Spicy Food During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
Yes, Spicy food during pregnancy is safe for the baby and causes no harm according to reports. At most, a pregnant woman may feel discomfort like heartburn due to the irritation of the esophagus (tube connecting the throat with the stomach). This becomes more of a problem during the third trimester as the stomach acid is pushed upwards by the growing baby.
Spicy stuff during pregnancy is not solely hot food. There is a large variety of spices available in the market which includes cool spices such as fennel.
Saffron is one of the best things to eat during pregnancy and is a warm flavoring substance.
Some women confirmed that craving food items that are hot and spicy during pregnancy is related to gender but there is no scientific evidence to back it up. But it is mostly a chance event.
While spicy food is safe, it can cause discomfort to the mother such as aggravated morning sickness. It can also add to the preexisting causes of hot flashes or heartburn or increase their frequency. Other than that there is no harm in having spicy food while pregnant.
Some women tend to have bizarre cravings for pickles and other peppery food during pregnancy. The hormones regulating pregnancy changes cause these cravings which need to be satiated.
Mood swings get worse when you stress yourself by avoiding certain foods that your body is demanding. Nevertheless eating too much spicy food will also cause minor troubles but no harm reaches your baby.
Most women have spicy food all throughout their lives, so a sudden switch is not ideal either. You cannot imagine eating bland food for good whole nine months. It is best to maintain a balance and eat moderately spiced food. You must consume a variety of food to ensure that you and your baby get all the nutrients.
Does eating spicy food during pregnancy harm the baby?
If you eat spicy food while pregnant, it will not have any harmful consequences for your baby. It might rather help your baby to be able to adapt to different tastes from an early age.
Some spices and herbs have special properties that are good for pregnant women. Your baby will not have any problems with growth or any other development process if you eat spicy food while pregnant.
Most fishes and non-vegetarian dishes require spices to give them a pleasant aroma. Make sure that when you are eating such dishes the seafood or poultry is not stale or spoilt.
Some women who are not tolerant of any particular kind of spice may have digestion issues. Others may have morning sickness worsening they consume solely spicy foods during pregnancy.
A balanced diet, where you have fruits, veggies, and lots of fluids will keep a check on such side effects of spicy food while pregnant. Even if you are craving spicy food during early morning hours on empty stomach, avoid it. When you eat such food on an empty stomach it leads to acidity and eventually other troubles set in.
What are the side effects of spicy food during pregnancy?
Morning sickness getting worse and heartburn are some of the side effects of eating spicy food. You will have phases of craving spicy food but you need to limit the intake.
Is too much spicy food bad during pregnancy?
Once you cross the allowed limit you’ll put yourself at risk of the cons of spicy food while pregnant. And eating very spicy food is not recommended even if we say spicy food safe during pregnancy.
Similarly eating spicy food during early pregnancy is not a good practice. During early pregnancy, the body undergoes maximal changes and is in havoc. During this time if you have morning sickness there is no way to prevent it completely. You have to bear it and so you must avoid taking very spicy food.
The intake of too spicy food during early pregnancy will only aggravate symptoms. Spicy foods during early pregnancy can cause severe heartburn or reflux leading to throwing up. Craving spicy food during early pregnancy is because of the hormones going haywire.
Effects of having spicy food during pregnancy
1) Aggravated Morning sickness
Most women experience nausea, discomfort, and vomiting during early pregnancy. At this time you can develop an aversion to a certain smell or taste. If you are lucky you may not have morning sickness at all. In cases where a woman has morning sickness, spicy food can make it worse. As spicy food is more likely to lead to vomiting or acid reflux, it is best to reduce the amount. Even if you have always had spices in your food, reducing the quantity will reduce chances of aggravated morning sickness.
2) Digestive problems
Some women who cannot tolerate spices may have burning sensations. There can be acid reflux where the food reruns from the stomach to the esophagus. There is a burning sensation in the throat and tract. Spicy food will always increase the chance of such events. There are very fewer benefits of spicy food to unnecessarily putting yourself through this.
During late pregnancy, women have heartburn which is like intensified local flashes of heat. It is caused by the stomach acids pushed up by the growing baby in the womb. Taking spicy food along with some liquids such as milk or honey will heal acid reflux. Heartburn can make you feel breathless and choked.
4) Hot flashes
The sudden eruptions of body heat spreading throughout the body are Hot flashes. Out of the many causes, eating spicy food is also a reason for such spontaneous heat eruptions.
5) Irritable uterus
There is no proof but some say that spicy food can induce labor. Women who are in the last stages of pregnancy eat spicy food while preparing for labor. However, heartburn and hot flashes can increase discomfort and mimic labor symptoms. One can eat spicy food while getting ready for labor to arrive.
The cause of irritable uterus from spicy food is nothing but gas distress. Spicy food when being digested can lead to bloating. This will push the surrounding organs and eventually the uterus. But the push cannot be so strong that it leads to labor.
A spicy meal can only lead to gas distress and even diarrhea. Unless your labor was going to happen anyway spicy food is not going to change the actual course of events.
Spicy Food During Pregnancy First trimester
Most pregnancy losses occur in the first trimester. Your body needs time to adjust to this new change. Symptoms such as early pregnancy cramps can worsen when you eat spicy food.
Undoubtedly pregnancy loss or miscarriage is not a normal consequence of having spicy food. You may have experienced discomfort and heightened nausea or morning sickness and that is all.
Spicy food during the second trimester is going to be easier on your body. By this time your body will have fewer hormonal fluctuations. Thus you’ll be able to have your favorite spicy food safe during pregnancy.
Spicy food Third Trimester
During the third trimester, your body is preparing for labor. As the baby grows it pushes the surrounding organs and so you’ll have acid reflux.
When you have spicy food beware of its potential to increase these symptoms. Bloating and gas distress are common during this phase of pregnancy. Thai cuisine or any similar spicy food items during pregnancy are not ideal for the third trimester.
A possible alternative to spicy food can be adding lemon juice to give the zest to your food. Be careful while consuming garlic and peppermint. Peppermint is known to relax muscles and the oil is popular for inducing menstruation.
Also, avoid too many green chilies as they reduce the clotting of blood.
If you have an irritable uterus or muscle twitching after having spicy food in the third trimester then you must call your doctor. One can confuse preterm labor and the after-effects of spicy food during pregnancy.
Spicy food good for pregnancy may only be for few reasons like an appetizer. Spicy food is safe during pregnancy and is not really a major concern, because there is no risk to the baby.
Spicy food during pregnancy helping in predicting boy or girl like a gender test is just old wives tales. Spicy food and pregnancy gender have no relation according to science.
Similarly, myths like spicy food during pregnancy leading to premature labor or any deformity in the baby should be heeded.