If there is one thing that is apparently guilt-free during your pregnancy term, it has got to be your food. I don’t know of any mom-to-be who hasn’t experienced those insane cravings – ones that entirely take over her mind, making her go crazy over particular flavors and smells.
Well, if you have been experiencing the same, blame it on the pregnancy hormones! They can bring about quite a few wild food fetishes that can be weird, unpredictable, and funny at the same time. While most of such yearnings revolve around sweet, salty or tangy food flavors, many women get cravings for stronger or spicier preparations. Studies show that these urges are just a way for the body to replenish what is deficient (1).
Many orthodox belief systems advise against the consumption of spicy food during pregnancy, citing reasons like pre-term contractions and early labor, but such claims don’t have any substantial evidence. In fact, recent findings show that when you expose the fetus to a broader variety of tastes during the term time, it helps to broaden your child’s palate and food preferences while s/he is growing up.
So, does eating spicy food affect you during your pregnancy?
Does it pose any harm to your child?
Read on to find out if there are any repercussions of consuming spicy things while you are pregnant!
What Do the Experts Say?
According to the experts, eating spicy food doesn’t really affect your baby adversely. Only small traces of what you eat actually goes to the amniotic fluid. Unless you are eating some form of high-carb that can spike your sugar levels, you can rest assured that those active kicks inside the womb are not a reaction to the spices you had. In fact, there are a lot of countries where eating food with a high spice quotient is normal. Babies born in these countries are full-term and just as healthy as babies elsewhere.
However, an excess of anything is not good, and the same holds true for a preference of spicy food. While it doesn’t pose any direct harm to the baby, there could be adverse reactions in your body if you indulge in super spicy foods.
Let us examine how the intake of spicy food can cause problems in your body:
1. It Can Lead To Digestive Issues
Heartburn is one of the most common complaints associated with spicy food. During the period of pregnancy, there is increased pressure from the growing uterus on the stomach, which can lead to acid reflux. The acids in your stomach can flow up to the oesophageal pipe and cause reactions like heartburn, sour burps, and nausea. There is also a lingering hot sensation that you may feel in your chest and throat resulting in considerable discomfort. Also, your GI tract remains vulnerable during this period. Additionally, too much of spice can disturb the delicate balance of your stomach, causing indigestion and diarrhea.
2. Aggravate Morning Sickness
During your pregnancy, you become very sensitive to certain smells, especially the strong ones. Hence, it is better to avoid the introduction of new spices into your diet. A little tip: stay away from the ghost pepper if you don’t prefer the frequent vomiting bouts (2).
3. Affect The Symptoms Of GERD
Eating spicy food can’t result in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but if you have been suffering from GERD before, spicy food might aggravate the symptoms.
To conclude, it is better to consume a moderate amount of spice to balance your health and cravings. But if you are really craving for hot spices, be sure to taste them in smaller amounts first. This will give you an idea of how much spice your stomach and body can endure. If you experience heartburn or indigestion, it is better not to consume them. Also, make sure that the spices are chemical-free and sourced responsibly, to avoid any contamination.