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Having betel leaf is quite a common thing in our country and families. Betel leaf brings its own share of benefits for the body and is known to have an impact on appetite as well. At times, you might even crave for a meetha paan during pregnancy and want to relish those flavours. But is it safe for the baby, or does it have harmful effects? Let’s find out.
Betel leaf might be a healthy choice for many. However, it is recommended to avoid having it while you are pregnant.
Having betel leaves with betel nuts could have a harmful impact on one’s health, and can even result in cancer. Many parts of the world where people have a tradition of regularly eating betel leaves, even during pregnancy, have shown higher cases of pregnancy complications, birth disorders, etc.
Most pregnant women that continue to eat betel leaves during pregnancy do so as a result of long-held traditions in families and neighbourhoods. There are reports of betel leaves aiding the process of digestions and stimulating the appetite of a person. In certain areas, betel leaves are applied to the breasts while breastfeeding in order to boost the production of milk.
Betel leaves do contain antioxidants in substantial quantities. These make them a natural cure for typical illnesses and issues such as a cough, dehydration, inflammation, constipation, headache, and many others.
Betel leaf uses in pregnancy can be generally summarized as follows:
- Due to the natural tendency of betel leaf to stimulate the appetite, eating betel leaves could help improve the digestion process in a pregnant woman and relieve any issues of constipation.
- The multiple antioxidants and minerals present in the leaf add to the nutritive value that can be obtained by consuming them.
- One of the major harmful effects that have been observed in regular eaters of betel leaves is its high risk of causing cancer. Most of the times, it is oral cancer that can affect not only the mother but also the child.
- Consumption of betel leaves during pregnancy can adversely affect the foetus. While it is at its most vulnerable in the development stages, this could expose the baby to developing birth-related defects or could even cause a miscarriage.
- Consuming sweet paan during pregnancy may cause cancer, but there is an even higher chance of the formation of mouth ulcers. At times, these take a long time to be cured. Furthermore, these can reach inside the body and affect organs like the oesophagus, larynx, and the throat, causing immense discomfort.
- Most betel leaves are mixed with tobacco when they are given from paan shops. Tobacco is known for being a stimulant that increases the dopamine levels and affects the biology of the body. This could lead to addiction on one the hand, and may adversely affect the baby since these changes could be harmful to his growth.
- The layering of slaked lime on the leaves may not bring out all the nutrients but can definitely result in affecting the heartbeat and can cause palpitations. Long-term damages include coronary heart diseases. At times, people do get addicted to the consumption of slaked lime, too.
- Regular consumption of meetha paan can lead to the rise in weight, resulting in obesity.
Pregnancy cravings are not a new thing, and nearly all mothers desire foods that can be rather strange at times. However, it is necessary to know that not all cravings are safe to be satiated, and some of them can lead to long-term damage. Be it a craving, a long-held tradition, or just a casual option, keeping betel leaves away during pregnancy is your best bet in ensuring the healthy development of your baby and keeping yourself healthy to take care of him as well.