Seed Cycling and Pregnancy Before, During and After.

Seed cycling is a gentle way to re-establish normal hormonal rhythms for women, but many people have questions about what to do around seed cycling and pregnancy.  If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of seed cycling you can read about the basics here and I’ll add a visual how-to before we get started. Here are some thoughts.

Seed Cycling for hormone balance adds seeds into your diet following the rhythm of your body or the moon. Seed cycling and pregnancy are a natural fit.

Seed Cycling for hormone balance adds seeds into your diet following the rhythm of your body or the moon. Seed cycling and pregnancy are a natural fit.

Seed Cycling and Pre-Pregnancy Fertility Boost

Naturally anything that helps to normalize your cycle will ultimately boost fertility so seed cycling and pregnancy go hand-in-hand.  In preparing for pregnancy your body is trying to create a soft landing space for a fertilized egg, a cushy spot to settle down and take nourishment. That cushy spot is created via the hormones – estrogen to thicken the uterine lining (in the first half of the cycle) and progesterone to ripen that lining and make it ultimately inhabitable for a fertile egg.  Both halves of the woman’s cycle need to be strong for this to occur and seed cycling helps to encourage that balance.  Days 1 (the first day of your period) through day 14 (when you ovulate) are called the follicular phase. They are building uterine lining and also ripening a strong egg. The flax and pumpkin seeds that you take during those days help to bring healthy estrogen levels while blocking conversion to unhelpful androgenic hormones like DHT.

Day 14 and the window around that time (24-48 hours) is your fertile time – the time when you are most likely to conceive.  Strong ovulations need a healthy estrogen spike nurtured by the hormone balance achieved in Days 1-14.

After ovulation through the rest of your cycle is called the luteal phase and is dominated by the hormone progesterone, which is encouraged by the combination of sunflower and sesame seeds. Progesterone is released by the pocket on the ovary out of which that month’s fertile egg came, called the corpus luteum. If the egg is successfully fertilized (meaning you get pregnant) then progesterone levels must stay elevated to help the egg to implant into the uterus and to prevent your body from flushing out the uterine lining (to prevent your next period).

Encouraging good progesterone levels, is in fact one of the most important factors in keeping viable early pregnancies, especially in older women who are trying to get pregnant or women who have unbalanced hormone pictures that are shifted towards estrogen (like PCOS, endometriosis, and many cases of multiple pregnancy loss). Happily in the implanting days women who are seed cycling are already encouraging progesterone with the sunflower seed and sesame combination.  But what to do when you find out you are pregnant?  That depends very much on you.

Seed Cycling and Pregnancy

Once women become pregnant seeds in your diet can still be highly supportive, but it helps to have some idea of your hormone balance before hand, and the “cycle” of menstruating is no longer happening.  In fact, hormonally pregnancy becomes almost a hyper-extension of the luteal phase.

Progesterone in Luteal phase:  1 – 28 ng/ml. Average is 10-15
Progesterone in First Trimester: 9 – 47 ng/ml
Progesterone in Second Trimester: 17 – 146 ng/ml
Progesterone in Third Trimester: 49 – 300

As you can see, progesterone levels are on the rise through the entire pregnancy and logically to support that some women take the theory that they should continue the luteal phase seeds – sesame and sunflower.  Others feel that all the seeds provide support and so choose to do steady amounts of all seeds on a consistent basis.

*One good tip to remember* If you’re trying to get pregnancy it’s important to continue the luteal-phase seeds (sesame/sunflower) until you actually have a period, just in case you are pregnant that month. This gives the egg the best chance at implantation.

Women who have a history of estrogen dominance,  repeated miscarriages, or are “advanced maternal age”:

For these women progesterone support can help to keep the pregnancy viable and often prescription progesterone is given.  Seeds can help as well. Women in this category can use all sunflower/sesame through the pregnancy or a 2:1 ratio of sunflower and sesame: flax and pumpkin.  These seeds are not a substitute for prescription progesterone, but they can be safely used in combination with prescription progesterone. I personally feel that all the seeds are supportive and so taking all of them each day during pregnancy gives the biggest nutritional boost. In this case a good mix would be:

2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Young women with typically balanced hormones and normal pregnancy history:

Although pregnancy is still a higher progesterone time, women who have healthy balanced hormones should have no problem maintaining the progesterone levels needed. In these cases equal amounts of all seeds can be used or the ratios can be weighted towards sunflower/sesame if that is your choice. So:

1 – 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 – 2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

This can be continued through the entire pregnancy as well as the early months of nursing (up to about 6 months post-partum). This seems to help many women soften the post-partum emotional changes that can occur because of the huge hormone nose-dive.

