Is It Safe To Eat Betel Leaves During Pregnancy?

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Many women may experience a sudden loss of appetite or digestive pain during pregnancy, contributing to the pregnancy blues. In such cases, the woman may consider chewing betel leaves during pregnancy to improve digestion and help with other related problems.

The betel leaf has been a part of Indian culinary and diet for centuries. It was a usual habit among kings and nobility to consume betel leaves after a meal. The eating of betel leaf provides many health advantages. However, you might wonder if betel leaves are safe to eat while pregnant. Continue reading this post to find out the answer to this question.

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The Benefits of Betel Leaf

Betel leaf is an effective mouth freshener.
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According to a research study and Ayurveda, Betel nut and Betel leaf could have many valuable health benefits because of its anti-infective, immunomodulatoryiXA substance with an ability to either stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight certain diseases. , hepato-protectiveiXAn ability to protect the liver from any damage. , anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, anti-diabetic and many other valuable properties (1). Betel leaf is also an effective mouth freshener. Consumption of Betel leaves also boosts oral health. The dried powder of these leaves is rich in vitamins, calcium, and iron (7). It may aid in the treatment of diabetes by ensuring blood sugar control (8).

Studies suggest that Betel leaf extracts have a chemopreventiveiXA chemical treatment that may help delay, prevent or supress cancer. effect, and reduced benign tumor growth in mice (2). Betel leaves also have many antiseptic and stimulating benefits as a herbal remedy.

Why is Betel Leaf Consumption Common During Pregnancy?

It is a natural and effective cure for cough.
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As per traditional belief, eating this nutrient-rich traditional medicine during pregnancy improves digestion and stimulates appetite. Some also believe that the application of Betel leaves during breastfeeding improves milk production in lactating mothers.

In addition, Betel leaf is also a rich source of antioxidantsiXSubstances that may prevent or slow down some types of cell damage caused due to harmful molecules called free radicals. . It is also a natural and effective cure for cough, bleeding gums, dehydration, wounds, inflammation, constipation, diabetes, headache and lower back pain.

Is it Safe to Consume Betel Leaves During Pregnancy?

Betel nuts with Betel leaves during pregnancy could increase the risk of cancer.
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While Betel leaf has many health benefits associated with its consumption, it is best to say no to it during pregnancy.

  • Reports from the World Health Organization reveal that chewing Betel nuts with Betel leaves during pregnancy could increase the risk of cancer and adverse pregnancy outcomes significantly. Also, the prolonged consumption of betel nut may also cause cancer, particularly oral cancer (3).
  • According to the International Journal of Medicine and Public Health, the women in rural areas of Bangladesh regularly consume Betel nut and Betel leaf and therefore suffer from folateiXNaturally occurring form of Vitamin B9, responsible for protein metabolism and the production of red blood cells. deficiency. Folic acid deficiency during pregnancy could lead to neural tube defectsiXBirth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord that usually happens during the first month of pregnancy. , preterm birth, low birth weight, defects in the nervous system, and retarded growth. (4)

Staying Safe During Pregnancy

Consume smaller, more frequent meals.
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Considering the contradictory opinions on the consumption of Betel leaf during pregnancy, it is best to avoid it. There are several other ways to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion during pregnancy.

  • Consume smaller, more frequent meals. Take a balanced diet. Avoid the intake of fatty foods that are too heavy and difficult to digest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you have eight glasses of water per day.
  • Consult your doctor and engage in some light physical activity or yoga to improve digestion and overall health during pregnancy.
  • Seek your doctor’s advice if your tummy is still troubling you.

Is It Safe To Eat Betel Leaves During Pregnancy?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if we eat betel leaf daily in pregnancy?

Eating betel leaf daily in pregnancy is not advisable as its regular consumption can cause folate deficiency and lead to pregnancy complications such as preterm labor, low birth weights, etc (9).

2. Is betel leaf heat or cold?

The betel leaf is known for its cooling properties. Its analgesic properties help relieve pain related to headaches (5).

3. Is betel leaf good for fertility?

According to research, extracts of betel leaf exhibit antifertility effects (6). Hence, you may not have it when planning for pregnancy or during pregnancy.

Betel leaves are popular ways to improve digestion and other problems. Women from certain cultures may have a habit of chewing on a betel leaf after their meals. Anecdotal evidence suggests several benefits of eating betel leaves, such as increasing appetite, improving digestion, and also helping in increasing milk production in lactating mothers. However, medical research suggests some risks associated with betel leaves consumption, such as folate deficiency and associated problems with the babies such as premature birth, low birth weight, issues with the nervous system, and growth retardation. Therefore, it is best to consult your doctor before consuming betel leaves during pregnancy.

Infographic: Reasons And Side Effects Of Chewing Betel Nuts In Pregnancy

Betel nut is commonly consumed in parts of Asia. And it is typically chewed for its stimulating effects. However, betel nut consumption during pregnancy can also negatively impact pregnancy. Use this infographic to learn about the possible reasons for expectant mothers chewing betel nuts and their side effects.

chewing betel nut during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Key Pointers

  • Betel leaf is a rich source of antioxidants.
  • It’s not recommended to consume betel leaf during pregnancy due to potential complications.
  • Frequent small meals and staying hydrated can help stimulate appetite during pregnancy.
  • If you have any questions or your stomach is still troubling you, consult with your doctor.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Rajendra Toprani and Daxesh Patel; (2013); Betel leaf: Revisiting the benefits of an ancient Indian herb.
  2. S V Bhide et al., (1991); Chemopreventive efficacy of a betel leaf extract against benzo[a]pyrene-induced forestomach tumors in mice
  3. Review of areca (betel) nut and tobacco use in the Pacific: a technical report.
  4. Manzur Kader; (2013); Association between betel nut consumption and folate deficiency among pregnant women in rural Bangladesh.
  5. Karandeep Kaur Rai, et al.; (2019); Review On Betel Leaf Used In Various Ailments.
  6. Sasmita Biswal; (2014); Phytochemical analysis and a study on the antiestrogenic antifertility effect of leaves of Piper betel in female albino rat.
  7. S.S Vijayanchali; (2018); Nutrient Composition, Phytonutrient Constituents and Antioxidant Activity of the Dried Betel Leaves (Piper Betle).,and%209.8mg%20of%20Iron
  8. Avdhoot Pandit and Dr. Abhijit Joshi; (2022); A Short Overview on Significance of Betel Leaf (Piper Betle) And Its Applications
  9. Manzur Kader; (2013); Association between betel nut consumption and folate deficiency among pregnant women in rural Bangladesh
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