Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy: Uses And Possible Side Effects

check_icon Research-backed

Image: Shutterstock


Fennel seeds, commonly known as Saunf in Hindi, are mildly sweet and aromatic herbs used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Several women are unsure of the safety of using fennel seeds during pregnancy.

These seeds are commonly used in Indian and Middle-eastern recipes. They can also be used as mouth fresheners. However, little research has been done to understand their safety during pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is believed that consuming fennel in small quantities does not have any harmful effects on the baby.

Read this post further to learn about the benefits of eating fennel seeds during pregnancy and how to include them in your diet, and learn some of its possible side effects.

Is It Healthy To Eat Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy?

There is not enough research indicating that consumption of fennel seeds could be safe during pregnancy. However, small amounts of these seeds are not known to have any harmful effect on the mother or the baby. You may have them to get relief from gas and bloating (1).

How Are Fennel Seeds Useful During Pregnancy?

Fennel seeds are used as a herbal remedy for treating certain ailments. Some of them are mentioned next.

  1. Fennel seeds are used for nausea and morning sickness that is common during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. They contain anesthetic components that help reduce the queasy feeling in the tummy (2).
  1. The anti-flatulence property of fennel seeds relaxes the intestinal muscles. It is therefore useful in giving relief from indigestion and bloating (3).
  1. They are known to stimulate the liver to produce bile, promote digestion, and thus increase appetite (4).

How To Include Fennel Seeds In Pregnancy?

Fennel seeds are slightly sweet and have a great aroma. You can use them as:

  • Flavoring agents for cooking
  • A breath freshener after a meal
  • Herbs to make a tea that helps curb nausea

Fennel Tea Recipe For Pregnancy Nausea

Fennel tea has excellent medicinal properties and offers relief from several pregnancy issues.

You will need:

How to make:

  1. Crush or powder the fennel seeds in a blender.
  2. Take water in a bowl and bring it to a boil. Add the crushed fennel seeds into the boiling water.
  3. Close with a lid, and turn off the gas.
  4. Let it remain for five minutes and then filter the brewed tea.
  5. Mix either jaggery or honey according to your preference.
  6. Sip while warm

Consuming fennel seeds in little amounts will not cause any harm. But, you should be cautious before including them in your pregnancy diet.

Possible Side Effects Of Eating Fennel Seeds During Pregnancy

Some of the potentially harmful effects of consuming fennel seeds during pregnancy are mentioned here.

  • They might affect the blood’s ability to clot. Avoid them if you have any bleeding disorder as it makes you prone to bruises and excessive bleeding.
  • Fennel seeds tend to make the skin drier and should be avoided if you have sensitive skin. People allergic to some vegetables/ plants such as carrot, celery and mugwort show allergic responses to fennel as well (5).
  • They possess emmenagogue properties and will stimulate menstrual flow, causing vaginal bleeding that could ultimately lead to miscarriage (6).

Given that there are not enough studies to determine the harmful effects and safety of fennel seeds during pregnancy, it is better to consult your Ob/GYN before consuming them. Their distinct taste and flavor may aid with morning sickness, but if taken in excess or in the presence of any underlying illness, they may cause complications. Therefore consult with your doctor about the recommended amount and opt for any safer common alternatives such as ginger or lemon that could provide similar benefits and relief from nausea or vomiting.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Joel Evans & Robin Aronson; The Whole Pregnancy Handbook: An Obstetrician’s Guide to Integrating Conventional and Alternative Medicine Before, During, and After Pregnancy
2. Dr Irina Webster; Healthy Pregnancy From A To Z: An Expectant Parent’s Guide To Wellness; page 153
3. Fennel; Flavor Essentials A Study Of Herbs And Spices; Whatcom Community College (WCC) (2009)
4. Mashalah Daneshvar et al.; Effects of biological and chemical fertilizers nitrogen on yield quality and quantity in Fennel (Foeniculumvulgare Mill); International Journal of Biosciences | IJB | (2014)
5. James L et al.; Spice allergy; CME review; Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol (2011)
6. Ouis Nawel et al.; Effect of the Essential Oils from Parsley and Fennel Seeds on the Growth of Lactobacillus Casei Subsp Rhamnosus; OMICS International (2012)
The following two tabs change content below.

Dr. Shikha Sharma

Celebrity nutrition advisor Dr. Shikha Sharma has founded Dr. Shikha’s Nutrihealth in 1998. Dr. Shikha has done her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and her organization, Dr. Shikha's NutriHealth, has over 50 Ayurveda experts and nutritionists who provide consultation services to the clients. The Nutrihealth expert team handles weight loss/weight gain, PCOS, thyroid, diabetes, cholesterol, post-pregnancy weight loss and... more

Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more