Let’s know about papaya during pregnancy. Whatever a woman eats during pregnancy has an effect on the unborn child. That is why it is important to know what a mother-to-be should eat or what not. Many harmless – looking food items can prove to be dangerous to a delicate and developing baby. One of the many such foods is papaya .
papaya during pregnancy
There are many dilemmas among pregnant women regarding the consumption of papaya. Ripe papaya can be beneficial if consumed with caution , but consuming unripe papaya during pregnancy can lead to complications.
In the early months or stages of pregnancy , the fetus is very delicate and needs utmost care. Even small amounts of harmful substances , such as latex , can cause significant harm. Raw papaya contains latex along with some other substances , which cause uterine contractions. Papaya latex contains vegetable pepsin or ‘papain’. This ‘papain’ acts like prostaglandins ( endogenous or body’s own substance ) and oxytocin ( a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland of the brain ) to cause contractions. Abnormal or abnormal uterine contractions in pregnancyMay cause miscarriage or premature birth of the baby. Papain also weakens the vital membrane of the fetus, due to which it becomes difficult for its survival, so during the first trimester, do not consume raw papaya at all .
During the third trimester or last three months of pregnancy, the enzyme ‘papain’ present in papaya causes uterine contractions which can induce preterm labor. Due to these problems, most women want to avoid consuming papaya in their diet. According to reports , eating unripe papaya during pregnancy can also cause spotting or bleeding from the edge of the umbilical cord.
Benefits of eating ( ripe ) papaya during pregnancy
Fully ripe papaya is generally considered safe and beneficial during pregnancy , here are some of its benefits :
- Latex , a component present in papaya, acts like prostaglandin and oxytocin and helps in controlling respiratory disorders.
- Ripe papayas are rich in vitamins A , B , C , potassium and beta – carotene , which have high levels of antioxidants and boost immunity.
- The supply of vitamins present in papaya improves immunity , which protects against various infections.
- Adequate amounts of vitamins also prevent ulcers and skin problems.
- The fiber present in papaya eases digestion : Constipation, a common problem during pregnancy, can be naturally resolved by papaya. However , consult your obstetrician regarding regular feeding.
- Papaya can help in relieving morning sickness .
- Papaya also contains folic acid , which is essential for the neurological development of the baby during pregnancy .
- Papaya helps in promoting better heart health and is also believed to prevent rectal cancer ( colon or colorectal cancer ) .
- Consumption of papaya may help in the increase of platelets in viral diseases during pregnancy , although this fact is not supported by scientific reports.
- Consuming ripe papaya in the right amount during pregnancy helps in increasing milk production.
Effects of Eating Papaya During Pregnancy
Some other effects of eating papaya during pregnancy are as follows :
1. Contraction in the uterus :
Unripe papaya contains latex or partially ripe papaya also contains papain which can stimulate prostaglandin and oxytocin , hormones that can cause uterine contractions and can also lead to preterm labor. Papaya can also cause miscarriage as it is a strong emmenagogue . It should not be consumed at all during the initial months of pregnancy. This is the period when the placenta is formed and the presence of an insufficient amount of latex may have the potential to harm the fetus.
2. Effect on fetal development :
Pepsin and papain can be harmful to the life and development of the fetus. According to the study, eating papaya during pregnancy can interfere with the development of the fetus , it can increase the risk of post-term pregnancy, and there is a potential harm to the fetus.
3. Weakens the vital membranes of the fetus :
Papain is often used for cell dissociation ( disintegration ) because it is a proteolytic enzyme. It is known to retard cell growth and may interfere with the development of tissues in the fetus.
4. Hemorrhage and edema ( swelling ) can be caused by :
Raw papaya can increase vascular pressure ( pressure on the vessels ) and even lead to internal bleeding in the placenta . Bleeding in the placenta , leading to pregnancy and delivery complications. Papaya can affect the development and function of the placenta .
5. Miscarriage can be caused due to excessive bowel movements :
Papaya increases intestinal motility . However , excess bowel movements can create pressure in and around the uterus, which can lead to miscarriage. Papaya is fiber – rich and it puts pressure on the stomach and intestines which can possibly lead to miscarriage .
