Safe Pregnancy Diet | Can Y...

Papaya is a nutritious and delicious tropical fruit that many people love, but if you’ve ever asked yourself, can you eat papaya while pregnant, the answer is “yes,” but only if the fruit is very ripe (fresh). There are a few misconceptions about pregnant women eating papaya, so if you love this type of fruit and you’re pregnant, it’s good to learn the rules associated with papaya before you rush out and buy some for yourself.


Can Pregnant Women Eat Papaya?

Yes, you can eat papaya if you’re pregnant, but the fruit has to be very ripe. This should make your decision easier because the riper the papaya is, the juicier it tends to be in general. Unripe or raw papaya may still be good, but not as good as ripe papaya. Unripe papaya is usually green in color, so if you’re wondering how easy it is to tell the difference between ripe and unripe papaya, rest assured that it is very simple indeed.

So, how can you tell if a papaya is ripe? All you have to do is smell it! Take a whiff of the papaya close to the stem to determine how ripe it is. Unripe papayas have no smell, ripe papayas smell sweet and feel fairly soft to the touch, and overripe papayas have unpleasant odors. And if the papaya is green, it is likely not ripe enough to eat. Still, the “smell” test is the easiest way to tell how ripe the papaya is.


Can Papaya Cause a Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy?

There have long been concerns about papayas causing miscarriages in early pregnancy, but don’t panic just yet. When unripe papayas were given to mice in a lab, many of them did start to have contractions, which caused some of them to miscarry. When they were fed ripe papayas, this did not happen. The difference is that unripe papayas produce latex while ripe papayas do not, and latex is dangerous to the human body.

Still, having contractions and having a miscarriage are two different things, and scientists are not completely convinced that eating unripe papaya will cause a miscarriage in all pregnant women. Nevertheless, most OB-GYNs advise their pregnant patients not to eat unripe papayas at all just to be on the safe side. They also recommend that if patients wish to eat papaya while pregnant and they cannot tell if the papaya is ripe or unripe, they need to avoid the fruit altogether.

The bottom line is that if you’re pregnant, you should know for certain if a papaya is ripe or not before you eat it. If you are not 100% certain that it is ripe, it’s best to avoid it and choose another fruit instead. While the nutrients in papaya are good for both mother and baby, you can eat other fruits that have the same nutritional value.

And you should also not panic if you find out that you’ve accidentally consumed a small amount of unripe papaya because you didn’t know about it. According to most OB-GYNs, there is very little chance that this will hurt you. That being said, if you are concerned at all, just mention it to your doctor at your next visit.


Substitutes for Papaya

If you’re developing nutritious meals for pregnancy and you’re looking for fruits that are just as healthy as papaya but don’t pose any danger, you can choose one of the following:

  • Apples are low in sugar, crunchy, and fairly high in fiber. Plus, there are many different types of apples to suit everyone’s preferences.
  • Many melons, especially cantaloupe, have sweetness plus a soft texture that is very similar to papaya. Cantaloupes also contain fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Everyone loves the sweetness of oranges, and if you eat only one orange per day, both you and your baby will get all of the vitamin C that you need.

Many pregnant women eat papaya mainly for the high vitamin C content, but there are numerous other fruits you can choose that have just as much vitamin C, taste delicious, and will never form latex in them regardless of when you buy and eat them.


Some Other Tips to Keep in Mind

Unripe or green papaya also contains an ingredient called papain. Papain is potentially bad for a developing fetus and may even cause certain congenital disabilities. When papaya is ripe, it will not be green in color but will have a pleasant golden-yellow peel. In addition to being ripe, papaya also must be washed thoroughly with water and a vegetable brush before eating.

As far as papaya seeds are concerned, they are actually nutritious as a general rule, but fetal development can be affected if too many of them are consumed. Indeed, most obstetricians recommend that if you’re pregnant, you should not eat the seeds of the papaya, even in small amounts. The evidence regarding this is inconclusive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, if the papaya has any bruises or broken skin, it’s best to avoid it. If you don’t notice the bruises until after you get home, simply cut them out to remove them from the fruit.



Papayas can be eaten by pregnant women, but only if the papayas are ripe. Unripe papayas contain latex, which can be harmful to both mother and baby. Always make sure that the papaya is washed well and the dark spots or bruises cut out before you eat it. If you’re not sure whether the papaya is ripe or unripe, it’s best not to buy it.

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