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Is Flaxseed Oil Safe during Pregnancy?

flaxseed oil pregnancy

Photo credit: wikipedia

A well-balanced nutrition during the period of pregnancy maintains your excellent health conditions as well as provides the growing baby’s proper development. When consuming flaxseed oil during pregnancy, you provide a developing baby with vitally necessary fatty acids. However, at the same time flaxseed oil can be dangerous for your pregnancy. Let’s consider the benefits and risks of flaxseed oil that can help you to answer the questions “Is flaxseed oil safe during pregnancy?”. Anyway, consult your doctor before consuming flaxseed oil during pregnancy.

What is flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is extracted from the seeds of flax plant. As Wikipedia states, there is one main component in flaxseed oil, called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. It is the essential omega-3 fatty acids which is vitally important for humans. Our body can’ produce omega3 fatty acids and has to receive them from food, for example fish, flax seeds and their oils (see the comparison of flaxseed oil vs fish oil). ALA makes up 45 to 65 percent in flaxseed oil. Our body converts ALA into two essential fats, EPA and DHA.

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Potential benefits of flaxseed oil taken during pregnancy

Consuming flaxseed oil during pregnancy may aid in brain development of a growing baby. According to researches of the Franklin Institute, if babies do not receive enough amount of omega-3 fats they may have smaller head circumference and lower weight at birth. The placenta is more likely to be small as well. The amount of DHA is connected with a growing baby’s eye and brain development. The developing baby will get DHA only if its mother eats seafood or if she receives ALA from her nutrition and then converts it into DHA. 

Potential concerns

Although women need omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy, there are some concerns about taking flaxseed oil during pregnancy. In 2008 Dr. Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins in the Université de Montréal carried out a research in which women took flaxseed oil during the second and third semesters of pregnancy. They had a higher rate of preterm births than women who didn’t eat flaxseed oil. Dr. Desjardins didn’t explain the mechanism of phenomenon but stated that there was the correlation between premature births and flaxseed oil only, not the whole flax seeds.

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It is a disputable question for mothers-to-be to take or not flaxseed oil during pregnancy. They understand the necessity of omega-3 fatty acids and want to avoid the potential risks of flaxseed oil. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is recommended not to add flax seeds and their oil to their nutrition while pregnancy as it may negatively influence the hormones you need for a healthy pregnancy. The safest way is to consume omega-3 fatty acids from other food sources, for example seafood, sea vegetables, algae oil supplements, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. 

Remember, if you to consume flaxseed oil or any other oils or nutritional supplements when you are pregnant always consult your doctor if you can take them, how much you can eat without any risks for your health, health of your future baby and your pregnancy.