Although little research has been conducted on the topic, it is believed that normal amounts of flaxseed are safe for pregnant women. Since large doses of flaxseed could cause problems due to hormonal disruptions, make sure you consume it in normal dietary amounts. To be safe, you should talk to your healthcare provider to be sure flaxseed is appropriate for your health situation.
An Overview of Flaxseed and Pregnancy
It is probably safe for most pregnant women to take flaxseed, especially when consumed in normal dietary amounts. However, if you are pregnant, you should probably check with your healthcare provider before consuming large amounts of flaxseed.
Flaxseed is not exactly the same as flaxseed oil, which does not contain some of the active components of flaxseed. The information in this article does not apply to flaxseed oil.
Is It Safe?
Flaxseed is a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and is used in a variety of different foods (usually baked goods). Although little research is available concerning the safety of flaxseed during pregnancy, normal amounts (such as those found in foods) are probably safe for pregnant women.
However, flaxseed contains phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like compounds). Taking large doses of flaxseed could theoretically cause problems due to hormonal disruptions caused by phytoestrogens. Also, high doses of flaxseed could theoretically increase the risk of bleeding.
If you are interested in flaxseed as a laxative, please discuss the best ways to treat constipation during pregnancy. Other forms of fiber that do not contain phytoestrogens may be better choices. If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including flaxseed.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 15, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: flaxseed and flaxseed oil (May 2006). NCCAM Web site. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/flaxseed/. Accessed January 15, 2008.
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