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Papaya during pregnancy: Safe or unsafe?

December 3, 2020

A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirrup inside when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the first time and a playful kick reminds her that she is never done. But amidst this blissful preparations, it turns out to be a matter of great responsibility for a parent-to-be to take care of nutrition and health of the expecting mother as it is directly impacts the developing fetus. “What to eat” and “What not to eat” happens to be the biggest question for these nine months.

Morever during pregnancy, it becomes very important to pay special attention to your diet. This is the time when you are not eating for yourself, but you are nurturing a precious life in your womb. However, there are several foods that are not good to be consumed during this time as they can harm the fetus. Amongst those foods that are widely debated , considered as taboo during pregnancy, raw papaya occupies a key place.

It is believed that the consumption of semi-ripe or fully unripe papaya may trigger unfavourable outcomes such as threatened miscarriages or abortions. It is very difficult to prod on a ‘one size fits all” principle when it comes to eating while pregnant.

There’s a lot of confusion around papaya, when it comes to pregnancy and the simple answer is eating ripe papaya is fine and unripe papaya isn’t good for pregnancy.

Unripe papaya has a component called papain and latex. The presence of latex in papaya can trigger uterine contractions, which can often lead to miscarriage or early labor. And the presence of papain in unripe papaya can induce early labor and is not good for the fetus. It weakens the membranes around the fetus.

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However, contrary to this, the consumption of ripened papaya in moderation renders many benefits to pregnant mothers.

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Benefits and Nutrients of interest :

Improves digestion:

  • It helps to resolve – digestive discomforts such as constipation during pregnancy. Antioxidants (beta carotene) , minerals (potassium), and fiber

Boosts immunity:

  • It reduces the susceptibility to infections,thereby Beta-carotene and Vitamins A, B, and C. boosting the immune status

Increases hemoglobin levels:

  • In cases of pregnancy-induced anaemia, consumption of well ripened Papaya, in moderation, helps in the formation of red blood cells (RBC). Folic acid

Prevents dehydration :

  • Water content 88 to 91%

Provides energy:

  • This fruit helps to uplift the energy levels in cases of tiredness during pregnancy.

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Eliminates free radicals via Antioxidants

  • Thereby, eating 1 cup (100g) of fully ripened papaya—twice or thrice in a week is considered beneficial for pregnant women. It can be taken as a whole fruit as well as one can consume it by making papaya smoothie (blend papaya in curd). Also, this fruit can be taken at any time in a day, but taking it before going to bed will help in aiding indigestion.

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However, it is strictly advised to talk to your doctor or nutritionist for precise guidelines on pregnancy eating in case of any complications. The gift of pregnancy is tagged with a lot of changes at multiple levels at physiological, emotional, physical, mental levels. So, it is wise to go by guidance from the right corners. Always speak yo your doctor and nutritionist before deciding on making diet changes.

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