Hello there, new mother-to-be! You may be experiencing the wonderful changes that pregnancy puts your body through – while also going through several discomforts, which are also part of the package. But that’s where home remedies and natural ways come to the rescue, right? It’s common for us to turn to the many items in our kitchen to find a natural solution to our problems, and one such common herb we tend to turn to is the fennel seed (saunf). But is it safe to consume fennel seeds during pregnancy? Read on to find out!
What Are Fennel Seeds?
Fennel seeds are aromatic and flavoured herbs which look brown or green when fresh and turn dull grey when they age. The seeds are derived from a plant which was originally found in Europe. The plant belongs to the parsley family and has fluffy leaves. This herb is commonly found in our kitchens and is known for its medicinal properties. It is popularly known as ‘saunf’ and most of us consume it as a mouth freshener, besides using it in cooking. It has been proven to be beneficial for tooth pain and gum issues, apart from having several other health benefits such as aiding digestion.
Is It Healthy to Have Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, fennel seeds are only recommended in very small amounts because they are a natural emmenagogue. This basically means that they help trigger or increase menstrual flow. You can add a small amount of these seeds (for instance, a teaspoon or so) to your food. Your doctor can help you understand how much you should be consuming basis your health requirements and conditions.
Benefits of Saunf for Pregnant Women
The following are some of the known benefits and side effects of eating saunf for pregnant women.
- Saunf has traditionally been used in fighting nausea and morning sickness. Eating fennel seeds helps in developing appetite especially in the first trimester and helps control morning sickness by reducing gas and heartburn.
- The anti-flatulence properties in saunf help in relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract, which stimulates bile flow and helps in checking cramps often linked to digestion. Hence, it is quite effective in providing relief from bloating during pregnancy.
- Most pregnant women complain of loss of appetite due to indigestion and gas. Fennel seeds are a natural carminative and help in eliminating gas from the intestinal tract. This ultimately helps in better digestion and issues related to the gut are taken care of, the appetite returns too.
Side Effects of Eating Fennel Seeds While Pregnant
Now that you know about the benefits of fennel seeds, it is time you consider the side effects as well.
- Fennel seeds affect the ability of your blood to coagulate, making the process of clotting slow. So, if you suffer from a bleeding disorder, it is better to avoid fennel – especially, if you are susceptible to bruises and bleeding.
- Eating fennel seeds can make your skin dry and extremely sensitive. If you have sensitive skin, avoid fennel seeds during pregnancy.
- The antispasmodic, phytoestrogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties in fennel are found to stimulate the uterus, leading to premature contractions. However, having it in small quantity throughout the pregnancy won’t harm the foetus and it won’t lead to premature contractions either.
So, are fennel seeds good for pregnancy? There is not enough evidence to say that fennel seeds are unsafe. Likewise, there is not enough evidence that suggests fennel seeds are completely safe. There’s also the aspect to consider that foods react in different ways in different bodies. Hence, it is better to consult your doctor before you consume them and also check on the doses.
How to Consume Fennel Seeds in Pregnancy
If you are allowed to have fennel seeds during pregnancy, there are a few ways you can consume them. Fennel seeds have a nice aroma and are slightly sweet. If they are added to foods while cooking, they work as a flavouring agent and impart a subtle flavour to the dish. You can consume them in the form of tea as well, or chew some raw after a meal. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or dietician before you include fennel seeds in your pregnancy diet.
Fennel Tea for Nausea During Pregnancy
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has not regulated the use of herbal teas, including fennel tea, during pregnancy. When we say that herbs and herbal tea blends are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, it means that the herbs do not undergo the same level of scrutiny as over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Note that this does not mean that the FDA advises against the consumption of herbal teas.
To be safe, you can have fennel tea once in a while when you are pregnant. However, you may want to check with your gynaecologist before you do so.
Making Fennel Tea for Pregnant Women
If you are looking for a way to incorporate it into your diet, you may consider making a cup of fennel tea. Here is how you can brew yourself a cup of fennel tea:
- The chief ingredients for making the tea are water, crushed fennel seeds, jaggery syrup or honey.
- Take approximately one teaspoon of fennel seeds and then, crush or powder the seeds with the help of a blender.
- Take a pan and heat a cup of water until it boils, and then add the powdered fennel.
- Place a lid over the pan and switch off the stove to let it cool for around five minutes. Then, slowly strain the brewed tea and mix honey or jaggery in it, according to your taste.
Does Consuming Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy Lead to a Miscarriage?
Many people have fennel seeds after a meal because it helps with digestion. But it is important to remember that fennel seeds could trigger the menstrual cycle and lead to vaginal bleeding, ultimately causing a miscarriage. It is important to consume it in moderation, and avoid it altogether if your doctor advises against it.
Now that you know both the benefits and side effects of having fennel seeds, check whether they are suitable for consumption while you’re pregnant. Proceed according to medical advice only.