Can You Eat Pepper While Pregnant?

Have you got bored of eating healthy bland food since you got pregnant? Have you developed a craving to eat spicy and hot food during your pregnancy? It is quite common for pregnant females to have cravings for hot and spicy foods. While talking about spicy, how can you ignore pepper? However, many people will warn you against eating spicy food that contains pepper while you are pregnant. Is this popular myth of pregnancy true? Read on to find out.

Can You Eat Pepper During Pregnancy?

Black pepper when eaten in its natural form may not cause any damage to pregnant female. Powdered or crushed black pepper eaten in this form does not cause any harm during pregnancy. However, excessive quantity of black pepper may cause acidity; hence, don’t eat it alone. Sprinkle its powder over vegetables, salads or fruits to improve taste along with salt and lemon or honey.

There are certain health advantages of black pepper which are described in the following paragraphs:

It Aids in Digestion

Black pepper helps pregnant females in easy digestion of foods and in prevention of gastric troubles. It also relieves nausea which is a common symptom of pregnancy. Bloating, which is commonly felt by pregnant females can be avoided or treated by consuming black pepper. It also relieves leg cramps of pregnancy. During pregnancy, include black pepper in your diet to improve digestion of food and relieve problems such as gas, cramps and bloating.

It Prevents Cancer

During pregnancy, your body goes through numerous changes including oxidative damage that may cause cancer in future. Carotenoids, which are antioxidants, are present in black pepper. They prevent DNA damage; thereby, preventing cancer.

It Helps Fight Acne

You may develop many skin problems including acne during pregnancy. One of the benefits of eating black pepper during pregnancy is avoiding acne. You should eat black pepper combined with honey to avoid acne completely or to help with its healing. You can also apply a paste of honey and black pepper over the areas having acne and the lesions will heal much faster.

It Helps in Curing Cold and Cough

You may get a cold or cough while you are pregnant. Fortunately, black pepper can help you in relieving the problem. Though there exist no clinical evidence that proves this claim; however, pepper is used around the world in several cultures to treat cough and cold.

It Acts as Natural Antidepressant

Numerous females suffer from symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy. Including black pepper in the diet during pregnancy is an excellent way to beat blues of pregnancy.

It Includes Folate

Folic acid or folate is needed while you are pregnant to prevent defects of neural tubes in your developing baby. A good quantity of folate is present in all kinds of pepper.

It Boosts Immune System

During pregnancy your immunity becomes low. Vitamin C is present in black pepper, which increases your immunity and prevents illnesses such as cough and cold.

It Helps in Regulation of Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a great risk to both your and your baby’s health while you are pregnant. Potassium helps in keeping your blood pressure in check.  Black pepper is a rich source of potassium and by eating pepper during pregnancy you can prevent high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

Nutritional Statistics

Black pepper contains manganese and just two tsp of pepper contains more than 12% of your RDI of manganese. Two tsp of pepper also has 8.6% of RDI of vitamin K and 6.9% of RDI of iron. It is also a rich source of fiber and has around zero cholesterol, calories and fat.

Watch Out for the Possible Side Effects

Some of the side effects of eating pepper while pregnant are as follows:

Allergic Reactions

In some females eating pepper may produce symptoms similar to allergy. In case you have suffered from such symptoms before, don’t consume black pepper while you are pregnant.

So, when you are talking of pregnancy, black pepper is not a huge concern. But that should not imply that you can eat all types of pepper. Including a dash of black pepper in the diet will do well than harm. But excess of black pepper can be unsafe. If there are any doubts, you should talk to your physician. Share the experience you had with pepper during pregnancy.

Intestinal and Stomach Problems

Using excessive pepper may result in stomach problems. Hence, in case you have sensitive stomach, don’t eat pepper.


While consuming pepper in normal doses may not cause any harm, it does has some serious adverse effects in pregnant females. When the oil form of pepper is applied topically to skin, it acts as a uterine stimulant and cause early contractions in a pregnant female.

Other possible adverse effects include gastrointestinal and digestive problems, which may not harm the child directly but can make your pregnancy difficult. This is particularly true during last trimester of pregnancy when considerable pressure is put by your growing fetus on your stomach and other digestive organs.


Though, general consensus is lacking on the subject, according to some homeopaths, pepper is an emmenagogue, which are herbs used to induce menstruation by stimulating flow of blood in the uterus and pelvic area. They have been used historically for termination of pregnancies; hence, you should avoid large doses of oil of black pepper or pepper while pregnant.


There are no scientific studies available that show effects of pepper on unborn babies. Since every pregnancy is different, it is best to listen to the cues of your body and discuss with your obstetrician for more information.

Common Side Effects of Eating Spicy Food During Pregnancy

Morning Sickness

Many females suffer from morning sickness in the initial months during pregnancy. The symptoms are upset stomach, vomiting or nausea and are caused due to hormone level changes. Nausea may be triggered by certain smells and tastes and you may find it difficult or impossible to smell or eat spicy foods that you enjoyed previously. You should avoid spicy foods during first trimester as they may aggravate morning sickness. In many females, the symptoms improve and they return to eating their normal diet post first trimester of pregnancy.


You must avoid eating spicy food if you develop heartburn after eating it. You may develop acid reflux and heartburn after eating spicy foods during the last trimester of pregnancy. In case you are eating spicy foods, drink a cup of milk with them so as to minimize heartburn. Symptoms of heartburn can also be prevented by eating a tbsp of honey after eating spicy food.

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