When my wife was pregnant with our children, she would have unusual foods cravings as most expecting mothers do. She did not crave hot sauce or spicy food, but some pregnant women may have a desire for the unique flavors and added spiciness that a hot sauce offers. While pregnancy may interrupt your regular eating habits the craving and consumption of hot sauce will not affect your unborn child.
Eating hot sauce or spicy foods during pregnancy will not harm your unborn child but the spiciness could agitate the mothers uterus. A pregnancy can disrupt your eating habits and you may crave something with a little more zest, such as hot sauces. If you don’t regularly consume hot sauce, consult your doctor before you decide to eat hot sauce during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are prone to heartburn so avoiding spicy hot sauces may be necessary. Your stomach becomes restricted the further along the pregnancy you are and so the acids have nowhere to go but up. WebMD states to avoid spicy foods due to the possibility that it will cause some indigestion and discomfort, but they also state that there will be no harm to the baby. This discomfort is not transferred to unborn child. (2020, babymed.com)
Is there a difference between hot sauce and spicy food?
All hot sauce and spicy foods contain a component responsible for the “heat” and it is called capsaicin. There are many levels of spiciness that capsaicin delivers due to the type of hot peppers and there can be many quantities of the compound found in whatever you are eating.
Although capsaicin is available as a topical application, there isn’t much research on the effects during pregnancy indicating either good or bad and there is even less research supporting the capsaicin found in hot sauce consumption. Most pregnant women may not be craving capsaicin directly because it is a tasteless and odorless compound so it is either a craving of spicy things or the other ingredients that make up a hot sauce. If there is an adverse affect that spicy food causes during pregnancy it is usually heartburn and will have more precedence from the ingredients in a hot sauce and not the spice of crushed hot pepper powder. Read Hot Peppers Are Not The Cause Of Heartburn…The Ingredients In Hot Sauce Could be.
Does hot sauce cause heart burn during pregnancy?
An article from Webmd.com clarifies some myths about hot sauce being a direct cause of heartburn. In the article Heartburn Prevention Tips for Spicy Food Lovers, statements that hot sauce may upset the stomach but not necessarily cause heartburn debunk the myth. Furthermore, recognizing what does irritate the stomach or cause heartburn is the best way to avoid these symptoms. (2020, webmd.com)
Further articles from Parents.com list 5 Foods That Cause Heartburn During Pregnancy and hot sauce is not on the list. Stanford Medicine states that heartburn can be a general symptom from pregnancy and certain foods can irritate it more.
Keeping track of the foods you consume is a great way to avoid some of the misconceptions about what causes heartburn says Lauren B. Gerson, MD from Stanford University. While this may seem obvious if you usually consume hot sauce you may not consider how it reacts to your body during pregnancy. Craving buffalo sauce?…It’s safe to eat during pregnancy too…read more.
A continuation of the article from Peter Jaret written for WebMD.com comments that writing down the specific things you are consuming is a great way to track what exactly may be causing the heartburn. Also eating these foods in smaller quantities will help as well because foods in general can digest slower during pregnancy and can be the cause of heartburn. To further break down this suggestion from Jaret…what exactly is in these sauces?
What is in these hot sauces?
A traditional hot sauce has very few ingredients to include aged hot peppers, vinegar and other spices such as garlic or salt. Know the ingredients of the hot sauce you are consuming (always read the label) and consult your doctor as well before you start consuming hot sauces during pregnancy. Believe it or not a traditional or classic hot sauce can be a healthy condiment decision whether you are pregnant or not. Check out Is Hot Sauce Healthy? for more information on the positive affects hot sauce has on the human body.
Some gourmet or artisan sauces are gaining popularity and can contain unusual ingredients making the sauce high in calories, full of sugars, loaded with fats or other ingredients that may cause heartburn. These sauces can contain exotic sugars or even butter combined with other ingredients that may otherwise be unhealthy. A buffalo style chicken wing sauce can often contain butter or a butter substance. However, eat butter, especially in the minimal amounts found in a Buffalo sauce is still safe to consume according to Vaya.com.
Popular in the hot sauce trend is the additional of apple cider vinegar or other types of vinegar to accentuate the flavor or health benefits they provide. Almost half of the contents of a traditional hot sauce may be vinegar. Although the pregnant body may only be consuming these sauces in small doses (or maybe not), there are still benefits the body will receive from vinegar while pregnant. Studies made by OVUM show that although apple cider vinegar has heath benefits if it is a pasteurized and not unpasteurized vinegar type being consumed during pregnancy.
Helping against morning sickness, contributing to digestion and providing a remedy to stomach issues could be because of the consumption of vinegar. Also helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure are additional benefits to the expectant mother states parent.firstcry.com. However, not all brands, varieties or types of hot sauce contain vinegar and if they do the body is probably getting them in small doses unless you are consuming large quantities of hot sauce.
Eat hot sauce in moderation
Parenting.firstcry.com also states not to overdue the intake of hot sauces and consume everything in moderation. That is a good mantra to live by, pregnant or not. It is difficult for me to eat a large amount of hot sauce in one sitting and I don’t put it on every meal I eat to begin with. If you regularly eat hot sauce and have done so throughout your pregnancy, than the child in the womb will be consuming as well.
