Hemp seed, commonly known as hemp heart, has its own set of controversies. The main reason for the questionable use of hemp seed is its association with the cannabis plant. Usually, people are skeptical about consuming hemp as it is closely related to marijuana, even though hemp does not produce the same psychoactive effects. It is only natural to be even more careful during pregnancy.
It is normal to feel extra cautious about what you put into your body during pregnancy. Hence, it is only fitting to question the effects of a product from the cannabis family. This article covers everything you should know about hemp seed, its benefits during pregnancy, different consumption techniques, and possible side effects.
Is It Safe to Eat Hemp Seed During Pregnancy?
Although the seed comes from the same plant that sources CBD and THC, it is naturally free from both these cannabinoids. The psychoactive compounds come from the hemp plant’s leaves, stems, and flowers. As per FDA guidelines, no intoxicating compounds are found in the hemp seed. The seed may contain negligible amounts of THC and CBD due to physical contact with the stem, but the amount is too small to have any effect. Thus, the seed is safe to consume and does not harm the mom or the baby.
Nonetheless, it is best to consult a doctor and get a professional’s opinion on whether your specific conditions allow hemp seed consumption and in what quantity.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds for Pregnant Women
The hemp plant has a negative image due to a lack of research. However, a detailed analysis of the plant has revealed that the hemp heart offers numerous health benefits, even for pregnant women, the developing fetus, and breastfeeding women.
Rich in Plant Protein
Protein is vital for fetal development, especially during the third trimester. Hemp seeds are a great source of all nine essential amino acids. The body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own and relies on food as its only source. As the mother needs to eat for two, hemp seeds contain a considerable amount of amino acids for both the mother and the baby. In fact, arginine, which is abundant in hemp seed, is an important amino acid that improves the heart health of the mother and the baby.
Replenishes Iron Requirement
Many pregnant women and young mothers suffer from iron deficiency. This is because the fetus relies on the mother for its iron supply. Thus, it is essential to take an iron-rich diet during pregnancy, and hemp seed can provide 1/3rd of the daily iron requirement. So, you can mix a reasonable quantity of hemp seeds with meat, chicken, and seafood to maintain a healthy iron intake and prevent post-pregnancy nutritional deficiencies.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the brain and eye development of the fetus. However, the body cannot produce omega-3 and relies on our diet to absorb this fatty acid. Hemp seed is an excellent source of plant-based omega-3. Another plus point of hemp-based omega-3 is that it is free from mercury, unlike other sources like fish.
Good Fiber Source
Hemp seed’s shell is an excellent source of fiber; thus, you should purchase the unpeeled seeds. Unfortunately, modern diet habits do not add enough fiber to our daily diets. Therefore, a daily dose of hemp seeds during pregnancy can help manage blood sugar levels and weight and prevent constipation.
Helps with Nausea
Morning sickness is very common during pregnancy, and residual compounds in hemp seed significantly reduce its frequency and intensity. Additionally, the seeds’ high fiber content helps prevent nausea, which also helps with morning sickness.
Contains Minerals and Vitamins
The seeds are also full of micronutrients that help keep the mother healthy and fresh. A good amount of magnesium, iron, manganese, vitamin B, vitamin E, and iron is found in hemp seed. These micronutrients also open up the mother’s appetite. Thus, she can easily eat more than her regular food to help support the baby.
Does Hemp Seed Help With Fertility?
Although hemp seeds have many benefits, there isn’t any tangible link between fertility and hemp seeds. The idea that hemp seed can improve fertility probably comes from its high nutritional value.
However, there might be an indirect connection. Hemp seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only does omega-3 increase hormonal activity, but it also boosts fertility in women.
If your doctor recommends increasing your omega-3 intake in hopes of conceiving, hemp seeds can help. In fact, hemp seeds contain several nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy; thus, you should consider adding them to your diet.
Is Hemp Milk Good for Pregnant Women?
People usually go for hemp mild if they want to avoid dairy products or are allergic to gluten. Hemp milk is basically hemp seeds blended with water and salt to make a smooth thin liquid.
You may be curious if hemp milk is as good as other non-dairy milk alternatives. For pregnant women, milk is necessary for its calcium content. This mineral helps the baby grow stronger while maintaining the mother’s bone strength. Like any other non-dairy milk, hemp milk contains a reasonable quantity of calcium. One glass of hemp milk covers 25% of the daily calcium requirement for a pregnant woman.
However, vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium, and hemp seeds do not contain a lot of it. So, make sure you include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet to reap the full benefits of hemp milk.
Should Pregnant Women Take Hemp Protein Powder?
Hemp protein powder is as safe for pregnant women as hemp seeds themselves. Hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids present in their protein powder. The body cannot produce the amino acids necessary for smooth fetal development. Additionally, being a plant-based source of protein, the powder is also rich in fiber which hosts a separate set of health benefits.
Side Effects of Using Hemp Seed During Pregnancy
Alongside the many benefits of hemp seeds, there are also potential side effects. Here is what you should know before using hemp seeds during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
For women with a weak or sensitive digestive system, hemp seed may cause diarrhea or upset stomach. This is mainly because hemp is packed with nutrition, so it can be tough to digest for some individuals. Thus, depending on how well your body reacts to the seed, start with half a teaspoon or less and gradually build your tolerance.
Hemp seed does not contain any significant allergen, but some people may experience a skin rash or abdominal cramps. If you have a weak immune system or are prone to developing allergies, consult your doctor before using hemp seeds.
Reaction To Other Drugs
During pregnancy, mothers take some supplements or pain-relieving drugs, and hemp seeds can interact with these drugs. For instance, warfarin, an anticoagulant and digoxin, is used to treat irregular heartbeats. Thus, if you are on some medication, please consult your doctor about using hemp seeds during pregnancy.
To sum it up, hemp seeds are safe to consume during pregnancy. This part of the plant is naturally free of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. Additionally, the seed is packed with nutrients, omega-3, amino acids, and minerals, adding nutritional value to your pregnancy diet. Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful. We recommend that you consult your doctor about using hemp seeds during pregnancy, especially if you are on medication.