6. Effects on the nervous system :
Papaya leaves and seeds contain the toxin carpine which can be harmful to the central nervous system.
7. Abortive and Teratogenic :
Papain and chymopapain , two enzymatic substances present in papaya, are both teratogenic ( harmful to fetal development ) and cause abortion.
8. Previous miscarriage / premature delivery and effect of papain :
Women who have had premature labor or miscarriage may be at additional risk from papain. Hence , such women should avoid papaya during pregnancy.
9. Promotes the production of estrogen :
The papain present in papaya also helps in regularizing the menstrual cycle. While there is no menstruation during pregnancy. Bleeding through the vagina can greatly increase the risk of an impending miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Papaya increases the body temperature and also increases the production of estrogen in the body .
10. Causes kidney stones and increases abdominal pressure :
Papaya contains vitamin C which is considered good for immunity, but consuming it in excess can cause kidney stone problems. Vitamin C metabolism produces oxalate which can promote stone formation. Stones can cause abdominal pain and this eventually leads to increased abdominal pressure which affects the pregnancy.
11. Affects blood sugar level :
If a pregnant woman has had gestational diabetes in the past , then it is unsafe to eat papaya during pregnancy.
12. Lightening of skin colour :
The beta carotene substance present in papaya gives it an orange colour. Its excess causes a problem known as carotenemia. Papaya should not be consumed in excess to avoid pigmentation of the skin.
Can you drink papaya juice ?
No , it is advised not to drink papaya juice available in the market. One of the great benefits of papaya is that this fruit is rich in fiber. Converting it into juice reduces its benefits. In addition , papaya juice available in tetra packs may contain its essence. The percentage content of latex or papain elements in such juices is higher than expected. So , if you want to have papaya juice then home made juice is a better option. Preservatives and added sugars can reduce its beneficial properties . Consume the juice fresh and in moderation.
Risks of Consuming Raw Papaya During Pregnancy
Raw papaya contains high amount of ‘latex’. Consuming raw papaya during pregnancy can have harmful effects on your pregnancy.
As the immune system is weakened , women become more prone to diseases and allergies during pregnancy .
- The latex in a papaya can cause a latex allergy and the reaction can be fatal.
- Women who have had difficulty conceiving or have had miscarriages in the past should avoid papaya. Studies show that unripe papaya affects the development of the fetus as well.
- Raw papaya causes abortion. It contains many types of harmful enzymes , which can cause miscarriage and bleeding .
- You should avoid swallowing papaya seeds and leaves as they can harm the fetus. Buy some green papaya while buying papaya , it can be cooked at home in time. Papayas with black spots or blemishes should be avoided.
- A well-ripe papaya is a great choice , with an orange rind that is soft to the touch.
- Papaya is an economical fruit , its tree can be easily planted in your premises and you can enjoy an organic papaya.
Is papaya good for pregnant women ?
Consumption of ripe papaya in moderation is beneficial for pregnant women. It is proven that pregnant women can eat ripe papaya. It is considered a common myth in India that papaya causes abortion but this has not been proved scientifically. In fact , a ripe papaya is replete with nutrients that are essential for the unborn baby and is a great option for a pregnancy diet. This fruit also helps in curing common pregnancy ailments like constipation. A pregnant woman can benefit from consuming ripe papaya in moderation.
Is it safe to eat papaya after delivery ?
Many women ask this question – is it safe to eat ripe papaya after delivery ?
Yes , papaya is an important source of essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming raw papaya boosts the production of oxytocin hormone in the body and hence increases the flow of breast milk. Similarly, it is beneficial for lactating mothers. Include papaya in your postnatal diet to nourish and bond better with your baby. Have you ever wondered whether papaya can prevent pregnancy ? The answer is again the same yes it can.
With its hormonal effects, papaya can act as a natural method of contraception , but is less so than other methods of contraception.
Since the consumption of ripe or unripe papaya is a controversial topic , most women choose to avoid papaya completely during pregnancy. However , it can be consumed in moderation without worrying about adverse effects on the baby , provided there is no prior history of complications in the pregnancy. In fact , the right nutrients in papaya help in the development of the baby.