Does Sesame Seeds (Til) During Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage?

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Sesame seeds, also called Sesamum indicum, are the oldest oilseed crops known to be domesticated more than 3,500 years ago. We have brought some information about the safety of sesame seeds during pregnancy to help you out. These seeds have other names like gingelly, til, benne, or bene. Sesame seeds are available in different colors such as white, yellow, black, and red.

Eating these seeds in moderation does not harm your child. On the contrary, it provides nutritional benefits such as boosting the immune system and supporting digestion. However, you should avoid eating them in excess as they may have certain side effects. So, read on to know more about its safety, health benefits, and possible side effects when eaten in excess.

Is It Safe To Eat Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy?

There is a common misconception that sesame seeds can cause miscarriage. Tara Gidus, nutrition advisor for American baby magazine in her book, ‘Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies,’ says that certain foods have heat that could harm the baby. She also mentions that there is no science to prove this claim, and there is no need to avoid sesame seeds. Therefore, it is better to take them in moderation during pregnancy.

Many pregnant women across the world eat til and til products without negative effects and there is not any scientific evidence to indicate pregnancy miscarriage.

Sesame Seeds Nutrition And Benefits

  • Calcium: According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the recommended dietary allowance of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for pregnant women (1). Sesame seeds contain about 989mg of calcium per 100 grams (2).
  • Iron: Iron requirements double during pregnancy, and deficiency might cause anemia (3). The reference dietary intake (RDI) is 27mg per day (4), and sesame seeds are likely to give around 14.8mg per 100 grams (1).

Apart from these, sesame is believed to have other health-promoting nutrients in reasonable amounts that you need during pregnancy.

  • Sesame seeds contain calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, pottasium, and antioxidants. These seeds are rich in B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine, all of which will ensure proper development of the fetus.
  • Contain vitamin C, which can boost pregnant woman’s immune system.
  • It is a good source of  proteins and amino acids, which are neccesary for the proper development of the fetus.
  • Being a rich source of fibers, sesame can support digestion during pregnancy.
Sesame can support digestion

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  • Contain oleic acid, which keeps LDL levels low and improve HDL.
  • Research suggests that sesame seeds are effective in high blood pressure and may produce lower blood levels of sugar in women with diabetes. These seeds contain chemicals that help to reduce swelling and increase the skin wounds healing.

Eating sesame seeds is not harmful to pregnant women, but may arise an allergic reaction in some women. These women must avoid consuming sesame seeds.

NutrientRDA (4) (5)Per 100g of sesame seed (2)
Calories1800 – 2400 calories565kcal
Protein60g17g
Folate600μg98μg

If you are interested in adding sesame seeds to your diet, we’ll tell you how you can do that.

Ways To Include Sesame Seeds In Pregnancy Diet

Try tahini, Sesame seeds during pregnancy

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Some of the ways that you may choose to include sesame seeds in your everyday diet are:

  • Make a quick sesame dip (tahini), and eat with fresh vegetables.
  • Add some sesame seeds to the basic coriander or mint chutneys for extra taste and improved nutritional value.
  • Make chutney and eat with main dishes like steamed rice or quinoa.
  • Roasted sesame seeds can be used as a garnish in noodles, curries, and more.
  • Prepare til ladoo or chikki or revdi (Indian sweets), which can be your power-packed dessert options.

Sesame seeds add not only nutrition but also taste to your food. But that doesn’t mean you can have them beyond a limit.

Side-effects Of Consuming Excessive Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy

Avoid them if you have a history of allergies

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There might be a few risks associated with sesame seeds:

  • Do not eat them in excess during the first trimester when your pregnancy is still delicate. If you happen to see any spotting after eating sesame seeds, check with your doctor.
  • Avoid them if you have a history of allergies to seeds since seeds, including sesame, are among the common food allergens known in the US (6).

It is still advisable to check with your doctor before consuming them. Remember, moderation is always the key. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are black sesame seeds healthier than white sesame seeds?

Both black and white sesame seeds have the same composition, and differences only lie in taste and smell. Black seeds retain their hull, while white seeds have their hull removed. There is no science saying one is healthier than the other.

2. Is it safe to consume sesame oil (gingelly oil) during pregnancy?

Sesame seeds could be a good option, much like olive oil or canola oil, that may help meet your requirement of healthy fats. These fats might absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that may be important for you and your baby’s health.

Sesame seeds are nutrient-rich foods that contain essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron, folic acid, and magnesium. Consuming sesame seeds during pregnancy as a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet can benefit you and your unborn baby’s overall health. You can add sesame seeds to salads, homemade energy bars, or curries to enhance the meal’s nutritional value. However, keep their overall intake in moderation to avoid the side effects of excessive consumption. Cold-pressed sesame seeds oil is another way to include sesame seeds in your pregnancy diet.

References:

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. Pregnancy: Nutrition; Cleveland Clinic
2. Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted (170151); Basic report; USDA
3. Eat Smart to Prevent Iron Deficiency; Family Health Service; The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2019)
4. Michelle A. Kominiarek and Priya Rajan; Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation; Med Clin North Am (2017)
5. Eating right during pregnancy; U.S. National Library of Medicine
6. Food Allergy; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different...
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Dr. Irene (Eirini) Orfanoudaki

(PhD, MD)
Dr. Irene (Eirini) Orfanoudaki is a gynecologist-obstetrician, having a private practice in Heraklion, Crete, and collaborating with private health clinic 'MITERA' - Euromeda in Heraklion. With more than two decades of experience as a gynecologist-obstetrician, she specializes in ultrasound, colposcopy, minimal and advance gynecologic surgery, aesthetic gynecology, fertility consulting, menopause consulting, operative obstetrics, high-risk pregnancy, normal deliveries, antenatal, intra-parum, postnatal...
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