Burning to eat something hot? Craving a curry? But first: can you eat spicy food while pregnant?
Being on a pregnancy diet can sometimes feel like eating at a restaurant where all your favorites are out of stock.
Sashimi, pâté, and, um, raw cookie dough, are unfortunately off the menu for now.
(Don’t worry! They’ll be back on the table soon enough, we promise.)
And what about the fierier flavors? Can you eat spicy foods while pregnant? Or are they out of bounds? And why do we even crave them to begin with?
Let’s dive in.
In this article: 📝
- What does it mean if you crave spicy food while pregnant?
- Can I eat spicy food while pregnant?
- Can my unborn baby taste spicy food?
What does it mean if you crave spicy food while pregnant?
So you’re craving spicy food during pregnancy.
Even the word curry has you salivating as you think of that beautiful burn on your lips.
You’re not alone in your passion.
While we don’t know exactly why, according to this study, up to 90% of pregnant women experience cravings for specific foods while pregnant.
And while this is more commonly for sweeter treats, it’s totally possible that your dish of choice is on the spicy side of life.
But is it safe to eat spicy food while pregnant? Or are you going to have to put those desires on the back burner for now?
All sorts of myths abound about eating spicy food while pregnant, from them causing pregnancy loss to them having the potential to burn your baby’s eyes.
Thank goodness, these are not true. In fact, for some mamas-to-be, spicy foods can be a welcome addition to a pregnancy diet.
We’ll take you through the details.
Can I eat spicy food while pregnant?
We have good news! Spicy foods should be safe to eat during pregnancy — with one important caveat: that they feel okay for you.
The reality is, spicy foods might not make you feel so great right now.
Pregnancy can bring with it all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms — heartburn, nausea, and vomiting being the top contenders in the highlights package.
And spicy food can inflame these fires.
Nausea is generally at its worst in the first trimester.
(Although it’s often called morning sickness, it can happen any time of day.)
Heartburn, on the other hand, can get worse towards the end of pregnancy as your growing baby puts pressure on your stomach.
One of the reasons for heartburn during pregnancy is — you guessed it — pregnancy hormones.
They sometimes do too good a job of loosening up the muscles in your body.
One result? The valve at the entrance to your stomach can get a little too relaxed, and acid from your stomach can move back up the esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and your stomach).
And there you have it: acid reflux.
The bottom line? There’s a lot interfering with the smooth running of your digestive system right now, and you may not want to add another rebel to the mix.
Spicy food, unfortunately, can be exactly that.
It can set off your early pregnancy nausea and fuel the flames of your heartburn.
Can my unborn baby taste spicy food?
While spicy food is safe for your baby, you may be curious as to whether they’re enjoying your meal.
As it turns out, while you tuck into those delicious flavors, they may be developing some sophisticated tastes in there.
There’s some recent research to suggest that certain foods we eat during pregnancy may flavor both our amniotic fluid and breast milk.
While this research didn’t focus on spicy food specifically, it did look at some of the ingredients that are the makings of a good curry — garlic, carrot, and anise for example.
There are also studies to suggest that what you eat while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding may impact your little one’s enjoyment of specific foods.
(It’s important to note that they’ve only studied this with specific foods, but still, it seems promising!)
So, provided it doesn’t set off any of your other pregnancy symptoms, giving in to those curry cravings may just be a great way to kick off your baby’s appreciation for a world of flavors.
An added bonus? According to recent research, consuming red chili pepper may even lower your risk of heart disease.
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Can Pregnant Women Eat Deli Meat?
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Can Pregnant Women Eat Mushrooms?
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Can Pregnant Women Eat Bacon?
Can You Eat Medium Rare Steak While Pregnant?
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