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Pregnancy: Avoiding Papaya


Topic Overview

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, avoid eating papaya or using a papaya product. Papaya is sometimes recommended for soothing indigestion, which is a common ailment during pregnancy. Although a fully ripe papaya is not considered dangerous, a papaya that is at all unripe contains a latex substance that triggers uterine contractions.1 Contractions of the uterus could lead to a miscarriage.

The papaya enzyme that helps soothe indigestion is called papain, or vegetable pepsin. Papain is found in the fruit's latex and leaves.1 Unripe papaya latex may act like prostaglandin and oxytocin, which the body makes to start labor. Synthetic prostaglandin and oxytocin are commonly used to start or strengthen labor contractions.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Papaya (2004). In A DerMarderosian, J Beutler, eds., Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedNovember 10, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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