Papaya during the First Trimester of Pregnancy: Is it Safe?


Can Papaya cause Miscarriage or Complications in Pregnancy?

Knowing clearly about what you are eating is good for your health is always a pretty norm. But during pregnancy, healthy diet of normal days can also cause severe issues. During this sensitive time duration, your friends and family advise you about what to eat and what not. But it sometimes starts a real confusion, getting you stuck with your specific cravings, health habits, and suggestions.

Papaya is one of such fruits which is believed to have harmful effects on your unborn baby. Is it really harmful?

Can Papaya cause Miscarriage or Complications in Pregnancy?
green papaya
Let’s have a look at the possible outcomes of eating Raw Papaya during the first trimester of Pregnancy. And, most importantly, when should you avoid it?

Traditional Believe about Papaya & Pregnancy

There are so many countries where it is traditionally believed that papaya causes miscarriage or may affect your unborn baby. But, why such facts are circulated about such nutritional food? Are they correct?

Yes and No

Papaya is a fruit, considered must-have for everyone’s plate. It has many healthy properties to prove its worth. But yes, there are some conditions in pregnancy, when you should definitely avoid the consumption of papaya. See when not to eat papaya if you are pregnant.

Unripe or Semi-ripe Papaya

Pregnant women must avoid unripe papaya because latex is present in it. Latex is known to cause uterine contraction. So, it will cause miscarriage or premature birth of the baby. It is better to avoid papaya until it’s fully ripe (another reason to eat the tastiest papayas only).

Avoidance in early stages – Especially in the first trimester of Pregnancy

The fetus is very sensitive in the early stage of pregnancy. In such case, the smallest part of latex can cause the highest harms. So, fully avoid eating papaya in your first trimester. Don’t worry & try these healthy and tasty foods instead.

Avoid Papaya Seeds

Studies have shown that papaya seeds are not good during maternity. It may cause burning itching, abdominal pain so while eating papaya exclude its seeds.

Avoid if you are Latex Allergic

Some people are allergic to papaya due to its latex content. It may cause redness itching, breathlessness etc. It’s better to avoid eating papaya if you belong to the same group.

However, avoidance of papaya during pregnancy is a traditional belief only and you should focus on avoiding unripe papaya. But if you still have doubts, you can consult your doctor before eating it. (Or, check the benefits below)

Meat Tenderizing Properties

Green Papaya, Papaya skin and Papaya leaves contain an enzyme called as Papain which makes it highly efficient meat tenderizer. This property is harmful to pregnant women.

Health Benefits of Ripe Papaya

ripe papaya
Papaya is rich in nutrients and fibers. Making papaya smoothies during pregnancy with milk makes it more nutritious and healthy. Here are some benefits of papaya –
• Papaya is rich in vitamin C and E which helps to increase body’s immunity.
• Papaya is rich in vitamin B it helps in the development of the foetus.
• Papaya helps the triggers of morning sickness.
• During pregnancy women suffer from constipation papaya helps to ease constipation.
• Papaya is good for the digestive system it prevents heartburn or acidity as papaya is rich in fibers.
• It is also a good source of fiber and folic acid.
• Papaya helps to prevent and control constipation and heartburn.
• Papaya helps to improve heart, keeping it away from diseases.
• Papaya provides protection against colon cancer.
• Papaya is rich in folic acid which works as a blood-forming agent.

But as already said, it is not at all good for the first trimester of pregnancy. Check why –

Effects of Papaya in Pregnancy

Apart from papaya’s benefits, it is not good during the early stages of pregnancy as it may cause serious complications to the mother and baby. It is always advised to eat papaya which is fully ripened. Here are some of these complications which are caused by papaya.
• Unripe papaya may cause miscarriage in pregnancy.
• There is an enzyme present in papaya called Papain which is used to soften meat Because of Papain enzyme it weakens the vital membrane of the embryo.
• It is also given to pregnant women to induce labor pain eating unripe papaya at early stages of pregnancy causes premature labor pain.
• It causes loss of implantation or embryotoxicity.
• Papayas impede fetus development and growth.
• Eating unripe papaya induces pressure on blood vessels which causes internal bleeding and hemorrhage.
• Papaya causes abnormalities in the fetus if eaten at early stages.

