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Flaxseeds During Pregnancy

By Rose Welton ; Updated August 14, 2017

Flaxseeds are a source of dietary fiber. They are also used to treat constipation and acne, and may help lower cholesterol. It is important to consider the safety of anything you consume during pregnancy because some things can harm your developing baby. MedlinePlus states that consuming flaxseeds during pregnancy is possibly unsafe. Due to the lack of evidence surrounding the safety of flaxseeds during pregnancy, it is important to weigh the possible benefits and potential risks with your doctor.

Lack of Evidence

Flaxseeds have shown harmful effects during animal studies, but there are not sufficient studies of the effect of flaxseeds in human pregnancies. Flaxseeds are considered an herbal product that is not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it can be difficult to determine the safety.

Hormonal Effects

Flaxseeds may act like the hormone estrogen in your body and can stimulate menstruation and contractions. This can be very dangerous during pregnancy, especially in early pregnancy. also states that flaxseeds may directly harm a human fetus and recommends avoiding them completely.

Food Sources

Flaxseed can be found in some food products, such as bread and other baked goods. It can also be stirred into yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies. Your doctor can help you decide if eating food products that contain flaxseeds are a safe option for you during your pregnancy. If you regularly ate foods that contain flaxseeds before your pregnancy, ask your doctor before continuing to eat the foods.

Side Effects

Side effects of flaxseed consumption can include gas, diarrhea and nausea, which can be especially uncomfortable during pregnancy. You may also experience an allergic reaction to flaxseeds. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include tightness in your chest, difficulty breathing and swelling of your lips. Consuming raw or unripe flaxseeds can increase your blood’s level of cyanide, a toxic chemical that can result in poisoning. If your doctor tells you that it is safe to consume any amount of flaxseed during your pregnancy, avoid raw or unripe seeds.

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