Selenium During Pregnancy

5 min read

Written by Tarasha Chandra

Tarasha Chandra

Selenium During Pregnancy

A balanced diet is the most crucial thing for a pregnant woman. Pregnancy is a time when the life of a woman undergoes changes, hormonal, physical or physiological. It is of utmost importance to have a suitable number of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to be healthy. Apart from this, pregnant women must also have prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. While most of us are aware of the significance of minerals like calcium, there is very little awareness about the importance of selenium during pregnancy.

Selenium is an important mineral that has antioxidants that keep the immune system strong. It even provides energy to the body and helps in fighting cancer. Selenium has many benefits that are good for the mother and the baby. It also has a few side effects that are important to know. Let us know more about consuming Selenium during pregnancy.

In This Article

What is Selenium?

Selenium is one of the minerals found in soil and naturally available in sunflower seeds, seafood, Brazil nuts and whole grains. The body does not produce selenium but is a requirement for the immune system and thyroid to function properly. Selenium is available in water, soil, and other foods. It helps the body processes work in the right manner. It even helps in preventing selenium deficiency and the disease caused due to it.

Selenium is also an alternative medicine that helps in treating an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid and even in treating issues with high cholesterol levels.

Why is Selenium Necessary During Pregnancy?

Why is Selenium Necessary During Pregnancy_

Selenium offers protection to the body against the damage caused due to free radicals and infections as well. This antioxidant also helps in the regulation of the thyroid as well as the immunity system. It plays a vital role in reproducing and production of DNA. Selenium detoxifies, prevents cancer cells formation, and even slows the ageing process.

This mineral produces antioxidant enzymes after integrating with other proteins. Like Vitamin E, Selenium also recycles the antioxidants through the organism.

How Much Selenium is Optimal During Pregnancy?

The Selenium dosage that the doctors recommend for pregnant women is 60 mcg. Selenium is available in plant foods, water, and soil.

What Foods Are Rich in Selenium?

Foods Rich in Selenium

For reaping the maximum benefits of Selenium, it is important to know what its sources are. Including the given nutrient sources in the diet helps in getting the recommended dosage. It also helps in getting this important mineral and avail its benefits.

The foods that provide Selenium and help in reaping its benefits are:

  • Meats such as grass-fed beef and lamb
  • Poultry such as chicken and turkey
  • Breads, cereals, and other grain products
  • Brazil nuts
  • Seafood
  • Organ meats
  • Dairy products
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Oysters
  • Mushrooms

[Read : Tuna During Pregnancy]

Benefits of Selenium During Pregnancy

Selenium has several benefits for the body and the health in many ways. To aid the vital functions of the body, the intake of Selenium should be optimal so that the levels are not too low. The potential benefits of including Selenium are:

1. Supporting the Immune System

Selenium is good for the immune system and having the ideal level helps in the prevention of illness and infections.

2. Aiding in Turning Food Into Energy

The selenium concentration is higher in the thyroid glands than in other organs. It helps in metabolism and hormone synthesis. Selenium helps to fuel the body and even reduce fatigue.

3. Maintaining Normal Hair And Nails

This nutrient supports iodine regulation which is important for the thyroid. This in turn helps in the growth of nails and hair.

4. Protecting Cells From Oxidative Stress

Selenium is an antioxidant and helps in removing the free radicals. It offers protection to the cells from damage.

5. Reducing Inflammation

Selenium helps in reducing inflammation and prevents ageing. It even reduces cardiovascular ailments or death due to heart ailments.

Are Selenium Supplements Required During Pregnancy?

Are Selenium Supplements Required During Pregnancy

Yes, Selenium supplements are a requirement during pregnancy if the diet alone does not fulfil the recommended dosage. Selenium supplements help in compensating for this essential nutrient. A doctor’s consultation is necessary before taking the supplements.

Selenium supplements are available in the form of capsules, tablets, and sprays. All the supplements help in offering support to the functioning of the immune system and even protect against any oxidative stress. It even helps in collagen production which is important for bones, cartilage, and blood vessels formation. It is good for nails, skin, eye health and vision.

What is Selenium Toxicity?

Consuming Selenium has a plethora of benefits and it is good for the mother and the baby. In extreme cases, acute selenium toxicity can result in serious neurological or intestinal symptoms, kidney failure, heart attack and even death. However, toxicity is more due to the intake of supplements than eating selenium-containing foods. While selenium toxicity is not common yet the overconsumption of this mineral by diet or supplements can have dangerous side effects.

What is Selenium Deficiency?

In case the Selenium levels are too low, it can result in a Selenium deficiency. Studies indicate that Selenium deficiency can affect over one billion people across the world. If the body does not get proper nutrients, health issues can arise.

Symptoms of Selenium deficiency during pregnancy can result in

  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Defect in the fetal nervous system
  • Underdeveloped fetal immune system
  • Low birth weight post-delivery

Other symptoms include

  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Facial flushing
  • Tremors

The effects of low selenium among pregnant women can have dangerous consequences. It is important to take an adequate amount of Selenium and consult a doctor under any signs of Selenium deficiency. Adding more selenium-rich foods to the diet is an excellent way of maintaining good health. Having a knowledge of the right level of Selenium dosage also helps.

[Read : Know Everything About Your Baby’s Brain and Nervous System]


1. Why Do You Need Selenium During Pregnancy?

Selenium is a vital nutrient during pregnancy and plays a key role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and healthy fetal development. It also is rich in antioxidants and regulates the immune system. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to unwanted consequences such as problems with fetal development, pregnancy complications, and low birth weight post-delivery.

2. How Much Selenium Can a Pregnant Woman Take?

A pregnant woman’s intake of selenium must be 60 micrograms per day.

3. Is Selenium Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, selenium is safe to take when you are pregnant. But you must ensure that you are sticking to the recommended daily allowance of this mineral. Ensure that you talk to your OBGYN before starting selenium or any other supplement for that matter.

Read Also: Vitamin B7 During Pregnancy

Tarasha Chandra,PGDPM

She loves to dance, listen to music, cook, and read in her free time. She is transparent, intuitive, quick-witted, and loves to spend time with her near and dear ones. She believes in taking each day as it comes.Read more.

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