During pregnancy, many things are no longer safe. When pregnant, women strive to eat as healthy as possible for the benefit of their growing child. They start drinking more water and cut down on or eliminate caffeine. They add more colorful produce and low-fat dairy products to their diet and are diligent when it comes to taking their daily multi-vitamin, complete with enough folic acid and DHA to prevent birth defects and help nourish the growing child’s brain and eyes.
Beware of Certain Supplements
All of these changes are good to practice and should be encouraged. The waters get murkier, however, when women begin taking certain “superfoods” or supplements in order to boost nutrition. Many of these are harmless or beneficial, but this isn’t always so. Some can be dangerous, either to the woman or to the fetus. In extreme cases, some herbs or supplements can cause birth defects or even loss of pregnancy.
Flaxseed and Oil During Pregnancy: Potential Benefits
There are many reasons a woman might choose to consume flaxseed or flaxseed oil while she is pregnant. It acts as a natural laxative, which is useful since constipation is one of the most common ailments a pregnant woman may experience, causing pain and hemorrhoids. Flaxseed is also incredibly high in many vitamins and minerals, which makes getting the day’s required nutrition just a tad bit easier. It even contains omega-3s, powerful fatty acids that are often missing in our modern diets, which help with the development of the baby’s brain and eyes.
Lastly, flaxseed is incredibly rich in fiber, which has many health benefits, including regulating both cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Since many pregnant women are afraid of getting gestational diabetes, flaxseed may be seen as an easy fix to a potential problem.
Is Flaxseed Safe?
The most important thing for a pregnant woman to consider, even after taking all the health benefits into account, is whether flaxseed will be safe for her at this time of her life. The answer isn’t completely clear-cut, but for the most part, a pregnant woman may consume these seeds and reap the benefits.
However, there are some guidelines that would be good to follow:
- Never consumer raw, unprocessed flaxseed. There are several negative health effects people can experience if they choose to ignore this advice. Firstly, raw flaxseed contains small amounts of cyanide. If consumed excessively, this can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and even poisoning. Secondly, consuming the seeds in their raw form can lead to a rise in blood pressure, which can be even more dangerous when pregnant.
- Keep an eye on how much flaxseed is consumed on a daily basis. Because flaxseed can be harmful in large quantities, it’s recommended that pregnant women keep their daily dosage down to one tablespoon a day, always making sure that the seeds are ground instead of whole.
- Make sure you’re aware of what is being put into your body. Flaxseed is a more common ingredient in baking than many people realize. It is often used in baked goods and freshly made whole-grain breads. Because of this, it can be easy to go overboard on this superfood.
Safe, but Only in Moderation
In short, the consumption of flaxseed is perfectly safe, even beneficial, for pregnant women, as long as it is consumed in moderation. These women can enjoy the increased health and vigor that comes with the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and fiber that are present in the seeds without putting their babies at risk.