Q&A: Are sesame seeds safe while pregnant?

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Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? It can be absolutely baffling trying to keep up with all the latest recommendations surrounding food safety during pregnancy. One of the foods that you may have heard some negative things about is sesame seeds. So, is it safe to eat sesame seeds while you’re pregnant?

Turns out the only sesame in your pregnant life doesn’t have to be on the TV, read on to find out more.

What could possibly be the problem with sesame seeds?

Firstly, and probably obviously, if you’re allergic to sesame seeds, that’s a big issue. Sesame allergies can be quite severe and can even bring on anaphylaxis. If you’ve always been allergic, don’t start suddenly eating them while pregnant.

It’s also not considered appropriate in some cultures. For example, some Indian women believe that sesame seed is a uterine stimulant and can bring on early labour. The Western medical community doesn’t seem to back this one up, but if it’s culturally important to you then you do you :-)

The most significant risk with sesame seeds, however, is salmonella poisoning. Current guidelines recommend avoiding any raw sesame seeds.

So should I avoid anything containing sesame?

Not necessarily, as with many of the “dangerous” foods during pregnancy, they can be consumed safely if cooked. The Royal Women’s Hospital recommends avoiding any ready-to-eat products such as tahini, hummus and halva. If you can find clear evidence that they are heat-treated then they should be ok, but it’s probably not worth the risk. Sesame seeds present in stir-fries, on the top of bread, or on any other cooked foods should be ok.

If you know you’ve eaten something containing sesame seeds, and suddenly start to feel unwell, then it’s probably worth mentioning to your doctor just in case.

Sesame seeds do have some great health benefits when included as part of a healthy balanced diet. If you enjoy them and are following good food safety protocols, then there’s no real reason they should be avoided completely.

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