Pregnancy Best Foods
Updated on 15 May 2023
During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes various changes which may cause her some discomfort. To alleviate discomforts like bloating and indigestion, natural remedies and home cures can be beneficial. Fennel seeds (saunf) are a commonly used kitchen ingredient that can provide relief to pregnant women. However, some may be hesitant to consume fennel seeds during pregnancy. This article discusses the benefits, risks, and effects of fennel seeds in pregnancy to help pregnant women make an informed decision.
The herb fennel, first discovered in Europe, has seeds, called fennel seeds, that have a flavor and aroma. They are green or brown when tender and eventually turn a dull grey. The plant has fluffy leaves and is a member of the parsley family. The fennel plant, frequently found in kitchens, is well-known for its therapeutic benefits. In India, commonly called "saunf," it is used in cooking, and most people use it as a mouth freshener. It is believed to relieve dental pain and gum problems and has many other health advantages, such as promoting digestion.
The USDA provides the following nutrition value of fennel seeds for 1 cup (87g) of sliced fennel.
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Yes, it's safe to consume fennel seeds during pregnancy in moderation. Consuming fennel seeds in small amounts can help with common pregnancy issues such as nausea, bloating, and dental caries. Fennel seeds are also known to stimulate bile flow, which can alleviate cramps.
However, pregnant women should avoid consuming fennel seeds in excess amounts as they may cause vaginal bleeding that could lead to miscarriage. Fennel seeds can also slow blood clotting and lead to dry and sensitive skin, so those with bleeding disorders and sensitive skin should consume them cautiously.
During pregnancy, one can sprinkle a few of these seeds—say, around a teaspoon—into the food. Based on specific health requirements, a pregnant woman can consult the doctor to understand how much saunf in pregnancy may be ingested.
Here are some of the most common benefits of consuming fennel during pregnancy:
Anethole found in fennel seeds can aid in relieving digestive muscle tension, promoting healthy digestion, and mitigating indigestion, gas, and other digestive problems. By relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract, saunf can stimulate bile flow and provide relief from flatulence and bloating during pregnancy.
Consuming fennel seeds during pregnancy can also help regulate the blood sugar levels during pregnancy by reducing the absorption of glucose in the intestines. As a result, women at risk of gestational diabetes or with it can maintain their blood sugar levels by consuming little fennel regularly.
Fennel seeds are also a great source of dietary fibre. A tablespoon of saunf is said to contain 2.9 gm of fibre. This makes fennel seeds an effective ingredient in preventing and relieving constipation during pregnancy.
Fennel seeds are also rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds and volatile oils. These antioxidants can help fight free radicals and minimise the damage caused by them.
Nausea and vomiting are frequent woes of pregnant women in early pregnancy due to which they may lose their appetite. Consuming fennel seeds in pregnancy can help boost the appetite and combat morning sickness by reducing gas and heartburn.
While there are many benefits of consuming saunf in pregnancy, it's important to know its side effects as well:
Fennel seeds can affect the blood's capacity to clot, thereby slowing down the clotting process. Therefore, it is best to avoid saunf in pregnancy if someone suffers from a bleeding issue, especially if prone to wounds and bleeding.
Consuming fennel seeds during pregnancy might cause dryness and heighten sensitivity in the skin. Pregnant women must avoid fennel seeds if they have sensitive skin. Many gestating women consume fennel seeds during pregnancy for fair baby, but no scientific evidence supports that.
Fennel is known to have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory qualities that stimulate the uterus and cause early contractions. While pregnant, consuming fennel in moderation will not harm the fetus nor trigger preterm contractions.
Consuming fennel seeds during pregnancy may have some potential risks. Fennel seeds can affect the blood's ability to clot, make the skin drier, and stimulate menstrual flow. This can increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy. Pregnant women with bleeding disorders or sensitive skin should avoid consuming fennel seeds. However, consuming fennel in moderation will not harm the fetus nor trigger preterm contractions, and fennel seeds are harmless in small amounts with no known harmful effects on the mother or the unborn child.
There are a few ways pregnant women can eat fennel seeds in pregnancy after doctor consultations. Fennel seeds have a pleasant scent and a faint sweetness. When added to meals, they serve as a flavoring ingredient and give the food a delicate flavor. Additionally, a pregnant woman can use them in tea or eat them raw after meals. Before including saunf in your pregnancy diet, it is essential to consult a doctor or nutritionist.
Excess consumption of fennel seeds can cause a miscarriage. This is because fennel seeds have natural emmenagogue properties that can trigger the menstrual cycle and lead to vaginal bleeding, which may cause a miscarriage. However, consuming fennel seeds in moderation during pregnancy is safe and offers several health benefits, including aiding digestion, reducing inflammation, and promoting lactation.
Pregnant women should consult a doctor about the appropriate amount to consume during pregnancy, especially if they have a bleeding disorder or sensitive skin.
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In conclusion, it's safe to consume fennel seeds during pregnancy as long as you eat them in moderation. It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional before adding any new food to your diet during pregnancy. Overall, incorporating fennel seeds as part of a balanced diet can help support a healthy pregnancy.
1. Illamola SM, Amaeze OU, Krepkova LV, Birnbaum AK, Karanam A, Job KM, Bortnikova VV, Sherwin CMT, Enioutina EY. (2020). Use of Herbal Medicine by Pregnant Women: What Physicians Need to Know. Front Pharmacol.
2. Liu H, Li J, Lin S, Liu T, Zheng C. (2021). Effects of dietary fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) seed powder supplementation on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, small intestinal morphology, and carcass traits of broilers. PeerJ.
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