Some nutritionist believe that if you eat a wide range of foods while nursing your child may be more accepting of a variety of foods. Flavors can pass from the mother to the amniotic fluids and expand the babies palate. The heat of a hot sauce does not pass to your unborn child. Eating hot sauces will not have any adverse effects to your developing child. (2018, Romper)
If you cook at home and use a lot of spices and hot sauces regularly in your cooking than you will probably be introducing these spices into your child’s diet at a very young age. Children can begin exploring spicy foods about when they begin eating finger foods (foods that they can pick up and eat themselves). This age may differ slightly between the child but some infants begin eating finger foods between the age of 7 to 8 months.
What will hot sauce do to my unborn child?
Hot sauce or spicy foods will not harm an unborn child states webmd.com. A healthy diet is necessary during pregnancy and fortunately hot sauces are not considered unhealthy. A traditional hot sauce made with peppers, vinegar and other spices has very few calories and the capsaicin from the peppers (the source of the heat) will be absorbed by the mother, not the unborn child.
In addition hot peppers, the main ingredient in hot sauce, provides vitamins A and C, antioxidants found in capsaicin and other nutritional benefits. Hot peppers also contain potassium but if you are eating hot sauce in small doses these will only be receiving micro nutritional benefits.
Is it ok to eat hot sauce if you are breast feeding?
According to Dr. Paula Meier from the Rush University Medical Center your baby will already be accustomed to the foods that mom is already eating. If you continued eating hot sauce throughout your pregnancy then than those are also being consumed by the baby in the womb. Different flavors and spices that the mother consumes are absorbed into the amniotic fluids.
According to webmd.com eating hot sauce and spicy foods during pregnancy is OK as long as your baby is not having side effects such as diarrhea and gas. If these symptoms occur cut back on the hot sauce for a few weeks to see if that helps. There are many other reasons that the infant could be having these symptoms.
It could be enticing for the child to consuming these flavor but it comes down to motherly instinct to know if your baby is acting negatively to hot sauce that you are consuming. Some strong flavors, such as garlic can transfer into the breast milk and Some studies have shown that the newborns were very receptive to these new flavors.
Does hot sauce cause heart burn to my baby while I am breast feeding?
A recent article from babymd.com title Spicy Food During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding states that states that the mother’s consumption of hot sauce while breast feeding will not cause acid re-flux in the infant. Exploring different foods while breast feeding will widen the palate as the child grows older and they may be more open to explore a wide variety of foods.
Is hot sauce Ok for children and babies?
Babies do not need to eat hot sauce and I have covered this topic in a post titled “Should Children Eat Hot Sauce”. The answer is no! the source of heat from hot peppers, capsaicin causes a “pain” in the mouth, throat and lips. Babies are not accustomed to this pain and do not know how to directly deal with it. Livescience.com states that the pain receptors in infants may cause a stronger reaction and will create adverse effects to consuming hot sauce.
Most foods that mom and dad are eating are OK for a child to sample but be aware of any possible food allergies your child may have as as well as adverse effects to hot sauce. Due to the few ingredients contained in most hot sauces this may be easy to do.
Brenna Davis from hellomotherhood.com states that you should consult with the child’s pediatrician before offer them hot sauce. I personally do not eat hot sauce with a great amount of heat so my children enjoy the jalapeno based sauce that I make but they didn’t start eating it until they were older. Be aware of your tolerance level of hot sauce as an adult before feeding it to a child.
There are not negative health issues involved with consuming hot sauce but babies and children can receive any vitamins and minerals that hot sauce provides elsewhere.
There is no list of foods that a breastfeeding mother should avoid. If you are craving hot sauce during pregnancy and while you are breast feeding it is very normal and OK to consume these hot sauces and spicy foods. Eat them in moderation, monitor your health while consuming and consult your doctor before you eat any hot sauces.
Eat peppers post pregnancy
Health.com states that hot peppers can also provide other positive reactions to the consumption of hot peppers, aside from the precautions stated above. The capsaicin rich hot peppers can help curb your appetite by reviving your bodies calorie burning abilities.
Know and understand the limits of your hot sauce consumption during pregnancy or at other moments in your life. Always consult a doctor when consuming new foods during pregnancy but don’t let myths or misconceptions about negative effects of hot sauce during pregnancy keep you from consuming your favorite hot sauce.
Ali Zafar, Mishal. What Happens To Your Baby When You Eat Spicy Food During Pregnancy. Mama Needs The Hot Sauce. Romper. www.romper.com 11, Jan. 2018.
Davis, Brenna. How Does Hot Sauce Effect Toddlers? Hello Motherhood. www.hellomotherhood.com. 17, June 2017.
Cox, Lauren. 5 Experts Answer: Is It OK To Give Babies Spicy Food? Live Science. www.livescience.com. 20, May 2013.
Grunebaum, Amos. Spicy Food During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Web MD. www.webmd.com. 22, June 2020.
Jaret, Peter. Heartburn Prevention Tips For Spicy Food Lovers. You Don’t Have To Stop Eating Spicy Foods Just Because You Have Heartburn. Web MD. http://www.webmd.com. 2020.
Mrunal. Vinegar in Pregnancy. Benefits and Side Effects. First Cry Parenting. www.firstcry.parenting.com 16, March 2019.
Silver, Kate. Frances, Marra MD. Food To Avoid While Breastfeeding – And Ones Not To Worry About. Parents.com. www.parents.com. 15, June 2015.