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.footnote 1
The papaya enzyme that helps soothe indigestion is called papain, or
vegetable pepsin. Papain is found in the fruit's latex and leaves.footnote 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 Health.
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