Does papaya affect fertility? Is swordfish safe? If you’re trying to get pregnant, there are some surprising foods that you might want to swerve.

Does papaya affect fertility in a negative way?

Yes and no. There’s confusion around eating papaya while pregnant because ripe papaya is good for pregnant women while unripe papaya is not.

Papaya is normally a healthful food, but it contains a substance that can cause uterine contractions, especially before it fully ripens. So, sadly yes.

Those beautiful, juicy fruits can cause some negative effects while pregnant, and the seeds and skin can affect sperm quality. They are best avoided by both of you when you are trying for a baby as there are many other sources of nutrition to enjoy safely during conception & pregnancy.

Unripe papaya should be avoided while pregnant because:

  • It might trigger marked uterine contractions, leading to early labour.
  • Papain (contained in unripe papaya) is a substance which your body may mistake for the prostaglandins sometimes used to induce labour. It may also weaken vital membranes that support the fetus.
  • It is a common allergen that could trigger a dangerous reaction.

If you accidentally eat a few cubes of ripe papaya in a fruit salad, there’s no need to panic. We’d advise against eating this entire plate though, even though it looks delicious!

vegan sources of omega 3 papaya fertility foods

Should I eat tuna when I’m trying for a baby?

There’s no getting away from mercury in seafood, and the high mercury levels in larger fish like tuna and swordfish have been linked to reduced fertility. Furthermore, mercury can build up in the body and affect the developing foetus. Mercury is bad news if you’re trying to get pregnant. 

If you want to get your Omega-3 in the all-important DHA form without the mercury – take a tip from the vegans and switch to DHA-rich algae oil capsules while you’re making babies.

Can I get listeria from vegetable pate?

Your doctor or midwife will probably advise you to avoid soft cheeses, meat pates and other potential sources of the bacteria listeria. This unpleasant microbe can not only make you very sick, but it can also cause a miscarriage. But did you know that vegetable pate can have listeria lurking in them too? 

On the whole, plant-based foods are far less likely to give you food poisoning – but all bets are off when you’re trying to become pregnant! It’s best to lay off all forms of pates if you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test. 

veg plate papaya fertility foods

Does bacon cause fertility problems?

Processed meat is very unhealthy, and eating too much of it can negatively affect both sperm and ovaries. 

The nitrates and trans fats they contain can even contribute to cancer and other diseases. Kids are a long-term commitment, so if you’re avoiding processed meats for fertility reasons, why not go ahead and cut them out altogether?

Veggie and vegan substitutes have come a long way since the tasteless sausages of the 1990s. Some of them are delicious, and while they are sometimes full of salt and not exactly healthy food, they don’t contain the levels of harmful chemicals and carcinogens that make the real deal so dangerous. 

I have heard that plastic food packaging can cause infertility.

In theory, yes it could contribute to your fertility struggles. BPA is a chemical that can contaminate the food that is stored in many types of plastic. Scientists don’t fully understand how BPA can compromise fertility yet. What they do seem to have uncovered, is that higher levels of the chemical in the body are associated with less successful natural conception rates and fertility treatment success rates. Yikes.

BPA is everywhere, so there’s no getting away from it completely.

However, it’s possible to limit your exposure. Avoid food and drinks in plastic containers, including water bottles. A metal water bottle is a better bet to avoid chugging BPA-laced water all day.

fruits nuts and veggies for the fertility diet


The "Fertility Diet" Pattern

Published by a team of Harvard researchers in 2007, the “Fertility Diet” study— found women with ovulatory infertility who followed this eating pattern had a 66% lower risk of ovulatory infertility and a 27% reduced risk of infertility from other causes than women who didn’t follow the diet closely.

Women following the “fertility diet” chose:

  • Less trans fat and more monounsaturated fat (from foods such as avocados and olive oil)
  • Less animal protein and more vegetable protein
  • More high-fiber, low-glycemic carbohydrate-rich foods (including whole grains)
  • More vegetarian sources of iron and fewer meat sources
  • Multivitamins

Opt for fresh food, boost your intake of plant-based food, try and go for food stored in glass, ceramic or cardboard containers, and give the canned food and microwave meals a miss, at least while you’re hoping to become a parent.