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Eating papaya during pregnancy - Safe or Not?

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  • November 4, 2020
  • MKB Team

Everything that you consume during your pregnancy affects your child in some way or the other. Hence, it is important to know what you should or shouldn’t be eating for your safety as well as the safety of your unborn child. Plenty of foods that look harmless may actually be the devil in disguise! These might be detrimental to the health of the developing child. Unripe papaya or papita during pregnancy is one such food item although fully ripe papayas are generally considered safe and often beneficial during pregnancy.

Papaya during Pregnancy

There is a lot of confusion in the minds of women when it comes to eat papaya during pregnancy. This is why many women remove papaya from their diet altogether during pregnancy. However, ripe papaya, when eaten with caution and moderation, can be beneficial during pregnancy. But unripe papayas during pregnancy are a big no-no as they may cause many complications.

Benefits of Eating Ripe Papaya in Pregnancy

  • Well-ripened papaya is rich in vitamins C and A. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate and fibre.
  • Ripe papaya helps to prevent and control constipation and heartburn.
  • Latex, an ingredient in papaya, helps control respiratory disorders.
  • Ripe papayas are also rich in Vitamin A, B, C, potassium, and beta-carotene. All of these are blessed with high antioxidant content and boost your immunity just like the vitamin supply from papaya does.
  • The vitamin supply from ripe papaya not only protects you from infections, but also eradicates ulcers and skin problems. Digestion is facilitated by the fibres in ripe papaya, which also help to battle constipation and morning sickness.
  • The folic acid present in ripe papaya enhances the neurological development of the baby.
  • Heart health is enhanced by ripe papayas and they are said to prevent colon cancer. 
  • Consuming the right amount of ripe papayas helps increase breast milk production.

Negative Effects of Eating Unripe Papaya during Pregnancy

Is papaya good for pregnancy? Well, the good news is that while ripe papaya is good, apparently the unripe one has certain negative effects, and should be avoided.  

Can cause Uterine (Womb) Contractions

During early pregnancy, the foetus is delicate and you must take utmost care of it, protecting it even from the substance that causes the slightest harm, latex for example. The latex in unripe papaya has substances like pepsin and papain, that may cause uterine or womb contractions. These unnatural contractions during pregnancy might cause miscarriage or lead to premature birth. 

Impedes Foetal Development

Pepsin and papain may also impede foetal development and be of potential harm to the embryo. They can hamper cell growth and tissue development in the foetus. 

Causes Internal Haemorrhage

During the final stage of pregnancy, consumption of unripe papaya can raise vascular pressure and also cause internal haemorrhage or bleeding in the placenta, thus affecting its development and functions. This can lead to pregnancy and delivery-related complications. 

Increases Bowel Movement

Unripe papaya sometimes brings about excess bowel movement to create pressure in and around the uterus and cause a miscarriage. Papaya is fibre rich, and the pressure it puts on the stomach and intestines can possibly lead to a miscarriage.

Affects the Nervous System

The seeds and leaves of papaya contain carpine, a toxin that harms the central nervous system.

How much papaya to take during pregnancy?

One bowl of ripe papaya during pregnancy should be enough. It is important to eat whatever you can properly digest during pregnancy. Here are a few things to keep in mind while eating papaya during pregnancy.

  • Always pick a papaya that is ripe, fresh and clean. Avoid any fruit that is green, has brown or black spots, soft sunken areas or mould patches.
  • Don’t eat any papaya skin or seeds. Always remove the seeds, and carefully cut the fleshy part away from the skin. It's best not to eat the flesh of the fruit directly out of the skin.
  • Last but not the least, eat the fruit in moderation.

On a lighter vein, here are a few Amazing Papaya Facts that you will enjoy.

  • The papaya tree can grow from seed to a 20 foot, fruit bearing tree in less than 18 months. The fruit can range in size from 1 to 20 pounds.
  • The exact origin of papaya is unknown but it is believed to be native to southern Mexico and neighbouring Central America.
  • September is National Papaya Month.
  • The white powder sold as “Meat Tenderizer” is composed mainly of an enzyme extract from the papaya, called papain.
  • There are two types of papayas, the Hawaiian and the Mexican.
  • Most people only eat the sweet delicious flesh, but you can also eat the small, black seeds in the center of the fruit. The seeds taste like black pepper. People in some countries use papaya seeds in place of black peppercorns.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Have something to share with us? Do write into us with your suggestions, questions, and tips related to this article! We’d love to hear from you.  

Q & A

You ask and we answer!

Is Papaya safe for pregnancy?

Swapna Kulkarni, Pune.

If you are pregnant, avoid eating unripe papaya. It contains a latex substance that may cause contractions of the uterus. Ripe papaya in moderation is safe. 

Which fruits should be avoided during pregnancy?

Pallavi Barua, Guwahati.

Pregnant women are advised to stay away from Pineapple, Grapes, Papaya, Watermelons and Peach.

Does papaya really induce periods?

Sheetal Shah, Navi Mumbai.

Papaya is the most effective home remedy available to prepone periods. Raw papaya stimulates contractions in the uterus and can help in inducing periods. The carotene present in papaya stimulates the estrogen hormone thereby inducing early period.

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MKB Team

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