Strange cravings are an inevitable part of every woman’s pregnancy.  When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, she didn’t crave any of the clichéd weird stuff like pickles and ice cream but she definitely did get specific and acute cravings.  One of the cravings that I vividly remember was for pineapple, which was odd because she didn’t particularly like pineapple before she got pregnant.  Being the responsible husband of a pregnant woman, I started researching to make sure that whatever weird thing she was craving was OK to eat.  What I found out while doing this research was that, while pineapple was fine to eat, there is another tropical fruit that is definitely not.  Papaya.       

Enzymes are the answer

So why should pregnant women not eat papaya?  The easy answer is that papaya contains an enzyme that can potentially be dangerous for pregnant women.  However, I’m curious by nature and I wanted to find out all of the info that I could on this topic.  It turns out that papaya itself isn’t actually dangerous to pregnant women, provided that they are absolutely certain that the papaya they are eating is completely ripe.  If the papaya is even the slightest bit under ripe, it will still contain a waxy enzyme that is thought to trigger contractions and could potentially lead to a miscarriage.  So while the papaya actually can be eaten by pregnant women, it is extremely unadvisable for them to do so. The smallest bit of under ripe fruit can cause them to essentially go into an early labor.

Be Aware

This really got me thinking about what sort of things can and cannot be eaten by pregnant women and how fortunate we are to have a resource like the internet at our fingertips; because there is absolutely no way that I ever would have thought to keep my pregnant wife away from a papaya.  The same thing holds true for sushi as well.  These are foods that I generally think we would find healthy in everyday life, and without the knowledge of what they can do specifically to pregnant women, they would be foods that we would otherwise recommend.  

I suppose that the moral, or purpose at least, of this cautionary tale is to be extraordinarily careful with the foods that you are putting in front of a pregnant woman.  Do your research and ensure that the foods you are serving to them are safe, not just for them but for the baby as well.