The papaya has untold health benefits. It is fibrous, contains ample minerals and vitamins, and imparts a glow to your skin like nothing else. You have always known that, and you have always relied in this delicious fruit to help you out. However, things have changed now that you are pregnant and you are hearing all sorts of stories about the papaya that are making you kind of wary of this reliable friend. You are no longer sure whether you should continue to eat papaya any more for fear of jeopardizing your and the baby’s health.
In this article, let us see how many of these stories are real, and how many are just old wives’ tales.
It’s okay if it’s ripe
Most of the research shows that it is complexly okay to consume papaya during pregnancy as long as it is ripe. A ripe papaya contains a lot of minerals and other nutrients that are greatly beneficial for the mother as well as the baby. Unripe papaya, on the other hand, contains a substance called latex, which, according to some research, has been known to be linked to uterine contractions. This is potentially detrimental to your chances of getting pregnant, and if you are already pregnant, this will harm the baby by starting labor, resulting in miscarriages and stillbirths. Also, it should not be eaten with the skin on, ripe or otherwise. There is the prevalent belief that papaya causes miscarriages, but there is no research data to conclusively prove that, and is most probably a myth.
Ripe papaya, however, has some great health benefits.
Cures digestive disorders
Every pregnant woman has to face this issue at least once during the nine months. Constipation, diarrhea, and a plethora of other digestive issues present themselves during pregnancy as the body adjusts itself to the changes happening within. A fruit like papaya helps greatly in relieving such digestive and gastrointestinal issues. A ripe papaya has a very high fiber content that helps in making the digestion process much smoother. Moreover, there is an enzyme in papaya called a papain, which is vegetable pepsin. This enzyme helps in curing indigestion, which is a common occurrence during pregnancy.
Contains folic acid
A ripe papaya is a great source of folates or folic acid, which is one of the most important nutrients a pregnant woman must get into her body. Folic acid helps in the development of the spine and nervous system of the fetus, and prevents the chances of a spinal development anomaly from occurring, such as spina bifida.
It is important to be careful while eating papaya during pregnancy, even ripe papaya.
Check for allergies
You will probably not be allergic to anything contained in a ripe papaya. However, things would be a bit different when it comes to a raw or semi-ripe papaya. The latex contained in the raw papaya can not only cause abortions, but it can also give rise to pretty severe latex allergies, which can throw you into an anaphylactic shock. That is another reason why you should check the papaya thoroughly before eating it.
How to eat
If you must get some papaya during pregnancy, make sure the one you eat is completely ripe. It is okay of it is getting a bit squishy; that way, you are sure that it is certainly a little past the prime of its life. The papain in ripe papaya is quite low, and has not been known to affect pregnancy in any negative way so far. Eat it in small quantities, along with other fruits to offset its effects somewhat. If you are suffering from constipation, avoid eating too much papaya; that might put extra pressure on your system leading to ruptured vessels and even the slim chance of a miscarriage.
On the final days
The very latex that is known to cause uterine contractions that induce labor comes as a boon sometime on the final days of the pregnancy. For some women, the due date arrives with no symptom of a labor, and sometimes she even dilates, and becomes quite ready for delivery with no labor at all. Thus is of course dangerous. Papaya is known for its labor inducing properties, and doctors will advise such women to consume papaya in order to kick start the labor.
Also read: Can I Eat Banana During Pregnancy?
In conclusion, there is nothing to say that you must absolutely avoid papaya during those nine months. Yes, raw papaya is certainly a strict no-no, but that does not means you cannot eat a few small slices of a fully ripe papaya. They are nutritious, delicious, and quite easy to eat, so no reason why you should not have some in moderation.