While many pregnant women worry about the foods they eat and whether or not they might harm their unborn child, there is one food group that is often left unquestioned – spices. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the effect of eating spicy foods while pregnant.

Why women have cravings while pregnant

It’s a well-known fact that pregnant women often have cravings for certain foods. But why is this? What causes these cravings?

There are a few theories. One theory is that the body is trying to get enough of certain nutrients that are needed for the developing baby. Another is that pregnancy hormones may play a role in causing cravings. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that pregnancy cravings are a real phenomenon.

So what about spicy foods? Is it safe to eat spicy food while pregnant? There isn’t really any definitive answer, as there isn’t much research on the subject. However, it’s generally agreed that moderate amounts of spice are probably fine.

Can spicy foods hurt your fetus?

There is no evidence to show that eating spicy food will hurt the growing fetus. However, it is still important to be mindful of how much spice you’re consuming. Eating large amounts of spicy food can lead to some negative effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, heartburn, and exacerbated morning sickness.

Spicy foods can cause heartburn

Eating spicy foods during pregnancy can lead to heartburn. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that can be caused by stomach acid rising up into the esophagus. Pregnant women are at higher risk of heartburn because pregnancy hormones make the valve at the entrance of the stomach relax. Heartburn in pregnancy can be avoided by eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and not lying down right after eating.

Spicy foods can worsen morning sickness

If you’re struggling with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, spicy foods may not be the best choice. Many pregnant women find that their nausea is exacerbated by spicy foods. If this is the case for you, it’s best to avoid spice until your symptoms improve. It is always important to listen to your body and avoid eating anything that it doesn’t agree with.

Can spicy foods induce labor?

There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that eating spicy foods can induce labor. However, some women report that eating spicy foods late in pregnancy helped them to go into labor. So, if you’re approaching your due date and are looking for a natural way to induce labor, eating spicy foods may be worth a try! Just be sure to talk to your doctor first, as he or she may not want you to eat anything spicy if you have a high-risk pregnancy.


Pregnant women should err on the side of caution when it comes to consuming spicy foods. Spices can cause heartburn and aggravate morning sickness. If you’re pregnant and crave something spicy, you can try milder versions of your favorite dishes, or you can add spice after the dish is cooked. You can also look for recipes that use other flavorful ingredients, like herbs and citrus, to add flavor without the heat.

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Courtney Simons
Courtney Simons
Author, Dr. Courtney Simons has a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and a Ph. D. in Cereal Science from North Dakota State University.