Is it safe to eat papaya and pineapple during pregnancy?
Fruits are delicious natural foods that not only provide you with fibre, minerals and vitamins during pregnancy, but also satiate your sweet cravings. They should ideally be included in your daily diet, whether you want to enjoy whole fruits, fruit salads, yoghurt with fruit or cereals with fruits. However, your friends or family members might warn you against certain fruits like papayas and pineapples during pregnancy. In India, many people believe that papaya and pineapple can cause miscarriage and should be completely avoided until delivery. So, the big question is, should you really avoid papaya and pineapple during pregnancy? Let us get to the bottom of the truth.
Is papaya safe for you?
According to doctors, you should not worry about having ripe papaya during pregnancy. Ripe papaya has yellow skin and is a good source of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
However, caution is advised while eating raw papaya during pregnancy. It has green skin and has latex and papain. These components might cause the following:
- Latex can cause early labour by inducing uterine contractions
- Papain in raw papaya can be mistaken by the body for agents called prostaglandins that prompt labour
- The foetus is supported by certain membranes during pregnancy, and the latex component might weaken these membranes
- The latex component can also trigger an unwanted allergic reaction
- Latex can cause bleeding in the placenta too
- fibre content in green papaya can cause increased bowel movements and promote labour
So, when you are pregnant, you can choose to eat ripened papayas all through the pregnancy as they are rich in many vital nutrients. Or, if you still have doubts, you can avoid papaya completely. Women who avoid papaya during pregnancy replenish the nutrients through other sources.
Fruits that can replace papaya are:
If you choose to continue having papaya during pregnancy, make sure you choose ripened papayas with yellow skin. You might also want to consult your doctor.
Is pineapple safe for you?
Knowing about pineapple pros and cons during pregnancy is important as the fruit is loaded with many benefits. Pineapple is a good source of vitamin C for pregnant women. It is also rich in other nutrients which are important for you and your baby:
- Vitamin B-6
As such, pineapple is safe for pregnant women. Rather, pregnant women are advised to have at least 1 or 2 servings (1 cup) of fresh pineapple every week, during early pregnancy. Pineapple provides vitamin C to the baby, which promotes the production of collagen, which is essential for the development of skin, cartilage, bones, and tendons. It has several other nutrients that are important for the normal growth of the baby. The iron content of pineapple is important for the production of blood too. Fresh pineapple also contains folate, which helps in preventing birth defects.
It is a myth that pineapple can cause miscarriage or early labour. There is no scientific evidence to prove this. However, you might have heard that the bromelain content in this fruit is harmful. Now, bromelain is known to cause the breakdown of proteins and abnormal bleeding, and is harmful. While it is true that pineapple contains this enzyme, it is present in the core of the fruit. Very little of it is present in the flesh, which is consumed in the form of cubes or slices. This amount is not harmful during pregnancy. If you are still worried, you can opt for canned pineapple or fruit juice, as bromelain is removed from canned and bottled products.
However, you should be cautious about how much pineapple you have. The acid content of pineapple can cause heartburn and acid reflux, which is not ideal during pregnancy. The contents of pineapple might cause allergic reactions in some mothers as well, so watch out for symptoms like itching, skin reactions, asthma or congestion.
How should you have pineapple?
- You can have a small cup of fresh and cubed pineapple
- You can add chunks of pineapple to yoghurt and have it in the morning
- You can prepare a smoothie with frozen pineapple
- Add big pieces of pineapple to kebabs for a savoury treat
- Make sweet and tangy salsa with pineapple pieces
- You can make ice pops with pineapple
- You can add pineapple cubes as toppings on a pizza
- Add pineapple chunks to salads
- Add pineapple slices to a grilled chicken sandwich
To conclude, consulting a doctor is recommended before you consume papaya or pineapple during pregnancy. Remember that not every pregnant woman is same, and so, your body might react differently to these fruits than others.