Eating Poppy Seeds During Pregnancy: Benefits & Risks

Can You Eat Poppy Seeds During Pregnancy?

Poppy seeds are safe to consume during pregnancy. With proper preparations, they may also increase your chances of conceiving. Poppy seeds contain the chemical beta-sitosterol in tiny amounts, proven in scientific tests to impact the human estrogen hormone (estrogen), even though it is most active in the early stages of seed development. If you eat a lot of beta-sitosterol, you may delay ovulation and the formation of the placenta, which increases your chances of becoming pregnant. However, here are some crucial things to know concerning poppy seeds and pregnancy. We have covered everything below, from the benefits of having poppy seeds to the risk of consuming the same. Let’s take a look at the information given below.

What Are Poppy Seeds?

Poppy is the seed of the poppy plant. The poppy seed extract may be used to identify abnormalities at the bowel-bladder junction (vesicoenteric fistula). Although many individuals claim to use the poppy seed to cure several health problems, including coughs, asthma, constipation, diarrhea, and insomnia, there is no solid scientific evidence to support these claims. Poppy seeds are used in various foods, including cakes, pastries, fillings, glazes, and porridges. Poppy-seed oil is an essential component in detergents, paints, and varnishes.

Is It Healthy to Consume Poppy Seeds During Pregnancy?

The diet of an expecting woman must be as balanced as possible. The meals consumed by pregnant women should be nutritious as they have a significant impact on the child’s development in the womb. When a woman considers motherhood, she must consume nutritious and fresh foods. So, the question is can pregnant women eat poppy seeds? Well, poppy seeds are beneficial for pregnant women as they are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A gynecologist may advise a pregnant woman on the frequency and amount of poppy seeds that are safe to consume during pregnancy.

Benefits of Eating Poppy Seeds During Pregnancy

Poppy seeds have a plethora of beneficial health properties. Certain chemicals contained within them have antioxidant properties that benefit an individual’s overall health and well-being.

  1. Essential oils and fats account for 50% of the mass of the poppy seed.
  2. Poppy seeds are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids due to their high content of linoleic and oleic acids. By increasing HDL levels and decreasing LDL levels, these supplements may aid in the prevention of heart disease.
  3. Poppy-seed husks, which are high in fiber, are beneficial for bowel and internal organ cleansing. It is helpful for pregnant women suffering from constipation.
  4. These seeds are beneficial for health as they contain high magnesium and calcium levels. Pregnant women can consume poppy seeds in various dishes throughout their pregnancy to obtain these essential nutrients.
  5. Due to the high concentration of Vitamin B in poppy seeds, such as Pantothenic, Folic, and Niacin, poppy seeds are an excellent energy source.
  6. Poppy seeds are extremely excellent for providing a strong blood flow in your body and keeping you active and your baby’s growth in check.

Risks of Consuming Poppy Seeds While Pregnant

Besides the benefits, there are also several side effects of poppy seeds during pregnancy. Keep a note of the same since these are valid reasons why a pregnant woman should be careful in consuming poppy seeds:

  • Poppy seeds contain opiate concentrations, which explains why they are so popular. Women should avoid the narcotic codeine, which is found in poppy seeds, due to the possibility of complications.
  • The child in the womb may develop breathing disorders during the second or third trimester if a significant amount of codeine is administered.
  • Poppy seeds are high in toxins or morphine and may risk both the mother and the baby during pregnancy. As a result, large amounts of poppy seeds should be avoided.

Foods That Might Contain Poppy Seeds

Foods That Might Contain Poppy Seeds

Baked food items and other meals containing poppy seeds are available in the market. They are often found in traditional dishes and desserts worldwide, including in the United States. When in doubt, check the ingredients list so you can avoid any side effects. Keep this list handy to prevent consuming the following meals that contain poppy seeds:

  • Dressings for salads
  • Poppy seed pretzels
  • Bagels
  • Loaves of bread
  • Rolls
  • Cake
  • Muffins
  • Citrus poppy seed cake
  • Vegetable dressings
  • Poppy seed pies
  • Desserts prepared with poppy seed filling
  • Trail mix used to make Babka, a classic Jewish delicacy.
  • Granola 

Alternatives for Poppy Seeds for Pregnant Women

You may be searching for substitutes for poppy seeds if you are pregnant. The names and details of alternate seeds for poppy, along with their advantages, are listed below:

  • Chia: Chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular as a result of the numerous health benefits they provide. These seeds are a fantastic source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein, among other nutrients. They’re a “celebrity diet favorite” in everything from chia pudding to smoothies, to name a couple of examples. Chia seeds have a gritty texture, similar to poppy seeds. Given that they absorb liquids and transform into a gel-like substance, they perform best when completely dry. Instead of combining and baking in a casserole, spread the mixture on bagels, muffins, or toast.
  • Flaxseeds: Flax seeds are another alternative, but they should be incorporated into the batter rather than sprinkled on top. They will not taste nice, particularly if you like nuts. However, flax is excellent for adding crunch to baked products.
  • Hemp: In a pinch, hemp seeds may be used in place of poppy seeds. They taste like poppy seeds and work nicely in recipes that call for poppy seed filling. They may be used in place of poppy seeds but must be crushed before using.
  • Nigella: Nigella seeds may be used in place of poppy seeds. These tiny seeds resemble poppy seeds in appearance but are very uncommon. It is tough to get them, but if you can, they’re an excellent savory, a poppyseed substitute, and an Indian culinary classic.
  • Sesame: Sesame seeds, when roasted, are an excellent replacement for poppy seeds. Untoasted seeds will have a distinct flavor. Sesame seeds may be chopped or crushed to resemble poppy seeds due to their similar flavor but different textures. Sesame seeds may be used in recipes in place of poppy seeds. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and Vitamin B.


1. Which Poppy Seeds Are Good in Pregnancy – White or Black Poppy?

Eating white poppy seeds while pregnant is advantageous as they are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Do Poppy Seeds Help to Increase Breastmilk?

Poppy seeds have relaxing properties. These seeds are great for helping a nervous new mother relax, which in turn helps produce more milk for the baby.

You should avoid eating poppy seeds while pregnant, regardless of whether or not you already eat them regularly. When it comes to other foods, you should consult with your doctor about the safest foods to consume during pregnancy if you have any concerns about them.


1. Niti Pathak, A.K. Rai, Ratna Kumari,; Value addition in sesame: A perspective on bioactive components for enhancing utility and profitability; National Library of Medicine;; July-December 2014

2. Rahman Ullah, M. Nadeem, A. Khalique,; Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review; National Library of Medicine;; April 2016

3. Poppy seeds;;

4. Spicing Up Your Life during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Are Spices and Herbs Ok?;;

5. Nuts and seeds;;

Also Read:

Eating Fennel Seeds during Pregnancy
Consuming Carom Seeds during Pregnancy
Benefits of Consuming Lotus Seeds in Pregnancy

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Priyadarshika is a passionate writer, who doesn’t hesitate from treading uncharted territories. She thoroughly enjoys the process of transforming thoughts into words and creating interesting reads. She likes sharing ideas and perspectives, and always ensures she is patient and persistent. She puts efforts to excel every day, whether it is at work or in her personal life. She is a blogger and a poet, and always demonstrates her skills creatively to add value to our content.