It is well known that honey has many beneficial factors. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties due the various vitamins and minerals found in honey are known to help boost the immune system.
It is also very well known for helping soothe sore throats and relieving coughs.
We all know how enticing sweets are during pregnancy, so why not enjoy a treat and burn some calories at the same time? We deserve it!
Though there are no direct benefits of eating honey for women during pregnancy, all of these general health factors are absolutely beneficial to women who are pregnant.
Are there any dangers?
As new moms, we are repeatedly warned not to give honey to our babies who are under twelve months old.
Does this mean honey is also dangerous for expecting mothers and babies in the womb?
Old wives’ tales.
I have lived in “Smog Valley” my entire life. I know what you’re thinking. What does this have to do with honey and the safety of my baby?
Just as many poor souls who’ve grown up in the valley, I am riddled with seasonal allergies.
A few years back my mom told me that she heard eating local raw honey can help build an immunity to local allergies.
Naturally, when I learned I was pregnant, I dreaded the thought of my little Marie having to suffer from such allergies as I have. They completely suck the fun out of the changing seasons.
After studying the potential risks and benefits to eating honey during pregnancy, you can imagine my dismay when I learned that eating local raw honey is not guaranteed to help fight allergies.
In fact, according to WebMD, eating unprocessed honey could actually trigger an allergic reaction.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that anyone who is allergic to, or is particularly sensitive to celery, pollen or other bee-related allergies avoids raw honey all-together.
They also warn against purchasing honey, nicknamed ‘Mad Honey’, that contains Rhododendron, as Rhododendron contains a neurotoxin so potent that even in small doses it can cause light-headedness and potential hallucinations.
But is it harmful?
Despite the potential allergies, there are many who say honey is perfectly safe during pregnancy.
Dietician Keli Hawthorne says, “There are no studies on the safety of raw honey during pregnancy, but there is no reason it shouldn’t be safe,” explaining honey doesn’t carry listeriosis (found in unpasteurized cheeses and deli meats) which can cause serious infections in those with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women.
OBGYN Dr. Patrick Weix from Irving, Texas also ensures honey is safe for expectant mothers.
But if honey isn’t safe for babies, why would it be safe for babies in the womb, or women who are pregnant?
The National Honey Board explains on their FAQ page under ‘Infants and Honey’, the intestines in infants one year and younger are under-developed, allowing spores of the ‘Clostridium Botulinum’ bacteria to germinate in the intestines which could lead to infant botulism – a rare but serious disease affecting the central nervous system.
Keli Hawthorne further explains C.B. spores are able to germinate because infants’ intestines are not mature enough to destroy this bacteria.
However, healthy adults, including pregnant women are not susceptible to the disease, nor are the little beings growing inside of them, as the honey is filtered through Mommy first.
General health precautions.
For women who are pregnant and are diabetic or obtain gestational diabetes, have low blood sugar levels or are taking any medications or other herbs that may affect blood sugar levels, the Mayo Clinic reminds us of the sugar levels in honey, saying anyone who is diabetic or has difficulties controlling their blood sugar levels should not eat honey.
To review, we have learned the following:
- Honey consumed in moderation has the potential to being very beneficial for pregnant women.
- Women with gestational diabetes or blood sugar problems should not consume honey during pregnancy.
- Women particularly sensitive to bee-related allergies should avoid honey all-together.
- Honey does not cause infant botulism in expectant mothers or their unborn children, so long as Mommy-to-be has no developmental issues with her intestines.
In conclusion, though it’s best to avoid consuming raw honey, so long as Mom-to-be is in relatively good health, processed honey poses no risk to her or Baby.
What are your experiences with honey during pregnancy? Have you had any complications or noticed any benefits from consuming honey, or do you avoid it all-together? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.