The Benefits of Flaxseed During Pregnancy

Consuming flaxseed during pregnancy could reduce constipation thanks to its fiber content. At the same time, it's a good option to help prevent gestational diabetes.
The Benefits of Flaxseed During Pregnancy

Last update: 18 December, 2021

Flaxseed is a cereal that’s frequently recommended thanks to its nutritional properties and its effects on intestinal transit. With that in mind, we want to tell you all about the benefits of flaxseed during pregnancy.

First of all, it’s important to know that flaxseed is a food that’s rich in fiber that improves the expulsion of waste and also selectively modulates the growth of the intestinal microbiota. Therefore, flaxseed is responsible for helping the body obtain nutrients and discard the rest.

The Linum usitatissimum plant was discovered centuries ago in ancient Egypt. and since then. it’s been used both for making textiles and as a source of food. The forms of presentation of flaxseed are as follows:

  1. Seeds (Known as ”flax seeds”)
  2. Flour
  3. Oil

Perhaps you’ve heard people say that if you’re pregnant, you should eat a lot of flaxseed. In this regard, tradition isn’t wrong in its recommendation since, certainly, flaxseed is a cereal that helps pregnant women avoid the accumulation of unnecessary matter in the body.

By being able to easily dispose of the material that’s not required by our body, our general well-being improves (or is maintained) to perfection. And, in turn, our pregnancy is much more enjoyable, as discomfort is reduced. Constipation processes are frequent in pregnancy, and for this reason, increasing fiber consumption is beneficial, as stated in a study published in the journal “The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews”.

How does flaxseed help in childbirth?

The answer is very simple: Flaxseed has, in itself, the ability to increase the production of cervical fluids for delivery and, therefore, this facilitates the delivery of the baby and reduces the intensity of pain in the birth canal since it will be well lubricated.

A wooden scop in a pile of flaxseed.

Flaxseed helps the formation of cervical mucus and ensures a good constitution. At the time of delivery, just when the contractions arrive, the mucus plug breaks, and the canal through which the baby will come out is lubricated. However, this is a natural remedy whose effects haven’t been evidenced in the scientific literature.

In this sense, flaxseed will make childbirth simpler and faster. Likewise, the baby will be able to slide out more easily.

What has been described in the scientific literature is the ability of flaxseed to reduce insulin resistance, according to a study published in 2018. This property could be used to prevent or treat gestational diabetes.

All the benefits of flaxseed during pregnancy:

  1. Fight constipation
  2. Helps control weight, as it increases satiety
  3. Could increase the production of cervical mucus and with it, your fertility
  4. Improves the biodiversity of the intestinal flora and with it, the absorption of the nutrients that are necessary for the body
A pregnant woman drinking tea.

Constipation is one of the main symptoms of pregnancy due to the increase in estrogen levels and the size of the uterus. All of these changes affect the intestine and slow down its movement. Fortunately, studies show that flaxseed increases intestinal motility and reduces constipation.

Flaxseed after pregnancy

The nutritional properties of flaxseed will also be beneficial after pregnancy as they help you regain the energy and vitality you need to carry out your normal day-to-day activities.

How does it increase fertility?

Remember the cervical mucus we were talking about above? Well, it’s not only useful for childbirth, but for the fertilization process as well.

A fertile cervical mucus will facilitate the passing of sperm to the egg, which will help with the fertilization process.

It’s essential that this indicator is in the right condition. You’ll be able to recognize it yourself, as a fluid suitable for fertility is transparent, light, and elastic.

Experts recommend taking two tablespoons of flaxseed daily to promote the formation of cervical mucus during the last trimester of pregnancy. Especially during the last two months. Just the same, remember that we’re talking about a natural remedy whose effects haven’t been demonstrated. For this reason, if you suffer from fertility problems, the most appropriate option is to put yourself in the hands of a specialist.

Possible disadvantages of flaxseed in pregnancy

Flaxseed or linseed is an abundant source of components called lignans. Lignans are transformed by gastrointestinal bacteria into substances that bind to the site of action of estrogens. This component is what’s mainly responsible for the disadvantages of flaxseed, among which the following stand out:

  • Decrease in the activity of estrogens (crucial hormones in pregnancy).
  • Anticoagulant effect on the body.
  • They can enhance the effect of some diabetes medications.
  • Decreased absorption of some drugs.

Similarly, it’s essential that you consult with a trusted doctor before ingesting any supplement or food during pregnancy. Remember that even natural compounds can have a negative effect on some people.

Flaxseed and water during pregnancy

Flax seeds will be of little use if you don’t combine them with high doses of water. For flaxseed to do its job, it needs this liquid to be able to flow freely through your body.

If the body doesn’t have the necessary fluids, it will not be able to perform its functions properly. Of course, this includes intestinal transit.

Just the same, remember that flaxseed doesn’t have miraculous properties. You need to include it in a varied and balanced diet. If you have doubts or suffer problems during pregnancy, the best option is to consult a specialist.

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  • Rungsiprakarn P., Laopaiboon M., Sangkomkamhang U., Lumbiganon P., Pratt JJ., Interventions for treating constipation in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2015.
  • Menchetti L., Canali C., Castellini C., Boiti C., Brecchia G., The different effects of linseed and fish oil supplemented diets on insulin sensitivity of rabbit does during pregnancy. Res Vet Sci, 2018. 118: 126-133.