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
Papaya (2010). In A DerMarderosian, J Beutler, eds.,
Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Wolters Kluwer
July 23, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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