Can I eat papaya during pregnancy?
This is perhaps one of the most asked question when a woman learns about her pregnancy.
Many of the highly nutritious fruits and vegetables may prove to be dangerous for the developing fetus and progressing pregnancy. One of many such food items is papaya- commonly advised to be avoided by expecting women.
Can papaya cause miscarriage in early pregnancy? This article will help you to find out everything about eating papaya during pregnancy.
There are many beliefs about eating papaya during pregnancy. Conventionally, it is believed that eating papaya can set off miscarriage and premature labor.
According to Ayurvedia, papaya comes under heat generating foods -foods that increase the body core temperature. Heat generating foods are not recommended during pregnancy.
However, eating ripe papaya moderately during pregnancy causes no harm. Contrarily, it has many benefits during pregnancy.
Eating unripe papaya during pregnancy, in turn, can cause some complications.
Eating Papaya In Early Pregnancy
Eating an unripe (green) or semi-ripe papaya isn’t safe during pregnancy, especially in early pregnancy.
In the early months of pregnancy, the fetus will be so delicate, necessitating extreme care and support. If the fetus gets exposed to some kind of harmful substance during this period, no matter how small amount it is, it can adversely affect its normal development.
Raw papaya is considered hazardous to developing embryos as it contains a harmful substance called latex. Therefore, it is not safe to eat raw or semi-ripe papaya in early pregnancy.
Related Reading: 15 Fruits Not To Eat During Pregnancy
Can Eating Raw Papaya Cause Miscarriage?
Unripe or semi-ripe papaya contains a concentrated form of latex. The latex in papaya contains a substance called papain. This substance mimics Oxytocin- a hormone that triggers uterine contractions.
Thus, unripe papaya can potentially induce uterine contractions. Abnormal contractions at that stage of pregnancy can end up in miscarriage. So, when you are in the initial months of pregnancy, eating papaya can cause bleeding and miscarriage.
Papain also weakens the vital membranes of the fetus. Studies show that if the fetal membrane is damaged, it increases the risk of fetal mortality. Therefore, it will be wise to avoid papaya in early pregnancy.
Eating Papaya In The Later Stages Of Pregnancy
When you eat raw papaya during the last trimester of pregnancy, papain in papaya induces strong uterine contraction. This time instead of miscarriage and bleeding these contractions bring about preterm labor and delivery.
Eating raw papaya in the third trimester can also bring about bleeding from the edge of the placenta. Therefore, it is wise to refrain from consuming raw papaya at this stage of pregnancy.
Can Papaya Stop Early Pregnancy?
Yes, raw papaya might stop early pregnancy by inducing periods. For this, women have to eat large quantities of raw papaya boiled in water. They should continuously have it until they get their periods. The latex in unripe papaya together with the high concentration of vitamin C helps to induce period.
Even though eating raw papaya during pregnancy increases the chances of abortion, it is not a safe method to stop early pregnancy.
To stop a pregnancy, a large amount of latex should be consumed. This can bring about some potential side effects like kidney damage.
It cannot be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex as well. It is believed to hinder implantation because the papain in papaya can potentially suppress the production of the hormone progesterone that prepares the uterus for implantation.
Although it is true, eating lots of raw papayas immediately after unprotected sex may not give instant result as an emergency contraceptive pill.
Related Reading: 10 Common Causes Of Miscarriage
What Happens If I Eat Papaya During Pregnancy?
Eating ripe papaya during pregnancy is not only safe but beneficial as well for the fetus. On the other hand, raw papaya is the food not to eat if you want the pregnancy goes smoothly. Even cooking the unripe papaya makes it safe to eat during pregnancy.
Therefore, unripe and semi-ripe papayas are not safe even after cooking. It is important to understand the advantages of eating ripe papaya and the disadvantages of eating unripe papaya during pregnancy.
Here is what happens if you eat papaya during pregnancy:
Advantages of eating papaya during pregnancy
Ripe papaya is packed with nutrients that are highly beneficial during pregnancy. Ripe papaya is a rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It also contains a significant amount of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It is rich in fiber and folate.
