Whatever you eat during your pregnancy period is bound to affect the foetal development. Hence it is very important to eat right and maintain a proper nutritious diet. Papayas are a wonderful fruit with a plethora of benefits for your health. There are many myths attached to this fruit regarding abortions and miscarriages. A mom to be can’t help but ask “is papaya good for pregnancy?”
Ripe papayas hold a lot of health gains for pregnant mothers, though the same can’t be said about unripe papayas during pregnancy.
So, can we eat papaya during pregnancy? Of course, we can be provided that you pick the ripest ones that are amber yellow in colour and soft to touch. As long as you avoid unripe papayas, you can reap the benefits of papaya in pregnancy.
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Nutritional Profile Of Papaya
Papaya or Carica papaya has a lot to give to its consumers. Pepsin and papain are two of the enzymes present in the healthy fruit. Papaya is also rich in several vitamins such as vitamins A, C, E. The minerals phosphorus, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, and magnesium are also found aplenty in the fruit. Bioflavonoid and antioxidants are a part of the nutritional profile of papaya as well. One can reap the benefits of papaya in pregnancy because they have a very low-calorie count.
Top Benefits of Papaya
Eating papaya during pregnancy is good for your health as long as you pick the ripe ones! Following is the list noting all the papaya benefits during pregnancy.
1) Boosts Your Immunity:
The vitamins A, B, and C along with beta-carotene, an antioxidant present in papaya help to keep your immunity levels boosted so that you don’t keep falling sick frequently.
2) Stress Buster:
The oxytocin present in papayas helps to relax your body and de-stress your mind. Women who eat papaya during pregnancy are less prone to anxiety and insomnia.
3) Reduces Morning Sickness:
Eating a cup of papaya chunks a day can help expecting mothers to overcome nausea and morning sickness.
4) Aids Digestion:
Papayas are packed with fibre and enzymes. These two elements play a very important role when it comes to aiding healthy digestion in pregnant women.
5) Eases Constipation:
Pepsin and Vitamin C present in papayas help ease the discomfort caused by constipation, a common problem faced by pregnant mothers to be.
6) Good For Skin and Hair:
Pregnant women can suffer from hair fall and sallow skin due to stress. The flavonoids and other antioxidants along with B complex help your skin glow and your hair follicles to grow stronger.
7) Promotes Neurological Development of Foetus:
Folic acid is a major nutrient found in papayas. Eating papayas during pregnancy can help your foetus’ neurological development.
8) Avoid Ulcers and Acid Reflux:
The vitamins and healthy acids in a papaya eliminate ulcer formation in your digestive tract and mouth. The occurrence of acid reflux is also marginally reduced by moderate consumption of papayas during pregnancy.
9) Boosts Milk Production:
Consuming a little papaya in pregnancy can help your mammary glands produce more milk for the baby to come.
Side Effects Of Papaya
Everything in excess is harmful, and so are papayas. There are a lot of side effects of papaya during pregnancy, due to which it is always prudent to ask your doctor before you consume this fruit. Under no circumstance should you eat unripe papayas because that is harmful to your foetus? Following is a list of the risks and side effects of eating papayas during pregnancy.
1) Uterine Contractions:
The latex present in unripe papayas and partially ripe papayas contain papain, a prostaglandin. Eating it can cause premature labour and contractions to a pregnant woman.
2) Interferes With Foetal Development:
Pepsin and papain are enzymes that hinder the implantation of an embryo and growth of a foetus.
3) Weaker Foetal Membranes:
Papain causes cell dissociation and breaks down the lining of the foetal membrane, causing it to weaken.
4) Causes Haemorrhages:
Unripe papayas increase the body’s vascular pressure and can cause internal haemorrhage (placental bleeding) or oedema in pregnant women.
5) Can Cause a Miscarriage:
The heat caused by eating raw papaya combined with the enzymes can give a pregnant woman excessive loose motions which can cause a miscarriage.
6) Estrogen Production:
Papayas promote an increase in estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for encouraging a menstruation in females. Bleeding during pregnancy after eating too much papaya is a red flag towards a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
7) High-Risk Pregnancies:
Eating papayas should be avoided if you are carrying a high-risk pregnancy to term to be on the safer side.
8) Gestational Diabetes:
Women with gestational diabetes should avoid eating a lot of papayas during pregnancy because of the high sugar levels.
Risks Of Raw Papaya During Pregnancy
We’ve been warning you against eating unripe papayas during pregnancy but haven’t explained why yet. Raw papayas contain latex which can cause serious harm to the foetus and its development.
1) Early Stages of Pregnancy:
The foetus is the most vulnerable during the first few months of pregnancy. We go through extraordinary measures to look after and protect it from any damage. The latex in papaya contains papain and pepsin, which are known to cause contractions. Unnatural contractions during early pregnancy heighten the risks of causing a miscarriage.
2) Pregnancy In The Third Trimester:
The last three months of pregnancy are very important for foetal development. Any damage during this period will directly affect the cognitive and physical abilities of your unborn baby. Since papain in unripe papayas causes contractions, the pregnant woman is at risk of going into a premature labour.
Eating papayas can be very beneficial for the health of a pregnant woman. But precautions need to be followed under the careful supervision of your gynaecologist. Since every woman’s body is different, they may react to certain enzymes in papaya differently. We are sure you can reap the benefits of papaya during pregnancy if you eat them in small quantities along with other healthy fruits and vegetables as well.