Papaya in Pregnancy: Can it cause miscarriage?
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Papaya in Pregnancy: Can it cause miscarriage?

With the heart pouring joy of carrying a new life, comes the throbbing anxiety of walking down this new path. Wishes and advice start pouring in no time. In no time, you find yourself about baffled what to do and what not to do. One such popular advice is ‘don’t eat papaya in pregnancy’.  

Diet and nutrition are a very important part of pregnancy. 

Everything that the mother eats affects the child. 

Food can either feed and nourish the child or it can harm the child. 

Dry fruits, saffron, milk, fruits nourish the little one.

While foods like papaya and pineapple should be avoided.

Though these foods are super healthy and nutritious, they are a no-no in pregnancy.

You must have heard the doctors and midwives say – ‘If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you must avoid papaya’.

For ages, this fruit is said to cause miscarriage and it is often avoided during this time.

Well, it’s not only an old wife’s tale!

Unripe or semi-ripe papaya can be harmful in pregnancy

Also Read: Can delayed sleep timing during pregnancy cause post-partum depression?

Why you should avoid papaya in pregnancy?

Well, not all papayas are bad.

It’s the unripe papaya that contains a latex substance which may cause uterine contractions. This latex may act like prostaglandin and oxytocin. These chemicals are secreted by the body to induce labour. 

Ripe papaya is a natural source of 

Unripe papaya is a rich source of

  • latex
  • papain

As you can see, ripe papaya contains a truckload of nutrients. Many pregnant women include ripe papaya in their diet to prevent and control constipation and heartburn. 

However, unripe papaya contains latex and papain which can cause potential harm in pregnancy. The enzymes in unripe papaya can hinder fetal development, trigger miscarriage and cause complications in pregnancy. 

8 Harmful Effects of Eating Papaya in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a complicated time that needs utmost care. The development of the foetus is very delicate. As such even the slightest amount of harmful substances can cause a lot of harm.

Here are 8 ways in which eating papaya in pregnancy can be harmful to the mother and the child:

Papaya can cause miscarriage

Papaya is a potent emmenagogue. This means it can stimulate and increase menstrual flow. During the early stages of pregnancy, the placenta is being formed. And the latex in papaya can disrupt its formation and may lead to miscarriage. 

Studies say that papaya can raise vascular pressure which can lead to internal bleeding or haemorrhages in the placenta. Placental bleeding or haemorrhage causes pregnancy-related complications. It can also cause miscarriage in some cases.

Also Read: Dates in infertility

Papaya may trigger early Labor

The papain in unripe or semi-ripe papaya can stimulate prostaglandin and oxytocin hormones. These hormones act as chemical signals to induce uterine contractions which can cause premature labour. 

Also Read: Ashwagandha for women

Papaya may impede Foetal Development

Pepsin and papain present in Papaya can be detrimental to fetal development. Studies say that eating papaya when trying for pregnancy can hamper implantation. It can also increase the risk of pregnancy loss post-implantation and cause harm to the embryo.

Also Read: Saffron milk in pregnancy

The enzymes in papaya can weaken Vital Fetal Membranes

Papain found in the papaya can retard cell growth and hamper the development of tissues in foetus. This can weaken vital fetal membranes. 

Papaya can increase gut motility

Papaya is a great laxative and it is a great cure for constipation. But excess bowel movement during pregnancy can create pressure in and around the uterus. This may lead to miscarriage

Also Read: Ayurvedic Home Remedies for constipation

Papaya can cause unwanted abortion

Papaya contains two enzymes – Papain and chymopapain. These enzymes are teratogenic and abortifacient. It means these enzymes are harmful to the development of the foetus and can even cause unwanted abortion.

Papaya can cause complications in pregnancy

The papain in papaya is very helpful in regularising the menstrual cycle. While this is a healing property of papaya but it can be harmful in pregnancy. During pregnancy, the menstruation cycle stops and bleeding through the vagina can be a sign of impending abortion or ectopic pregnancy

Papaya can increase the woes of pregnancy

Pregnancy is a tough time for any woman with so many changes happening in the body. And latex in papaya is a common allergen that can cause allergic symptoms.  Common reactions are skin rashes or runny nose. But sometimes it can be more complicated like difficulty in breathing or anaphylaxis. 

Ayurvedic Doctor’s take on Papaya in Pregnancy

As I have already mentioned, Pregnancy is a very delicate phase. And everything that the mother does or eats during those 9 months can nurture or hamper the child. Even though some types of foods may seem healthy and nutritious but they may harm your little one.

So, it’s best to consult your gynaecologist and take up parental lessons to understand your pregnancy.

I would recommend you to avoid eating papaya during pregnancy. Many of its properties make it a non-favourable food for pregnancy. The ripe papayas are also laxative and emmenagogue. Thus, eating ripe papaya may cause trouble in pregnancy in some! 

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