Papaya in Pregnancy: Is it dangerous?

Motherhood: A journey

Motherhood is a magical time of any woman’s life. The beautiful feeling of being a mother is magical and full of rejoicing. It lets you unlock the little moments of life every single day as you experience your baby grow in your womb and grow as a mother with your baby. The experience of being a mother comes with a wave of happiness as well as stress. Ensuring the best for your baby’s health becomes your top-most priority, and it would rightly be so.

While the baby is still in your womb; what you eat is what the baby eats. Thus, you have to be overly precautious of your eating habits and your lifestyle since it has a direct effect on your baby’s health. The news of welcoming a baby gets everyone excited and elated, but there are a number of responsibilities that come along with the blissful preparations. This becomes a major topic of concern for all the mamas and dadas to be. It is on them to take care of the nutrition and ensure the good health of their incoming baby as well as the expecting mother as that is what majorly affects and impacts the health of the developing fetus.

Fetus: A priority

This makes nutrition of the ‘mommy-to-be’ of great importance. That’s the biggest question that arises when we talk about the health and growth of the developing baby in the mother’s womb. As an expecting mommy, you would have all sorts of people advising you on ‘what to eat’ and ‘what not to eat.’ Your loved ones, family, relatives, friends, colleagues and even your neighbours would grow concerned about your health and impart their suggestions about your health and the baby’s nutrition. These nine months are going to be a glimpse of ‘are you eating right?’ from almost everyone around you! While there are a number of foods that an expecting woman should consume during pregnancy, there is also a long list of products that are a big no-no! Some of these products are said to hamper the growth of your baby in the womb while some are even said to cause miscarriages.

The topic of consuming Papaya

One such food that has a lot of talks going around is the fruit Papaya. Papaya has a bad reputation when it comes to the nutrition of pregnant woman. It is claimed to be unsafe for both the mother and the fetus. But how true are these claims? Here’s Mamanbaba bringing for you the truth behind Papaya in Pregnancy

Should I consume Papaya in Pregnancy?

The answer is both yes and no. This causes heavy confusion and discussion over the consumption of Papaya in Pregnancy. The researches show that ripe papaya is good for women in pregnancy while unripe papaya is not good for pregnant women and can also be hazardous for the fetus. Unripe papaya can cause serious damage to the fetus and can also lead to miscarriages in some cases.

The yellow skin of the papaya is referred to as ripe papaya. Ripe papaya is a natural, rich and healthy source of beta-carotene, fiber, folate, choline, vitamins A, B, and C, and potassium. All of these nutrients are extremely important and beneficial for pregnant women and provide a source of nutrition that helps in the growth and advancement of the fetus.

The green skin of the papaya is referred to as unripe papaya. Unripe papaya is a natural and rich source of papain and latex. Both these ingredients are harmful to the baby and most importantly ‘latex’ that can cause a lot of troubles to the fetus.

The type of latex found in unripe papaya should be avoided by pregnant women for the following reasons

  1. It might lead to or trigger uterine contractions. This may result in early labor causing the baby to come out of the womb while it is still not fully-developed or grown
  2. Unripe papaya also happened to consist Papain that your body may end up mistaking for prostaglandins which are sometimes used to induce labor
  3. This ends up weakening the vital membranes that are required for supporting the fetus
  4. This is a commonly experienced allergic reaction that can possibly trigger a dangerous reaction

What do the researchers say about Papaya in Pregnancy?

“It is safe to eat ripe papaya,” says Rebecca McManamon, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA). “But, while there’s no evidence to say unripe papaya is unsafe for pregnant women, it might be best to avoid it.”

She continues by saying that some cultures have a mention of consuming papaya in pregnancy leads to miscarriages. There is no evidence to prove the same. However, a lab-based research carried out on uterine (womb) muscle of rats states that the high concentration of latex found in unripe papaya could cause uterine contractions.

What happens if a pregnant woman consumes unripe papaya in pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and have consumed the yellow-skinned papaya juice, the ripe one, you should be totally okay. But you should avoid consuming the unripe part (green color) of the papaya in a juice or a smoothie for all the important reasons mentioned above. And if you already have consumed the juice and you are unsure about what part of papaya it was, you can consult your doctor. To be on the safer side, we suggest you skip the papaya juice altogether since it was prepared by someone else so you cannot be sure of what parts of the papaya is the juice made up of.

In a nutshell: Papaya in Pregnancy

While ripe papaya is a source of good nutrition for pregnant women, unripe papaya can be dangerous to their health and that of their baby. There are some women that continue to consume ripe papaya during their pregnancy while some choose to eliminate papaya altogether from their diet till after the birth. You should consult your doctor about the proper nutrition you need to consume and the foods you should avoid

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