk of clogged arteries.

Apart from the above benefits, it is used in conditions like ongoing constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. It also helps with certain conditions such as menopause symptoms, and weak bones.

Benefits of Flaxseed During Pregnancy

The high nutritional profile of flaxseeds can be beneficial during pregnancy. Following are some of the top benefits of eating flaxseeds during pregnancy:

  • Flaxseed has linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) or omega-3 polyunsaturated fat which is needed during pregnancy.
  • It also acts as a laxative and can help with constipation.
  • Flaxseeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps digestion.
  • It reduces blood sugar levels so it can help with gestational diabetes.
  • It can reduce hot flashes during pregnancy.

What are the Side Effects of Eating Flaxseed During Pregnancy?

Flaxseeds are used extensively in baked goods like muffins and slices of bread, therefore making it difficult for a person to understand whether one has ingested them.

In case you accidentally eat some flaxseeds, watch out for these side effects:

  • Symptoms of allergy, like tightness in your chest, difficulty in breathing, and swelling of lips.
  • Consumption of flaxseeds may sometimes give one diarrhea or nausea.
  • If you eat unripe or raw flaxseeds, it can result in a hike in blood sugar levels.

flax seeds in wooden spoon

How Can Flaxseeds be Included in My Diet During Pregnancy?

Never eat raw flaxseeds as it contains some amounts of cyanide. Though it is not likely to cause any adverse effects on your health, it is advisable not to eat them raw.

The correct way of eating flaxseed during pregnancy is to freshly roast them. This will eliminate the risk of cyanide compounds. Grind into a powder because when you eat them whole, they might not be absorbed fully.

And always store the flaxseeds in an airtight container.

Here are the ways in which you can consume flaxseeds:

  • You can mix the freshly ground powder with yogurt or a smoothie.
  • Sprinkle on your salad.
  • Blend the powder into the whole wheat dough before making chapatis.
  • Mix them into the batter of bread, dosa, idly, muffins.
  • Mix it into your morning cereal or oatmeal.

Or you can find your own interesting ways of consuming flaxseeds to get nutrition.

What is the Quantity of Flaxseed I Can Have During Pregnancy?

It is safe to take flaxseed during pregnancy but in moderation. Since there is not much evidence available about the safety of flaxseed, it is sensible to limit your daily intake. Approximately one tablespoon of ground flaxseed is fine to consume during pregnancy.

Is FlaxSeeds Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?

Some women believe they help with milk production.  But, there is no scientific backup. However, it is best to consult with your doctor first.

Flaxseeds during pregnancy have an endless list of health benefits. However, it is always better to consult your doctor before including it in your pregnancy diet.

FAQ’s

1. Can I Snack on Roasted Flax Seeds While Pregnant?

No, don’t consult your doctor first. Many doctors don’t recommend flax seeds during pregnancy.

2. Will Flax Seeds Add Weight in Pregnancy?

Flax seeds don’t add weight. They are infact eaten to manage weight too. However, it is not considered safe during pregnancy.

3. Are Flax Seeds Healthy?

Yes, they are. They are rich in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. However, pregnant women must avoid it.

4. Can Pregnant Women be Allergic to Flax Seeds?

Yes, they can be. It can cause swelling in lips, or difficulty in breathing. This is why is not recommended for pregnant women.

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