Papaya In Pregnancy


When you’re pregnant, the most important question that comes up is your diet. What to eat and what not to eat. And when you seek advice, all you find is mixed beliefs about certain foods. On one hand, you’re told to eat a lot of fruit. On another, you’re told that eating papaya can cause an abortion. Well, the fact is that even the experts may not be clear on this one. So, usually, we just avoid it completely.

It all started in certain parts of Asia like India, Indonesia, etc where it was believed that papaya is not safe for the mother-to-be. The belief then spread and led to several studies that bring out the following result.
An unripe/semi-ripe papaya should be completely avoided during pregnancy while it is safe, and even recommend to eat a fully ripened papaya, though in small amounts.

The Reason – A papaya in the unripe state contains fruit latex, which in turn consists of the enzyme called papain. In the unripe state, these enzymes act as prostaglandin and oxytocin. Now, prostaglandin and oxycotin are actually used(synthetically) to induce labor. So, essentially, the latex in the unripe papaya can cause pre-mature induction of labour – and thus may induce an abortion or cause abnormalities in the baby.

However, a “fully” ripe papaya is a good source of vitamins and minerals and can be taken in pregnancy. This is because the latex concentration in a fully-ripened papaya is significantly reduced.