There are tons of dilemmas in pregnant women about the consumption of pawpaw. Ripe pawpaw, when eaten with caution, can be useful and effective, but unripe papayas can result in many complications during pregnancy.
Everything that a woman consumes during her pregnancy can make an impact on the unborn child in some way. That’s why it is necessary to know what a mother-to-be should or shouldn’t eat. A lot of harmless-looking food items may ascertain to be dangerous for the fostering child. One of many such food items is pawpaw.
In the early months or phases of pregnancy, the foetus is delicate and fresh and must be taken utmost care of. Even the least amount of harmful substances, like latex, can result in a lot of harm. Unripe papaya includes substances with latex, which prompts uterine (womb) contractions. The latex of fruits contains vegetable pepsin or ‘papain’, in the issue of papaya.
This ‘papain’ acts like prostaglandins (endogenous or body’s own substance) and oxytocin ( a hormone concealed by the pituitary gland of the brain), which causes contractions. Abnormal or such unusual uterine contractions in pregnancy may result in miscarriage or premature birth of a baby. Papain also weakens the essential membranes of the foetus, making its survival tough. Therefore, in the first trimester, unripe papaya must be totally avoided.
In the third trimester or last three months of pregnancy, Papaya may prompt early labour by causing uterine contractions due to the enzyme ‘papain’ present in it. Provided the complications, many women prefer to abstain from consuming papaya during pregnancy. Reports suggest that bleeding or haemorrhages from the horizon of the placenta can also be induced by the consumption of raw papaya during later pregnancy.
Benefits of Eating Papaya (Ripe) in Pregnancy
Fully ripe papayas are commonly considered safe and always beneficial during pregnancy.
- Latex, a component in papaya, works like prostaglandin and oxytocin, which assists in regulating respiratory diseases.
- Ripe papayas are rich in Vitamin A, B, C, beta-carotene, and potassium all of which have high antioxidant capacity and boost immunity.
- Vitamin supply from papaya enhances immunity, which curbs against various infections.
- Vitamin sufficiency also prevents ulcers and skin dilemmas.
- Fibres included in papaya facilitate digestion: A common issue of constipation during pregnancy can be countered generally through papayas. Nonetheless, consult your obstetrician regarding regular consumption.
- Papayas can help overcome morning sickness.
- Papayas also contain folic acid, which is important during pregnancy for the neurological improvement of the baby.
- Papayas also help facilitate better heart health and are recognized to prevent colon cancer.
- Having papaya to deal with viral illnesses during pregnancy may help improve the platelet counts, although this fact is not endorsed by scientific data.
- Having the right amount of ripe papayas helps boost milk production.
Negative 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 retains papain, which may enable prostaglandin and oxytocin, hormones that can lead to uterine contractions and premature labour. Papaya can result in miscarriage, as it is a powerful emmenagogue, which facilitates and increases menstrual flow. It must be avoided totally in early pregnancy. This is the period when the placenta is being established, and the presence of an insignificant amount of latex can potentially harm the womb.
2. Impedes Fetal Development:
Pepsin and papain can be harmful to fetal development and survival Studies report that eating papaya during pregnancy can prevent implantation, increase the risk of pregnancy loss post-implantation, and pose potential damage to the embryo.
3. Weakens Vital Fetal Membranes:
Papain is frequently used for cell dissociation, as it is a proteolytic enzyme. It is perceived to retard cell growth and prevent the development of the tissue in the foetus.
4. May Cause Haemorrhage and Oedema:
Unripe papaya can boost vascular pressure and can eventually lead to bleeding or internal haemorrhage in the placenta. Placental bleeding or haemorrhage can result in pregnancy and delivery-related complications. Papaya can impact the development and purpose of the placenta.
5. Increases Bowel Movement:
Papaya enhances gut motility. Though, excess bowel movement can establish pressure in and around the uterus and cause miscarriage. Papaya is fibre rich, and the anxiety it puts on the stomach and intestines can probably lead to a miscarriage.
6. Affects the Nervous System:
Seeds and Leaves of papaya consist of carpine, a toxin that is detrimental to the central nervous system.
7. Abortifacient and Teratogenic:
Papain and chymopapain are two enzymes elements existing in papaya, which are both teratogenic (harmful to the development of the foetus) as well as an abortifacient (abortion causing).
8. Harmful to Women With a History of Abortion/ Premature Labour:
Women who have encountered premature labour or abortion can be at increased risk of undergoing pregnancy complications due to papain. Hence, it is advisable for such women to resist papayas during pregnancy.
9. Stimulates Oestrogen Production:
The papain in papaya also helps to regularise the menstrual cycle. While menstruation never occurs in pregnancy, bleeding through the vagina is an indication of impending abortion or ectopic pregnancy. Papaya increases body temperature and enhances oestrogen creation in the body.
10. Causes Kidney stones and Raises Intra- Abdominal Pressure:
Papayas have Vitamin C which, is good for immunity, but an abundance may cause kidney stones. Vitamin C affects the body to produce oxalate that can facilitate stone formation. Calculi or stones may cause colicky pains, and this ultimately increases the intraabdominal pressure, which affects pregnancy.
11. Affects Blood Sugar Levels:
Papaya is risky during pregnancy if the pregnant woman has a history of gestational diabetes.
12. Leads to Skin Discolouration:
Beta carotene in papaya gives it an orange tinge. An abundance of this causes a benign problem known as carotenemia. One should forgo papaya to prevent discolouration.
Risks of Having Raw Papaya When Pregnant
It is the raw papaya that comprises of a high content of latex. Eating raw papaya in pregnancy can have a fatal effect on your pregnancy. As the immune system is diluted, women become more accessible to illnesses and allergies when they are pregnant.
- Latex allergy may be caused by the latex in papaya, and have fatal repercussions.
- Women with a prior history of fertility problems and miscarriages shall avoid papayas. Studies indicate that unripe papaya also affects the development of the foetus.
- Unripe papaya causes abortion. A papaya that is not ripe consists of concentrated harmful enzymes, which may lead to miscarriage and bleeding.
- You should avoid consuming the seeds and leaves of papaya, as they may harm the foetus. When buying one, try to pick barely greenish papaya that can be ripened at home. Papayas with black spots or bruises should be avoided.
- The best option is well-ripened papaya, which is orange-amber in colour and soft to touch.
- Papaya is an inexpensive, easily-available fruit. It is easy to grow organic papayas in your compound and enjoy them.
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Sharon Marie olabanji RN, CHO, Founder and CEO of Pregnancyvitamins, has a background in community health, nursing, and nutrition. As a mom of two, I do thorough research and I decide to take good care of my self and tackle health problems during pregnancy and after delivery. Pregnancyvitamins.net is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the research team.