Concluding the discussion, Papayas should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy as you can’t properly check every bit of it for the latex. It’ll be tedious and unrealistic, no?


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.


  1. Avatar

    One of my aunts recommended not to eat papaya during pregnancy, but I have recently read in a magazine that papaya is good for increasing the platelet count. Can I recommend it to my friend who is 03.5 months pregnant and suffers from low platelet count? Is it safe? and also let me know if there is any other alternative. It would be really helpful.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Sapana

      These are 2 tricky things: Papaya in pregnancy and Platelet counts. Only a doctor can answer that too after physical examination. hence I recommend to get a medical consultation.

  2. Avatar

    Papaya is my favorite fruit. When doctor recommend me to eat fruits, I initially thought of papaya. Thanks for the details. The article is helpful. Now, it is sure papaya should not be included. Can you tell me which are the best and safe fruits to eat during pregnancy? I don’t want to take any risk as it’s my first baby.

    • Sapana

      Safe Fruits during Pregnancy: Apple, Banana, Orange, Figs, Pomegranate, Dates, Berries, Apricots, Watermelon

    • Sapana

      Fully Ripe Papaya is safe if taken moderate. One bowl cut papaya once in 2 days. Cut the papaya properly avoiding the peels as the peels are not healthy for pregnant women. Many Indians use the papaya peel as meat tenderiser which is harmful for pregnant women.

  3. Avatar

    I am a new mom and recently entered in 4th month of pregnancy. Is it safe to eat papaya in this phase of pregnancy? What other precautions should I take to have a health baby?

    • Sapana

      Hi Seema,
      As explained above the ripen papaya in small amount is ok at 4th month. But dont forget to get advice from your medical expert.

  4. Avatar

    Im worrrid right now 27 weeeks pregnant and im eating unripe papaya once a week… what happen to my baby…?

    • Sapana

      If papaya is well ripened then you don’t need to worry all.
      In any case you should not worry your happy mind is must during pregnancy.
      Always consult your doctor in case you observe any unusual things in your health

      • Avatar

        In restaurants they are used unripe pappaya for making tendering the meats. Is that pappaya mixed meat is harmful for the 1st trimester . It’s cooked with the meat later.

        • Sapana

          Hi Gouri,
          The raw uncooked papaya has tenderising properties. So cooked green papaya is not that harmful. But its always better to avoid it.
          Most of restaurants use it in grill meat foods especially Mutton Kebab. So try to avoid such foods in future. Just a few more months of precautions. 🙂

          • Avatar

            im a pregnant women. now im in First Trimester of my pregnancy. today i ate some cooked papaya. now im so worried about it. plz tell me its really harmful for my fetus? what can i do now? plz plz plz help me. im really so worry about it.

          • Sapana

            Hi Sabina,
            I am not a medical practitioner but according to my knowledge the meat tenderising properties are lost when papaya is cooked.
            More than the papaya, your stress is harmful for the child. A pregnant woman should not panic. Maintain healthy diet balance and simple exercises for pregnant woman. Stay happy.
            Small mistakes wont affect much to your baby or you.

  5. Avatar

    I have heard mixed reviews from my friend on this topic. Some said I can eat papaya however some strictly instructed me to avoid the consumption of Papaya. I am completely clueless whom to trust. Please guide

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    • Sapana

      Hi Stella, being a blogger and not a medical adviser I can not comment on your query. But I personally believe this way is very harmful and also never recommended.

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  8. Avatar

    Can you please provide references to your Effects of Papaya in Pregnancy? These are very serious side effects stated and I would like to understand more what research/ findings they are based on.

    • Sapana

      Hi Susana,
      I am glad you asked for the reference.
      Please check the Miscellaneous uses section of
      From> “the unripe fruit as a mild laxative or diuretic, and to stimulate lactation, labor, or abortion; the ripe fruit for rheumatism and alkalinizing the urine; the seeds for intestinal worms or to stimulate menstruation or abortion; ”

      Green papaya is known to stimulate abortion in India since ancient times. But I did refer such authentic sites/sources while writing the above article.

      Even though I believe one single papaya/slice of it may not induce abortion but surely its not a safe to have for pregnant women, especially 1st trimester of the pregnancy.

      I hope I provided enough information to back up the article.

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