Pregnant women are known to have weird cravings, from more conventional foods like chocolate and ice cream to weird cravings like household detergent. One of the most controversial cravings is spicy foods. People suggest that spicy foods are bad for fetal development, but is it really the case?
Can spicy food affect my baby?
Fortunately, spicy foods don’t affect your baby. Spicy foods are one of the few foods that your baby can actually taste while still in the womb because a tiny amount of spicy food can go into the amniotic fluid. In fact, your child might actually like the change in taste. Not to mention, exposing your baby to different tastes before and after birth will help your child be less picky when it comes to eating. University of Florida taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk says babies who experience many tastes are typically more willing to accept new flavors. If your child is used to many tastes while in the womb, the habit will be reinforced over a lifetime. If you are interested in introducing other foods to your baby, some foods that could be transmitted to the amniotic fluid or mother’s milk are vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, and mint.
How spicy food affects you
People generally believe that pregnant women should avoid spicy foods because their body temperature is “high” and eating hot foods can increase the temperature further. Some say that spicy foods can trigger contractions in the stomach, leading to pre-term labor or even miscarriage. However, there is no scientific backing for this claim. Many women who normally eat spicy foods in their diet (Thai and Indians, for example) don’t change their diet during pregnancy yet there is no report of any of the problems mentioned above.
While they don’t affect your child, spicy food may make you uncomfortable. They are the most common cause of heartburn and acid reflux. Heartburn is most common in the last trimester, as your growing baby causes stomach acids to push up into the esophagus. Thus, if you want to avoid reflux, you should stay away from spicy foods.
Science did prove some benefits of eating spicy foods. Spicy foods can help you:
- Live a longer life
- Lose weight
- Reduce pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent bacteria and viruses infection
The best thing to do is stick to a healthy, varied diet, and avoid foods that make you feel uncomfortable. If you are still concerned, you should talk to your doctor to find the best diet for you and your child.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 28, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
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Is it safe to eat spicy food when pregnant or breastfeeding? http://www.babycenter.in/x562558/is-it-safe-to-eat-spicy-food-when-pregnant-or-breastfeeding. Accessed August 22, 2016.
Science Proves That Eating Spicy Foods While Pregnant Is Awesome. http://www.mommyish.com/2011/08/08/science-proves-that-eating-spicy-foods-while-pregnant-is-awesome. Accessed August 22, 2016.
Spicy foods: The health effects of adding heat to your meal. http://www.today.com/health/spicy-foods-health-effects-adding-heat-your-meal-t73591. Accessed August 22, 2016.