To eat or not to eat! Pregnant women are often concerned with what they should eat and what needs to be avoided during this special and critical time. Food that may be perfectly safe to have when not pregnant, may not be good during the pregnancy phase. Is papaya one of them?
A ripe papaya contains many vitamins and minerals. It helps to control constipation and relieves heartburn, some symptoms synonymous with pregnancy. Experts recommend eating papaya during pregnancy for this reason. But despite this belief, it is traditionally believed that papaya can cause miscarriage or the birth of a stillborn baby.
Is Eating Papaya During Pregnancy Safe?
An unripe papaya contains high components of latex, which decreases in amounts as the fruit ripens, with almost no latex once it is completely ripe. Latex contains chymopapain and papain. Both these properties have a teratogenic effect, which means they can lead to physiological abnormalities and can induce abortion. Papain increases the chances of uterine contractions by mirroring prostaglandin and oxytocin, both components that work to induce labor in pregnant women.
Latex is also known to cause a hemorrhagic and edema placenta, which is hemorrhaging and bleeding from the sides of the placenta, a very serious complication in pregnancy.
Eating raw papaya is not advised due to its latex properties but ripe ones are deemed safe for consumption during pregnancy, for this you can:
- Check thoroughly to see if the papaya is ripened. A ripe papaya will be soft to touch when squeezed gently. The skin of it will be orange or yellow in color. Green color on the skin is an indication it hasn’t ripened yet.
- Eat the fruit in moderation. Although the amount of latex is almost none when a papaya is ripe, it is best to eat it in small quantities.
- Eat other fresh fruits that can provide you with minerals and vitamins required during pregnancy.
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
When pregnant, the body requires more than the usual of folic acid, calcium, iodine and iron. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods that have the necessary vitamins and minerals can suffice. You need to choose foods that are rich in the required elements during your pregnancy to avoid getting overweight or increasing blood pressure.
During the first trimester, your body will need more folic acid to form your baby’s major organs. Foods that contain folic acid are whole wheat bread, skimmed milk, low sugar calcium fortified soy milk, spinach, green beans, sprouts, broccoli and potatoes.
During the second and the third trimester, your baby will be growing in weight and size, which means you, will have to also increase your intake of calories, calcium, folic acid, iodine and iron. Foods that can provide this nourishment are whole wheat foods, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, lean meat, skimmed milk, low fat cheese, oranges, pears and apples.
- Diet and Food