Are Spices Bad in Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding?

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Facts about Effects of Spices During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy is the time when extra care is to be taken, especially the diet part. During pregnancy women have an intense desire for a particular things, this may include desire for spicy food.
When I was pregnant first time spicy food specially the chilly used to trigger nausea. And I was so following a strict healthy diet which had very less spices. I still used to have spicy curry once in a while but not as regular as before getting pregnant.
At my second pregnancy I had tremendous cravings for spicy.. I used to eat very spicy chicken/mutton curries. I was worried and felt guilty that I was not eating as healthy as first time. But my doctor told me if it doesn’t cause any health issues to mother then there is no harm to baby.

Eating Spicy Food Doesn’t Harm Your Baby During Pregnancy Nor During Breastfeeding:

Having spicy food during pregnancy is fully safe for the development of fetus. As per the research it is being studied that unwashed vegetables and fruits, excessive amount of caffeine, herbal teas, unpasteurized juices and dairy products, fishes which have a high mercury content like sword fish, shark, mackerel, uncooked sea food, meat and poultry products should be avoided by a pregnant women as it may cause illness which may harm the baby or can even cause birth defects in your baby. While spicy foods are advised safe for a pregnant women but on the condition that it should be up to certain limits and are not the spicy version of the above mentioned foods which is unsafe during pregnancy.

Spicy Food doesn’t Cause Miscarriage:

It is an old saying that spicy foods can quicken labor or can cause preterm labor or miscarriage, but there is no scientific evidence that spicy food cause miscarriage nor there are any proofs that spicy food stimulates labor. So there should be a limited intake of spicy foods to avoid having any kind of doubt in your mind.

Spicy Food Can Make You Uncomfortable:

Having spicy food may not cause any harm to the baby, but it can make mother uncomfortable. Pregnant women are already prone to heart burns, having spicy food may trigger it and make you really uncomfortable. Having a big belly and not feeling good would make your day worst.

Spicy Food can Cause Heart Burn And Indigestion:

Spicy foods usually causes indigestion and heart burn. If you don’t usually experience so, but it can affect you during pregnancy. During pregnancy there is increase in certain hormones in our body and it makes the muscle in digestive track relax which slows down the digestion process and creeps back the stomach acids into esophagus, causing indigestion and heart burn. If you too experience the same then avoid having spicy foods.

Spicy Food During Breastfeeding:

During first 40 days a breastfeeding mother must avoid spicy food. Your baby is having what you are eating through breast-milk. It doesn’t mean the milk is spicy if you eat chilly but it may be hard for your baby’s delicate digestion system to cop up with spices.
Even after 40 days go easy on chilly and spicy. Start adding very little amount and see if your body and baby can accept the spicy food. If baby is having digestion trouble mostly the risk of loose motion then stop spices again. If your baby accepts the spicy food, it is great but still you should take in moderation.

Healthy and Safe Indian Spices For Pregnant Women:

Following are the spices which can be consumed safely during pregnancy as all the mentioned spices are not heat inducing in nature:
• Cardamom [Elaichi]
• Nutmeg [Jaiphal]
• Cumin [Jeera]
• Ajwain
• Turmeric [Haldi]
• Coriander Seeds [Dhaniya]
• Mustard [Rai / Sarson]

Below spices are heat inducing in nature but if taken in moderate or low quantity it should be safe during pregnancy:
• Black Pepper [Kali Mirch]
• Cinnamon [Dalchini]
• Chilly
• Cloves [Laung]

Eating Spicy food close to your date may cause indigestion or heart burns. Use the trial and error method, start eating fewer portions of food and see if your body accepts it or it causes acidity. If your body responds positively you can safely enjoy and carry on eating. But if you have acidity or indigestion then you might need to go for mildly spiced diet.
Main concern for pregnant women should be eating healthy, as health of the mother and the baby depends on it. Try avoiding empty calories & junk food. As Indian food is spicy and it’s our taste that keeps us away from bland food, but try to limit your spice intake and keep eating healthy.
As mother you have got 9 months to build a strong foundation for baby’s life long health. And your each meal counts. So think of baby first before you think of your taste buds!

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Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

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