- Eating ripe papaya during pregnancy helps to alleviate common pregnancy digestive issues like heartburn and constipation. However, regular use of ripe papaya to fight off constipation during pregnancy is not recommended.
- As it is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, eating ripe papaya enhances immunity and thereby helps to keep many common infections at bay. Being rich in folic acid, it is beneficial for the neurological development of the fetus.
- You can make a healthy tonic by blending a small portion of ripe papaya with some milk and honey. Consuming this nutritious mixture that carrying some extra benefits of milk and honey every now and then during pregnancy is advantageous.
- Eating ripe papaya during breakfast or in between meals helps to keep nausea at bay. The minerals in papaya encourage the production of RBC. This is very important as during pregnancy the volume of the blood increases by more than 50%.
Disadvantages of eating papaya during pregnancy
There is more to add to the disadvantages of eating papaya during papaya other than the increased risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, fetal malformation, and fetal mortality.
- Eating papaya regularly even in a moderate amount increases the risk of edema or water retention during pregnancy. Eating too much papaya during pregnancy increases the risk of kidney stones.
- The papain in papaya is well known for its ability in regularizing the menstrual cycle. However, this property of papaya increases the core body temperature. This can cause bleeding during pregnancy.
Safety Measures While Eating Ripe Papaya During Pregnancy
Even though it is relatively safe to eat ripe papaya once in a while during pregnancy, there are a few things to keep in mind while doing so. First of all, moderation is the key.
Also, have it once in a while.
Choose papaya that is fully ripe with yellow skin. Even though ripe, the fruit should be firm and clean. Never use the papaya if its skin has black spots, mould patches, or soft sunken areas.
Never eat ripe papaya along with its skin. Never ingest papaya seeds as well. Remove the skin along with the immediately underlying layer before eating. This is because even ripe papaya contains some amount of latex underneath its skin.
Related Reading: 12 Early Pregnancy Tips To Avoid Miscarriage
Drinking Papaya Juice During Pregnancy
Drinking freshly made papaya juice from fully ripe papaya in moderation is not harmful during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that papaya juice may not have all the nutritional benefits of ripe papaya.
Commercially available papaya juice is not safe during pregnancy as it misses an important component of fresh papaya- fiber. It may also contain added sugar and preservatives reducing its nutritional value.
Besides, papaya juice that comes in tetra packs may contain papaya concentrate. The level of latex or papain will be high in the juice that comes with papaya concentrate. Therefore, steer away from commercial papaya juice during pregnancy.
Instead, you can have a more beneficial papaya milkshake during pregnancy. As it is made with fruit pulp milk and honey, it can make a nutritional drink that you can have once in a while during pregnancy.
What Should I Do If I’ve Eaten Unripe Papaya?
If you accidentally eat some unripe papaya during pregnancy, no need to worry too much. To contract the potential harms mentioned above, a dangerous amount of latex should get into your body. For this, one has to ingest lots of raw papaya.
How Is Unripe Papaya Different From The Ripe One?
Unripe papaya retains all its natural enzymes. It contains a lot more active enzymes than its ripe version. These strong enzymes make raw papaya dangerous to ingest during pregnancy.
Ripe papaya is a great source of vitamin C and E, fiber, and folic acid. It also has antioxidants and vital minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron. Moreover, the latex content in ripe papaya is significantly low. Therefore if eat in moderation ripe papaya is highly beneficial for expecting mothers.
Let’s wrap it up
While many expecting mothers used to eat ripe papaya throughout their pregnancy to avail its benefits, some refrain from it during the first trimester. On the other hand, some women remove it altogether from their pregnancy diet.
Ultimately, it is the expecting woman who should decide if she wants to eat papaya. If you are craving papaya, there are no issues in eating fully ripe papaya every now and then. On the other hand, if there is any safety concern it is better to abstain from it. You can always find an alternate fruit that has all the benefits of papaya.
Those who have allergies to latex should never eat papaya. Never consume ripe papaya if you are under infertility treatment or conceived after a long wait. Also if you have a history of recurring miscarriage or preterm delivery never eat ripe papaya during pregnancy.