One Thing You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

As if pregnancy isn't stressful enough: you struggle to eat right, sleep enough, avoid chemicals, and do everything possible to ensure that new life you're growing is healthy. Now a little seed could add a lot more concern to those nine months - by causing false positive drug test results.

The poppy seed is a popular ingredient in many pastries and dressings, and the perfect topping on loaf of crusty bread. But there is a downside, according to Michael Marcotte, MD , Director of Quality and Safety for TriHealth Women's Services . Although moms-to-be may simply be indulging in a pregnancy craving, Marcotte says that consumption of poppy seeds can actually be enough to produce a positive drug test in pregnant women.

Since 2013, every new mom in Cincinnati is tested for drugs so doctors know to treat the babies who are born to drug-addicted mothers. This testing came, in part, because of the rising epidemic of heroin use throughout the area.

To avoid this, know that the closer poppy-seeds are consumed to the time a drug test is taken, the more likely the drug test will come up positive.

Consequently, eating poppy seeds during the end of the last trimester could unintentionally lead your care team to conduct routine procedures for identifying babies with opiate exposure. This might include things like:

  • newborns being kept in the hospital longer for evaluation of potential opiate withdrawal and testing of opiate levels
  • introducing social worker consultations - ultimately causing unnecessary stress on the family
  • contacting child protective services (a requirement of suspected abuse by parents)

While this may seem farfetched, Dr. Marcotte says this issue actually occurs a couple times a month - completely unrelated to actual opiate use. Unfortunately, the test only indicates a "positive" or "negative" status. A second, more thorough test will be able to indicate a more accurate identification of high or low levels.

What to Avoid

Since poppy seeds are a popular ingredient in many great foods, Dr. Marcotte says the safest thing pregnant women can do to reduce unnecessary stress for everyone involved, is to avoid poppy seeds in the last 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.

Tags Women's Health

Last Updated: April 19, 2016