Papaya During Pregnancy: Benefits and Risks

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Grown in tropical climates and known for their sweet taste, vibrant colour Papayas are known for a variety of health benefits. Papayas were considered rare previously but now they are available at most time of the year. This exotic fruit is native to Mexico but it naturally grows in Florida and Caribbean as well.  In Southeast Asian cooking, Green papaya is used. Both raw and cooked. Papaya is used in culinary dishes , young leaves of the papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach in some parts of Asia. Whereas, ripe papayas are  eaten fresh as papaya salad. They are also  cubed and can be eaten dipped in vinegar or salt for taste.

papaya during pregnancy

This lovely exotic fruit comes with multiple health benefits. Papaya aids in digestion, provides good eye health. It is also an immunity booster and papaya also benefits weight loss as well. This super fruit can also be inculcated in your diet when you’re pregnant . Read along to find out some of the health benefits it provides to pregnant women. 

5 Benefits Of Papaya During Pregnancy

Boosts Immunity

Papaya contains an unusual amount of vitamin C, up to 200% of the recommended vitamin Cis present in papaya which contributes in boosting immunity. Thus helping your body to fight of infections and illnesses you may contact. Consuming ripe papaya, which is brimming with nutrients, during later stages of pregnancy can help you and your baby to develop a healthy immune system and fight of any diseases. It also contains Vitamin A, B and Beta-carotene which reduces the susceptibility to infections.

Rich in antioxidants

Papayas have a high antioxidant content and the antioxidant present in them eliminate free radicals . In order to reap Health benefits of papaya during pregnancy, pregnant women can take ripe papayas twice or thrice a week. You can eat them by scooping the flesh out  or making a salad or smoothie . It can be eaten at any time of the day. Consuming ripe papayas during pregnancy can also help in milk production.

Increases Haemoglobin levels

Eating Papaya during pregnancy can also help elevate your haemoglobin levels . As papaya contains folic acid which helps in the formation of red blood cells . In cases  anemia during pregnancy is a common condition among some women and consuming a well ripened  papaya can provide you with relief. Folic acid is also essential, As during pregnancy it helps in neurological development of the baby.

Prevents dehydration and provides energy

Morning sickness and frequent vomiting during pregnancy can make you easily dehydrated if you do not intake fluids regularly. Papaya is a fruit which has high amount of water in it, in fact it’s water content is believed to be about 88%-91% which is quite helpful in keeping you hydrated. Tiredness during pregnancy is common as the body goes through various changes which becomes tedious for women who are expecting. Eating ripe papaya during pregnancy uplifts energy levels and can also help you feel better.

Aids digestion

Pregnant women face the problem of constipation during pregnancy and papaya is here in order to counter that problem. This sweet fruit is high in fibre which facilitates in better digestion and it has numerous enzymes that help in breaking down the food , while protecting the tissue that lines the digestive tract. If you are facing the problem of constipation, you can eat the fruit before or after an hour of taking your meal and this will help your body run smoothly.

Risks During First Trimester

Although Eating well ripened papayas in moderation throughout pregnancy is considered safe but eating unripe papaya comes with its own negative effects.

Papaya which is partially ripe has papain and unripe papaya contains latex which may lead to stimulation of hormones like prostaglandin and oxytocin. These hormones lead to uterine contractions and premature labour .

Eating unripe papayas during first trimester can cause miscarriages. Papaya is considered to be emanuagogue, meaning it can stimulate and increase menstrual flow. So it’s better to avoid eating it during early pregnancy. As the presence of latex can harm the womb as this is the phase when the placenta is formed .

It can weaken vital foetal membranes and women who have the history of abortion and premature labour can suffer complications in pregnancy due to the presence of papain. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme which can hamper with the development of tissue in the foetus and retard cell growth. So one should completely avoid eating raw papaya during pregnancy.

Dietary Restrictions

Papayas are considered healthy as they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and are nutrient dense but they may not prove to be healthy for all.

  • People who have latex allergy must avoid eating papaya because this fruit contains an enzyme called chitinase which can cause a cross reaction leading to breathing difficulties, watery eyes, sneezing and coughing.
  • Papaya contains vitamin C in excessive amounts and this can cause harm to people who have kidney stones. As vitamin C in high amounts leads to formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones, making it harder for the stones to pass through urine by increasing the size of the stone.
  • People having hypoglycemia should also avoid eating papaya. That is because papaya contains anti-hypoglycemic and glucose lowering effects. In people suffering from hypoglycemia it can take the blood glucose levels to dangerous levels which may prove harmful.
  • Apart from this papaya contains a small amount of an amino acid, cyanogenic glycoside that can produce hydrogen cyanide in the human digestive system , this may prove harmful to people who are suffering from the problem of irregular heartbeat.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12144723/#:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/680941/

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