Many ingestible enzymes are a matter of debate during pregnancy, including some fruits such as papaya. It is believed that this fruit must be avoided if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. However, the fruit is full of vitamins, nutrients and can help with indigestion and other health issues, making it a fine choice. So can you have papaya in pregnancy?
The answer is: yes and no. Let us explain.
Can You Eat Papaya in Pregnancy?
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While there is also a common belief that eating papaya can cause miscarriage, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) says that there are actually no documented cases where eating such fruits in pregnancy lead to baby loss.
Yes, eating fully ripe papaya is safe during pregnancy.
Papaya or ‘angel of fruits’ is derived from a herb plant and is famous across the world. However, gynaecologists recommend consuming fully ripe papaya in moderation, especially during pregnancy. That is because it has a fair amount of Vitamin C and A.
Vitamin C in papaya: An incremental dose of the former can increase the risk of preterm birth and upset the stomach. Ideally, you should consume upto 85 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C per day if you’re 19 and older. The maximum daily amount of Vitamin C that’s considered safe for women in this age group is 2,000 mg.
Vitamin A in papaya: As for Vitamin A, studies suggest that too much of its consumption can potentially lead to malformations in children. The ideal dosage of Vitamin A is 10,000 IU per day.
It is also rich in calcium, magnesium, folate, fibre, and potassium–while all good–can be harmful for the baby if not consumed in moderation.
On the contrary, many pregnant women find papaya helpful in preventing and controlling constipation and heartburn. If you have papaya for breakfast or in between meals, chances are you will keep symptoms like morning sickness and nausea at bay.
According to a study conducted on rats in different stages of pregnancy, consuming ripe papaya during pregnancy poses no significant danger. At the same time, unripe or semi-ripe papaya can be unsafe during pregnancy.
However, if you are considering eating an unripe papaya, that is a big ‘No.’
Why is Unripe Papaya Unsafe in Pregnancy?
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Unripe (green), semi-ripe, or raw papaya is considered dangerous for pregnant women. Here are some reasons why:
Papaya contains a substance called latex, which might trigger uterine contractions.
Papain in papaya might trigger early labour.
Latex in papaya may cause allergies such as the runny nose, skin rashes, and swelling in the mouth.
Papaya enzymes can cause fluid retention that might reduce the blood circulation in the body.
It may cause one of the life-threatening allergies called Anaphylaxis.
And, papaya may alleviate respiratory problems in some women.
So How Can You Eat Papaya During Pregnancy?
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Many women enjoy the benefits of papaya in pregnancy without any problems. Some women prefer to avoid the fruit during the first and second trimester. And few may take away the fruit from their diet entirely. However, you can eat papaya by keeping a few things in mind:
Choose fully-ripe, clean, and fresh papaya.
Avoid papaya that has brown or black spots.
Never eat the skin and seeds of papaya.
Eat the fruit in moderation.
Consult your doctor before consuming the fruit.
Watch out for any unusual symptoms after eating papaya.
But in case you do not want to eat it as is, here are some ways in which you can eat papaya in pregnancy.
Three Ways to Eat Papaya in Pregnancy
1. Papaya Juice: Blend a small portion of ripe papaya and add milk or curd and honey to it. This blend is an excellent source of vital nutrients for pregnant women and nursing mothers. You can have it during evening snack time.
2. Papaya Smoothie: If you are not in the mood for a wholesome breakfast, then make some papaya and mango smoothie. Take half cup papaya and a cup of chopped mangoes and add some sugar (optional). Combine and blend all ingredients until smooth. It’s a flavourful recipe filled with antioxidants and vitamins.
3. Papaya Salad: Whether you are pregnant or not, salads are great. You need to take half a bowl of ripe cut papaya, a cup of chopped avocado, half a cup peeled pomegranate, and a few cherry tomatoes to make papaya salad. Mix all of them gently in a bowl and add your favourite salad dressing to enhance the flavour.
In the end, you know what is best for you. If you are unsure or have doubts regarding the fruit, it is best to consult with your gynaecologist to understand papaya’s effects during pregnancy.
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