Papaya in Pregnancy- Pros and Cons

Papaya in Pregnancy

One of the most essential concerns for pregnant women is the diet. Many feel that eating papaya in pregnancy is not safe. Lots of myths surround this humble fruit. Although it is full of important nutrients, it is excluded from the diet of a pregnant woman. In many countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc., people feel that eating this fruit during reproduction period can cause miscarriage or abortion. Let us find out about this fruit in detail and know about its effect on the body.

About the Fruit

Pawpaw or papaw or Mugua or Lechoza, as this fruit is known by its other names, is a widely cultivated tropical fruit obtained from the Carica papaya plant. There are 2 kinds of this fruit that are commonly grown – one has sweet, orangish or red flesh, and the other kind has yellow flesh. As such, in the Australian regions, these are called as yellow papaw’s or red papaya’s. But if either of them are picked green, then they are called green papaya’s.

Its Uses

  1. You can eat this fruit or use it for preparing dishes.
  2. Its seeds are used as a substitute for black pepper.
  3. Both the green variety of this fruit, as well as the tree’s latex, are rich in Papain, an enzyme. This enzyme is useful for tenderizing meats.
  4. Its parts can be used in medicines.
  5. In some countries, the leaves of this plant are used to make tea that is believed to cure Malaria.
  6. It is known to heal digestive problems, rashes, cuts, burns and stings.
  7. The unripe green papayas are also used by women for abortion and contraception.
  8. Its juice prevents and inhibits liver cancer cells.
  9. Its seeds can be used for their antibacterial properties.
  10. The extracts of seeds of this fruit may be nephroprotective. They may be able to protect the kidneys in kidney failure.
  11. The fruit is effective for conditioning hair and is also good for skin.
  12. The bark and the stem are used for producing ropes.

Its Nutritional Values

In 100 grams of this fruit, you will derive the following.

  1. 39 kcal or 163 kJ of energy
  2. 5.9 grams sugars
  3. 9.81 grams carbohydrates, 1.8 grams dietary fiber, 0.14 grams fats, 0.61 grams proteins, 328 μg vitamin A, 0.04 milligrams vitamin B1, 0.05 milligrams vitamin B2, 0.338 milligrams vitamin B3, 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6, 38 μg vitamin B9, 61.8 milligrams vitamin C, 24 milligrams Calcium, 0.10 milligrams Iron, 10 milligrams Magnesium, 5 milligrams Potassium, 257 milligrams, 3 milligrams Sodium.
  4. Pectin
  5. Papain
  6. Lycopene

Good Effects of Papaya in Pregnancy

It is considered a great prenatal care measure because of the following benefits that it offers.

  1. It can counter the indigestion problem due to the presence of an enzyme called Papain.
  2. It helps in the smooth bowel movement.
  3. It relieves the pregnant women from constipation, which is their common problem.
  4. It is also a very effective remedy for heartburn during this period.
  5. Its rich nutritional values are required by the body during this stage.
  6. Slightly unripe form of this fruit is an easy way to induce labor naturally.

Bad Effects of Papaya in Pregnancy

It is considered a risky affair because of the following problems it causes.

  1. The unripe variety of this fruit, unlike the ripe variety, contains high concentrations of a latex-like substance. Papain and Chymopapain are the main components of this substance. Both these components are teratogenic. It means that they tend to cause abnormalities in the physiological growth and development.
  2. Chymopapain and Papain are also abortifacient, that is, they can lead to an abortion.
  3. As per speculations, the latex concentration in the unripe variety may cause uterine contractions because the Papain acts like oxytocin and prostaglandin in order to put the mother’ss body into the state of labor.
  4. This latex-like substance can also cause oedema.
  5. It is also responsible for causing the hemorrhaging and bleeding of the placenta edge.
  6. This can lead to severe complications during child-bearing period.
  7. It can also result in an early delivery.
  8. Sometimes, it causes premature deliveries.
  9. Eating this unripe fruit during the early stages of pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage.
  10. The Latex can also result in irritations and allergic reactions in some people.
  11. The seeds, leaves as well as the fruit too contain Carpaine, a type of natural drug that kills parasitic worms in your body. But its dose can be dangerous if it is taken in high amounts.
  12. The seeds can have a contraceptive effect on the body if it is taken in large doses during this period.
  13. If one consumes this fruit excessively, then she can suffer from Carotenemia or the yellowing of palms and soles.

The Bottom Line

Papaya during pregnancy has been widely known for causing miscarriages, abortions, premature deliveries and complications in deliveries. But all this happens when one eats the unripe version of this fruit, that too in large amounts. The ripe variety has low percentage of Latex. As such, eating the ripe version in small or recommended amounts will not cause any problems to pregnant ladies. Therefore, any pregnant woman must eat this fruit to derive its health benefits. But this must be done after taking proper instructions and under medical supervision of the doctor. He or she will prescribe the amount to consume each day depending upon the state of the health.

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