Is Pepper OK When Pregnant? Hot, Cayenne, Black + More

Photo of author

Written by Shandra Williams

Published on

BabyFacts logo

There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to eating peppers while pregnant. Some women claim spicy peppers can relieve morning sickness, while others avoid them at all costs. What’s the real story?

It’s perfectly safe to eat peppers (even hot ones) when you’re pregnant, as long as you consume them in moderation. Too many peppers can lead to heartburn, indigestion, and gastrointestinal distress, so it’s best to avoid them if you have a sensitive stomach.

There are different types of peppers, and some are safer than others when you’re pregnant. What are the benefits of peppers during pregnancy, and are there any concerns? What about pepper as a spice? Keep reading to learn more.

Is It Safe to Eat Pepper When Pregnant?

There’s no need to avoid eating pepper when you’re pregnant. In fact, pepper can be a healthy addition to your diet. Peppers (as in bell peppers) are packed with nutrients and can even relieve common pregnancy health problems like constipation and morning sickness.

We have a dedicated article about bell peppers during pregnancy here if that’s the type of pepper you’re looking for.

white pepper and black pepper separated

Can I Eat Black or White Pepper in Pregnancy?

Black and white pepper, as seasonings, are both safe to eat in moderation during pregnancy. They’re a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C, and can also relieve gastrointestinal issues like nausea and vomiting (source: WebMD).

If you’re struggling with morning sickness, try adding a little black or white pepper to your food. The pungent flavor of the pepper can help to ease nausea and vomiting for some people (source: Nutrients). A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and increase gradually.

It’s also important to note that black and white pepper can cause heartburn and indigestion in some people (source: WebMD). If you’re prone to these issues, it’s best to avoid pepper or eat it in small amounts.

cayenne pepper in a bowl

Is Cayenne Pepper Safe When Pregnant?

When you think of spicy food, cayenne pepper is probably one of the first spices that comes to mind. Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that’s commonly used to add heat to dishes. It’s also used in traditional medicine for its purported health benefits.

Cayenne pepper is safe to eat in pregnancy, but it’s important to start with a small amount and increase gradually as tolerated. Some pregnant women find that cayenne pepper can trigger heartburn and indigestion (source: Medical News Today). It’s best to avoid cayenne pepper or limit your intake to small amounts if you’re prone to these issues.

Cayenne pepper is also comparable to other forms of chili peppers, such as jalapeños, serranos, and habaneros. These peppers are best eaten in small amounts only. They won’t cause any harm to your baby, but it may exacerbate existing gastro-intestinal symptoms that many women are prone to when expecting.

sichuan pepper in a wooden spoon

Can You Eat Sichuan Pepper When Pregnant?

Sichuan pepper, also known as Szechuan pepper, is a type of spice that’s commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It has a unique flavor that’s both spicy and citrusy.

Sichuan pepper is not actually a pepper, but it has a similar flavor profile. Eating in pregnancy is safe, but it’s important to start with a small amount and increase gradually as tolerated – the same as with most spices.

Some pregnant women find that Sichuan pepper can trigger heartburn and indigestion (source: JNM Journal).

Unless you are prone to gastrointestinal issues, you can still use pepper to flavor your favorite spicy dishes when you’re pregnant.