Skip to Content

Pregnancy: Avoiding Papaya

Topic Overview

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, avoid eating unripe papaya. Papaya that is unripe contains a latex substance that may cause contractions of the uterus. Papaya or papaya enzymes are sometimes recommended for soothing indigestion, which is common during pregnancy. Although a fully ripe papaya is not thought to be a problem, it is not known for sure if papaya is completely safe during pregnancy.1

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 (2010). In A DerMarderosian, J Beutler, eds., Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised October 22, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Oct
    1
    Wednesday
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Providing a supportive environment for postpartum parents and their babies to learn and connect with others.
  • Oct
    4
    Saturday
    9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    An annual event for any individuals previously and newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Oct
    7
    Tuesday
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    This open discussion for parents will focus on creating their birth environment, comfort measures, positions for labor and other general questions about labor.