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Nature's Insights

Spicy Food When Pregnant

Many pregnant women crave spicy foods, but despite being safe for your baby, it may make you feel uncomfortable. Spicy foods are a known trigger of heartburn (which is even more common during pregnancy) so it’s best they are eaten in moderation.

Eating in moderation

If your body can digest all the spices in your food, it is safe to consume it in limited quantities. If you’re going to eat spicy food, your body may thank you for grinding your own freshly-bought spices rather than buying pre-cooked and processed spicy food.

Risks and side effects

Balancing your body during pregnancy can be really difficult, and it becomes even more important to understand how things may or may not affect you and your baby.

  • Morning sickness is very common in the early stages of pregnancy and is caused by changing hormone levels. Spicy food may exacerbate feelings of nausea, so it may be best to avoid spicy food in the first trimester.
  • In later pregnancy, as your baby gets bigger and there is less room for your vital organs, heartburn and acid reflux may be more prevalent. You may find that during the last few months of your pregnancy you are more sensitive to spicy foods, so eat in moderation where possible.
  • Sometimes spicy food can cause irritation in the intestines, which may make food pass through the digestive system faster than other food and cause diarrhea. As a result of your intestines cramping, your uterus can become irritated. Speak to your midwife if you have any concerns.

Tips for consuming spicy food when pregnant

  • Buy fresh spices and grind them at home. Then you will know that they don’t contain impurities, and exactly which spices you’ve consumed
  • If particular spices are new to you then eat them in small amounts to begin with
  • Limit or avoid spicy dishes if they give you heartburn
  • Pair a spicy meal with milk to minimize heartburn.

Myths

The myths associated with eating spicy food during pregnancy include;

  • Spicy food can harm your baby.
  • Spicy food can lead to pre-term labour
  • Eating spicy food when pregnant can cause you to miscarriage.

None of these have any scientific evidence therefore there is no reason to believe them.

Spicy food to induce labour

Spicy food may help bring on labour in the last trimester or for mums that have gone over their due date. Spicy food can stimulate the digestive system which may have an effect on the uterus. Your midwife may have some other suggestions to help labour get started.

It is always best to consult your doctor or midwife for nutritional advice If you are unsure about the food you are eating while pregnant or would like to know more about the best foods for you and your little one.

 

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