4 Benefits And 5 Side Effects Of Fenugreek During Pregnancy

Written by Tanya Choudhary

Pregnancy is a very special time in every couple’s life! Parents take every precaution to make sure their unborn baby grows and develops perfectly. One of their primary concerns is whether it is safe to consume fenugreek during pregnancy or not. Most seemingly safe plants, seeds, and herbs might seem tricky during pregnancy. If you are wondering if consuming fenugreek leaves or seeds is safe during pregnancy, you are in the right place. We have done all the research and explained it all below. Read on to know more!

Benefits Of Fenugreek During Pregnancy

There are some popular benefits of fenugreek in pregnancy like:

1. Fights Gestational Diabetes

If fenugreek is taken in moderate amounts, it is known to reduce diabetes (1). This kind of diabetes develops during pregnancy and may even persist after giving birth. Fenugreek is often used by diabetics as it stabilizes blood sugar level, but during pregnancy, a doctor’s advice is necessary before consumption.

2. Helps With Breast Enlargement

Hormonal imbalances sometimes cause disproportionate breasts. Consuming 3-4 grams of fenugreek seeds steeped in water may help with breast enlargement as it provides a mastogenic effect and helps enhance your breast (2). Most bust enhancing products contain fenugreek seeds due to the presence of a potent estrogen that helps enhance breast. However, there have been no clinical studies published to prove its safety and efficacy (3).

3. Helps In Contraction

Since ages, women have used fenugreek to induce contractions and labor pain (4). Even prolonged labor process can be shortened by using fenugreek.

4. Helps In Lactation

Studies have shown that consuming the herb for a few days can give drastic results when it comes to lactation. One of such studies states that there is an increase in milk production in women who consume fenugreek seeds during pregnancy (5).

Side Effects Of Fenugreek

While there are some known benefits of fenugreek, some side effects too have been reported by pregnant women, especially if taken in excess quantity. If a pregnant woman has not ever had fenugreek, it is best not to start taking it during pregnancy as this is not the best time to experiment. Even if they have a habit of taking fenugreek, a doctor’s consultation is a must to continue the habit, and if so, what alteration in dosage is needed, etc. Here are some of the side effects of fenugreek that you should be aware of:

1. Contractions

This is both a side effect and benefit, depending on when fenugreek is consumed. Fenugreek seeds are used to ease childbirth as it is known to help induce labor (4) (6). If your delivery date is upon you and you take fenugreek to induce labor, it is a benefit. But, if the same effect starts showing itself before completion of your pregnancy, it may be an issue.

2. Digestive Problems

A lot of pregnant women have complained that consuming fenugreek during pregnancy have caused various levels of digestive distress, starting from nausea, general discomfort to stomach upset, gas, bloating and even diarrhea (7).

3. Maple Syrup Smell Of Urine

This is an odd reaction that manifests in many pregnant women. Their urine smells like maple syrup as fenugreek contains a compound that is found in maple syrup too (7). This is not a harmful condition but it may be mistaken for maple syrup disease, which is a rare and dangerous condition.

4. Allergies

Just like all other herbs, fenugreek may cause an allergic reaction, which manifests itself with nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, swelling or other severe conditions (8).

5. Drug Interaction

Fenugreek slows down the effect of blood clotting and has the possibility of enhanced bleeding (9). It may also interact with warfarin to cause bleeding (8).

Word Of Caution

When it comes to fenugreek, there has not been sufficient research to fully mark the herb as safe or unsafe. But since ages, fenugreek has been used during pregnancy. The few studies that have been conducted on fenugreek are small and the results cannot be considered ubiquitous. Besides, even though fenugreek is natural, it may not be safe. So it is best to take fenugreek with caution and consult your gynecologist first.

If you are in doubt whether or not to consume fenugreek during pregnancy, it is best to see a doctor. Though you may be tempted to go by old wives’ tales about how the consumption of this herb can increase the production of breast milk, we urge you to go with your gut feeling and not over do it.

Fenugreek is a popular herb with several medicinal properties. It has a long history in alternative medicine and benefits your overall health in many ways. However, there are many concerns about the usage of fenugreek during pregnancy. If you use it in moderation fenugreek helps reduce blood sugar levels, breast enlargement, and shortens the prolonged labor process. But, its overconsumption during pregnancy may induce labor, digestive problems, allergies, and drug interactions. Hence, limit its consumption and consult your doctor before using fenugreek during the pregnancy period.

Sources

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  1. An update on natural compounds in the remedy of diabetes mellitus: A systematic review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6035310/
  2. In vitro estrogenic activities of fenugreek Trigonella foenum graecum seeds
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20571172/
  3. “Bust Enhancing” Herbal Products
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10714668_Bust_Enhancing_Herbal_Products
  4. Fenugreek a multipurpose crop: Potentialities and improvements
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X15002107
  5. The Effect of Herbal Tea Containing Fenugreek Seed on the Signs of Breast Milk Sufficiency in Iranian Girl Infants
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4585338/
  6. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X15301065
  7. Fenugreek
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501779/
  8. Fenugreek
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30000838/
  9. Review of herbal medications with the potential to cause bleeding: dental implications and risk prediction and prevention avenues
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6459456/
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