Pregnancy comes with its fair share of challenges and body changes. One of them, particularly inconvenient, is constipation.
It’s common for pregnant women to experience constipation far more often than they would under normal circumstances. You can thank the increase in progesterone hormone production for your backed up GI tract during pregnancy, which causes the augmented relaxation of body muscles.
This relaxed state includes the intestines, causing digestion to be slower, therefore, leading to constipation. Wonderful….But that process is not the only thing that can affect a pregnant woman’s digestive system. Hormones, the growing fetus, a change of diet, and even prenatal vitamins can impact digestion as a side effect.
Lucky for all us pregnant ladies out there, constipation can be managed!
Nowadays, there are many convenient, plant-based, natural ways to relieve discomfort caused by constipation. However, today we’re focusing on a teeny little seed that makes all the difference when it’s time to go number two. Flaxseed.
Flaxseed for constipation during pregnancy may be your new go to when you are struggling to go. Trust me, it can be a real game changer for some people and can make even the most irregular stool cycle regular.
In this article, I’m going to talk about the consumption of flaxseed to lessen constipation during pregnancy. Keep reading to learn all about this subject!
Flaxseed For Constipation During Pregnancy
Flaxseed is a fiber crop derived from the flax plant originally grown in Southern Europe and Asia. It’s color tone ranges from golden yellow to reddish-brown, depending on their variety. They are a great source of healthy fiber, much like other foods such as chia seeds.
However, when it comes to your daily nutritional requirements to go number two, flaxseed has you covered. You will definitely be able to meet your fiber goal for the day if you consume flaxseeds on a regular basis. Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, about 10% of the recommended daily intake. Not only this, but these seeds contain two different types of dietary fiber: soluble (20-40%) and insoluble (60-80%). All for just 37 calories a tablespoon!
How does flaxseed help relieve constipation for pregnant women?
The combination of soluble and insoluble fibers is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. This helps bulk up stools, and results in more regular bowel movements. Fun right? Goodbye pregnancy-induced constipation, hello going regularly!
More Benefits of Eating Flaxseed During Pregnancy:
Other nutrients that can be found in grand quantities in flaxseeds are magnesium, potassium, protein, zinc, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E. So essentially, it’s packed with all the good stuff you want and need during pregnancy.
Flaxseed offers an immunity boost for expectant mothers who might be feeling a bit immunocompromised from all the hormonal changes. But that’s not the only benefit the consumption of flaxseeds has for pregnant women. Since flaxseeds are rich in linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, they also help with fetal brain development.
It is important to note that omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the Omega 3 fatty acids from these seeds aren’t a good source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), being rich in ALA (alpha-linolenic acids) instead.
The ALA derived from the consumption of flaxseeds is converted to DHA at a very poor rate, so you will not be able to meet your daily requirements of this nutrient during pregnancy if your only sources are nuts and seeds. So, keep enjoying salmon or taking your prenatal omega-3 supplement for those.
How To Include Flax Seeds In Pregnancy Diet
Are flaxseeds safe during pregnancy?
Yes, it’s safe to consume flaxseed during pregnancy as long as it’s not raw or used during cooking. It is not safe to consume raw flaxseeds or use flaxseed oil when cooking. This is due to the certain levels of cyanide (a dangerous natural and chemical compound) you could be exposed to.
Because these seeds contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring compound that can produce cyanide when it starts to degrade, eating them raw or in cooking oils can increase the risk of cyanide poisoning. If you want to be extra safe whenever you consume flaxseeds, you could try steam-evaporation as it supposedly destroys the cyanide compounds. You should also remember to moderate amounts of flaxseed per day, no more than 50 grams, although it is unlikely you would consume this much unless intentionally trying to do so.
The best way to consume flaxseeds is ground or milled, as your body can absorb the nutrients better in this variety (our bodies can’t properly digest them in their whole form), and many stores sell pre-ground flaxseeds so you don’t have to do any work. Remember to always store your flaxseed in an airtight container! This will help them last longer and prevent them from being contaminated with small bugs or ants.
Add flaxseed to your favorite salad dressing.
If you’re a fan of summery salads, consider adding ground flaxseeds or flaxseed oil to your salad dressing. Including them this way won’t change the flavor of the dressing or the salad and allows you to get in even more fiber through your salad!
Fill your smoothie with extra nutrients.
This is an easy way to reach your daily flaxseed intake first thing in the morning. Treat yourself to a healthy and refreshing smoothie. Simply add your ground flaxseeds to the mix as a topper or before blending. Easy, peasy!
Bake a multi-grain bread.
Baking can be a fantastic way to get in more flaxseed. What’s better than taking the opportunity to dedicate some time for yourself by baking your own flaxseed bread? You can make whole wheat bread and directly include them in the mix. And if baking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of brands that sell bread with flaxseed already in it in stores.
Add flaxseed to your granola, cereal, or yogurt.
Mix roasted flaxseeds into your favorite granola, cereal, or top your yogurt. You can easily include a tablespoon or two without tampering with the overall texture or flavor. You can mix it throughout or simply at it on top! Whatever you prefer.
Sprinkle them into any sauce.
This is an extra sneaky way to get in some flaxseed. Simply take a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and add them to whatever sauce you’re preparing at the moment. The flavor of the sauce won’t be impacted, but you’ll still get all the benefits from these seeds.
Will you be including flaxseeds in your pregnancy diet?
I hope this post gives any backed up mama’s out there some relief. Eating flaxseed during pregnancy for constipation can really make all the difference. I hope this post also helped you solve any doubts regarding the consumption of flaxseed during pregnancy! This food can be very beneficial for expectant mothers for overall health of you and the baby.
Remember to eat the recommended amounts (1-2 tablespoons per day) and avoid raw flaxseeds and flaxseed oil if cooking. Enjoy the extra nutrients!