Is It Safe To Eat Papaya During Pregnancy?


There’s a lot of misconception and myth about eating papaya during pregnancy. In countries like India and Srilanka, this tropical fruit which is packed with minerals, fiber, potassium and all things good is a complete taboo for expecting mothers. Why is that? Let’s get to the bottom of it and clear the air about this once and for all.

Conventionally, papaya is believed to trigger miscarriage and bring on premature labour. Hence pregnant women are advised to steer clear of papayas. But, it all depends on whether you eat a ripe or an unripe one.

It’s perfectly safe to eat papaya as long as it is fully ripe. Here’s why

  • Ripe papaya is loaded with nutrients. As long as you eat it in moderation, it won’t do you any harm.
  • Ripe papayas are rich in beta-carotene potassium and vitamins A, B and C, which play a vital role during pregnancy. Vitamin A and C help boost immunity and vitamin B is essential for development of foetus.
  • Papaya is a natural remedy to curb heartburn and constipation problems which are common during pregnancy. It is also an effective treatment to keep morning sickness and stomach cramps at baby.
  • The proteolytic enzyme papain, in Papayas assist in the digestion of proteins, such as meat, dairy products and nuts and prevents bloating and the feeling of fullness.
  • Being rich in sugar, papaya can be great energy boosters and help in overcoming fatigue during pregnancy
  • Ripe papaya is a rich source of vitamin A and thus can help in increasing the hemoglobin levels. This in turn helps in oxygen absorption and decreases the risk of anemia and respiratory problems.
  • Papaya can be effective in dealing with inflammatory bowel syndrome during pregnancy.
  • A papaya smoothie mixed with some honey has high nutritional value and is beneficial for pregnant women and lactating mums. Papaya, with its galactagogue properties help in increased milk production.
  • Papaya has a several medicinal properties too. It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive properties.


When Is Papaya A Threat During Pregnancy?

Eating raw papaya is a strict no-no during pregnancy.

  • Unripe or even semi-ripe papaya contains latex which induce uterine contractions and labour that can lead to miscarriage. This latex mimics prostaglandin and oxytocin which are generally used to induce labor.
  • The pepsin and papain in unripe papaya is believed to hinder foetus development. The papain can affect vital membranes of the foetus and endanger it.
  • Oedema in unripe papaya can cause placental bleeding which could be life-threatening for both the mother and growing foetus.
  • It is better to avoid eating papaya during the early stages of pregnancy unless it is fully ripe. Women who have had a previous history of abortion and miscarriage are advised to keep away from eating papaya. The two enzymes – papain and chymopapain – in papaya can cause abortion and effect physiological growth of the foetus.


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