The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.


      Eating spicy food in pregnancy

      Spice herbs spoons

      Eating spicy food in pregnancy

      Read time: 5 minutes

      Whether it’s a mouth-watering, flavour-packed curry or a chilli-spiked Mexican burrito, some of the nation’s favourite dishes pack a real chilli kick. If you’re a fan of chilli and spice, you might be asking yourself, is it safe to eat spicy foods during pregnancy? And if it is, what effects might they have?


      Can you eat spicy food when pregnant?

      There’s no scientific evidence to suggest you need to cut out spicy foods during your pregnancy, so if you enjoy your food with a bit of a kick, there’s no need to cool things down. In fact, many women experience strong cravings for hot, spicy foods during pregnancy. These cravings can be caused by fluctuating pregnancy hormones which can play with your sense of taste and smell.

      As long as you remember to include a variety of vegetables in amongst all that spice, there’s no harm in enjoying your favourite spicy foods. Read more about a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy.

      Spicy Tuna Cakes|spicy tuna cakes

      Are there any effects of eating spicy food when pregnant?

      The effects of spicy foods on your baby

      Eating a hot curry or any foods containing spices or chillies won’t harm your baby in any way. In fact, eating spicy food may actually help them enjoy a wider variety of foods once they’re older1.

      Advances in early life research have revealed that the flavours from the foods you eat can pass from you to your baby via the amniotic fluid, and that as your unborn baby’s sense of taste and smell develop, they start to form opinions about the foods you eat. By the end of your pregnancy, your baby will regularly swallow large amounts of amniotic fluid and studies have shown that this could have an impact on your baby’s food preferences once they start weaning2.

      The effects of spicy foods on you

      While spicy foods won’t harm your baby, or help induce labour for that matter, they can both cause and exacerbate symptoms of indigestion and heartburn in yourself. Indigestion and heartburn are both common side effects of pregnancy thanks to the hormonal changes taking place in your body, and the mounting pressure of your growing baby pressing against your stomach3. If you experience any symptoms of indigestion or heartburn after eating spicy foods, you might want to cut them out for a while.

      1. Lecanuet JP, Schaal B. Fetal sensory competencies. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1996;68:1-2.
      2. Ventura AK, Worobey J. Early influences on the development of food preferences. Curr Biol 2013;23(9):R401-8.
      3. NHS. Indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed March 2020].

      Read next

      Your baby's future health begins here

      Your baby's future health begins here

      At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

      Join Aptaclub

      Questions about feeding and nutrition?

      Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.