Seed Cycling for Post-Pregnancy Restoration of Cycle

After delivery some women have a hard time with the sharp drop of progesterone that happens along with the normalization of estrogen levels. Continuing the steady doses of seeds suggested in the pregnancy section can help to smooth out some of the rough edges, but there will come a time when your body moves more towards reestablishing it’s normal rhythm. Some women have a sense of this, whether it’s from changing nursing habits of their baby to hormonal symptoms like skin changes and some women really don’t feel it happening until they get their first cycle.  If you start to feel changes then I typically suggest re-starting seed cycling then according to the lunar phase. If you don’t particularly feel anything then around 6-9 months or when your baby really starts to be interested in solid foods you can restart (also according to lunar phase).  If your body surprises you with your first period out of the blue, then start seed cycling using day 1 of that cycle as your starting place.

In every phase of pre-, during and post- pregnancy make sure that your maternity care team and doctors are aware of your seed cycling routine and that they don’t have any concerns for your particular pregnancy. Seed cycling and pregnancy is generally lovely, but may not be right for you so do check with your doctor.

Also – here’s the moon phases, just in case you need those.


11 thoughts on “Seed Cycling and Pregnancy Before, During and After.

  1. T

    I am in the early stages of pregnancy (4.5 weeks) and have been seed cycling for about 3 months. I was told I have PCOS but have had regular periods for at least 6 months. This month was our 3rd try and got the positive. I just want to know what you suggest by way of seed cycling. Do I continue? Thanks.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi T,
      Congratulations! That’s awesome. I actually ended up writing a whole blog post about seed cycling in pregnancy because so many people were asking. In good news, the seeds are highly nutritive and entirely safe in pregnancy. As with everything else – trust your intuition. If your body doesn’t really like or feel well with the seeds right now, then stop them. If you find that you’re craving them, then you can add more. Congratulations again!

  2. Rebekah

    My cycle is off kilter since my first child, and I am hoping to get it back on track with some seed cycling (and a fertility diet) so that we can conceive again.

    With an irregular cycle, it’s hard to know when to switch the type of seeds. My past 4 cycles have looked like this: Period starts on day 1, ovulation between days 33-35 (known through temperature tracking, ovulation test, and cervical mucus), period starts just 5-9 days after ovulation.

    So, obviously, something is off with the super short luteal phase. Should I wait until ovulation to switch seeds? It wouldn’t help to ovulation sooner if I switched sooner, right?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Rebekah,
      Great question! Best is to switch seeds when you’re supposed to ovulate – day 14 – 15. Even though your cycle is really long, we really want to pump up that luteal phase, so it’s important to have lots of the progestrogen boosters. Obviously it won’t track to your ovulation right away, but hopefully after a few months you’ll see your cycle becoming shorter and more regular and the ovulation moving closer to where it’s supposed to be. Good luck and keep me posted!

  3. Alicia

    Trying to conceive-

    I think I might have low estrogen at the beginning of my cycle (I have a too thin uterine lining). Do you think taking the flax is still a good idea?

    I’m concerned about taking evening primrose oil as 1) it gives me headaches and 2) it can cause uterine contractions. Can I substitute another GLA source such as hemp or spirulina?

    I had been taking fish oil every day; should I stop it during the 2nd half of my cycle?


    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Alicia,
      I do think the flax is still a good idea – it helps to balance the estrogens and prevents some of the worse forms from building up, but shouldnt’ decrease good levels. If the EPO gives you headaches then I’d suggest trying Borage oil. Hemp oil is an estrogen promotor for some women and so wouldn’t be a good idea for that part of your cycle. I would try stopping the fish oil for part of your cycle. It’s nice to complement the seeds with the oils – especially at first while we’re trying to get things balanced. Keep me posted, I’ll be eager to hear how it goes for you! Also let me know if you have any trouble wtih the borage oil.

      1. Alicia

        Thanks. I’m reading up on borage seed oil and am finding people don’t recommend it during pregnancy as it could cause fetal defects. I hesitate to take something while trying to get pregnant that could be dangerous when pregnant, so I’m not sure what to use instead of fish oil for the 2nd half of my cycle. Any thoughts?

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Fair point! So – I’d say no to the hemp just because hemp itself is estrogenic, but if you can find a spirulina source GLA then let’s try that one. I have less experience with it, but GLA should be GLA. Keep me posted!

  4. Jill

    Thank you. This post is very interesting and detailed. I’m have irregular cycles and am trying to conceive with no luck so am planning on seed cycling after reading your post.

    If I fall pregnant during the luteal phase while taking sesame and sunflower seeds but do not wish to continue to take them, how can I safely stop taking them to avoid harming my chances of staying pregnant?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jill,
      Great question! As far as I’m aware there isn’t any risk of harm to the pregnancy or the fetus by stopping the seeds, although just in case it might be a good idea to taper them down over a week or so. Just maybe do 1 tablespoon one day, then 2.5 teaspoons (there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, just FYI) for a couple of days, then 2 teaspoons, etc… I honestly think it would be fine to stop cold turkey, but just in case you might as well taper. Best of luck to you!

  5. Pingback: Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance | To Health WIth That!

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