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Pawpaw during Pregnancy: How Good It Is for You

Papaya (Papita) During Pregnancy: How Good It Is for You


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Everything that a woman eats during her pregnancy affects the child. That’s the reason why it is essential to know what a to-be mother should or shouldn’t consume. A lot of harmless looking food items may prove to be dangerous for the vulnerable developing child. One of many such food items is – Papaya or pawpaw.

Papaya in Pregnancy

There is a lot of dilemma in pregnant women about the consumption of papaya. Ripe papaya when eaten with caution can be beneficial but unripe papayas can also cause many complications during pregnancy.

Early pregnancy

In the early months or stages of pregnancy, the foetus is delicate and must be taken utmost care of. Even the slightest amount of harmful substances, like latex, can cause a lot of harm. Unripe papaya contains substances with latex, which causes uterine (womb) contractions. The latex of fruits contains vegetable pepsin or ‘papain’ in the case of papaya. This ‘papain’ acts like prostaglandins (endogenous or body’s own substance) and oxytocin ( a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland of the brain) which induces contractions. Abnormal or such unnatural uterine contractions in pregnancy may cause miscarriage or premature birth of a baby. Papain also weakens the vital membranes of the foetus making its survival difficult. Hence, in the first trimester, unripe papaya must be completely avoided.

Third Trimester

In the third trimester or last three months of pregnancy, Papaya may induce early labour by causing uterine contractions due to the enzyme ‘Papain’ present in it. Given the complications, many women choose to refrain from consuming papaya in their diet. Reports suggest bleeding or haemorrhages from the edge of the placenta can also be caused by consumption of raw papaya during later pregnancy.

Effects of Eating Papaya During Pregnancy

Here are some other effects of eating papaya during pregnancy:

  1. Causes Uterine Contractions:

Latex in unripe papaya or even partially ripe papaya has papain which may stimulate prostaglandin and oxytocin, hormones that can lead to uterine contractions and can lead to premature labour. Papaya can lead to miscarriage as it is a potent emmenagogue. It must be avoided completely in early pregnancy. This is the period when the placenta is being formed, and the presence of an insignificant amount of latex can potentially harm the womb.

  1. Impedes Fetal Development:

Pepsin and papain can be detrimental to fetal survival and development. Studies report that having papayas during pregnancy can hamper implantation, increase the risk of pregnancy loss post implantation and pose potential harm to the embryo.

  1. Weakens The vital Fetal Membranes:

Papain is often used for cell dissociation as it is a proteolytic enzyme. It is known to retard cell growth and hamper the development of the tissue in the foetus

4. Excess bowel movement can cause miscarriage:

Papaya increases the gut motility. However, excess bowel movement can create pressure in and around the uterus and cause miscarriage. Papaya is fibre rich and the pressure it puts on the stomach and intestines and can possibly lead to miscarriage

5. Previous history of abortion/ premature labour and papain effects:

Women who have experienced premature labours or abortions can be at increased risk due to papain. Hence, it is advisable for such women to better avoid papayas during pregnancy.

6. Stimulates estrogen production:

The papain in papaya also helps to regularize menstrual cycle. While menstruation never happens in pregnancy. Bleeding through the vagina is a red flag sign of impending abortion or ectopic pregnancy. Papaya raises the body temperature and enhances estrogen production in the body.

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