Can You Eat Spicy Food While Pregnant?

When you're about to bring a baby into the world, a lot of things happen both within and around you. Some of the changes that happen to your body are ones you can see for yourself, like the skin around your belly stretching to create a temporary home for your child, and others are more concealed.

You might also start to notice the people around you taking a special interest in your well-being. Parents and grandparents might have advice on sleeping positions to try so you're comfortable at night. They might make you some of the foods they themselves consumed during a similar time in their lives. Food and nutrition, in fact, become a crucial topic during pregnancy. 

Dietitian and nutritionist Sarah Krieger tells Live Science that the need for a nutritious diet is even more important when expecting, with fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, and whole grains all playing an integral role in giving yourself and your baby the vitamins and nutrients you need. However, is there anything you shouldn't be eating? Maybe you're craving spicy foods during your pregnancy, or perhaps you've always been a fan of adding spice to your meals. It's natural to wonder about the safety surrounding eating spicy food when you're pregnant. Here's the truth. 

It's perfectly safe to eat spicy food while pregnant

The general scientific consensus is clear that reaching for the hot sauce at the dinner table is not going to put your baby in any kind of danger. The old wives' tales surrounding spicy food and how it could harm your unborn child or bring on early labor have no scientific basis, confirms Romper. It's not going to cause you or your baby any harm, so eat up! 

Of course, there are a few caveats. If you're not used to eating spicy meals or have a sensitive stomach, then you may experience heartburn and gastrointestinal discomfort. Even if you eat the foods regularly, you could suffer from similar sensations. A good tip to follow, especially if you're craving spicy foods during pregnancy, is to take baby steps with the entire thing. Drinking plenty of water could help as well. 

You might even be doing yourself (and your baby) a favor with your hankering for hot wings every night. A 2001 study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that eating spicy foods when you're pregnant could help expand your baby's palate. Peppers can relieve inflammation, and spicy foods have also been linked with better cardiovascular health, so it's a win-win.

A few safety tips to keep in mind

Your changing hormones (and the shifting organs inside you) during pregnancy can be the cause of various uncomfortable sensations, and heartburn is one of them. Spicy foods could aggravate the situation, as could things like peppermint, caffeine, chocolate, and tomatoes. 

Keeping your trimesters in mind while consuming spicy foods might be a good idea as well, per Healthline. For example, if nausea is something you're experiencing in your first trimester, consuming spicy meals might just add to all the unpleasantness. In this case, it's best avoided.

Listening to your body is an important part of the entire exercise. Pay attention to how you feel after eating spicy meals and if you have no adverse effects, feel free to keep your diet as-is. However, if you have indigestion or heartburn brought on by any particular foods, remove them from your fridge or kitchen cupboards, at least for now.

There are some pieces of advice you should listen to when you're pregnant and others you shouldn't, but your body and how it reacts to different kinds of meals is always a good indicator of what's right for you.