Honey During Pregnancy: Is Honey Harmful for Pregnant Women?



If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant in the near future, you probably have heard a lot about the rules about what women can eat during pregnancy. The actual advice of doctors and medical professionals as to which foods will be most beneficial for both mother and baby during pregnancy provides warnings about foods that may actually harm the unborn child.

Unfortunately, all the advice about what to eat and what you shouldn’t eat can be confusing, especially if you’re a first-time mom. Even for mothers who have been pregnant before, the rules about nutrition and the best foods chosen for your baby are always changing. Yes, pregnant women can eat honey. A woman’s digestive system can handle bacteria. The gut of an adult is well established. An adult is more likely to have protective flora in the intestine, which prevents the growth of spores and prevents the development of botulism.



Botulism toxin is not likely to pass on to the baby. According to a study conducted in Canada Family Medicine, botulinum toxin makes it very difficult to reach the baby through the placenta. This means that although a woman eats honey and has spores of botulism in her own body, she cannot reach the baby. According to some experts, the main risk of honey is that it contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning because it is raw food. Food poisoning is a disease that causes paralysis in the body. When bacterial spores are present in the body, they produce botulinum neurotoxin, which is dangerous to humans and causes paralysis in the body. Food poisoning is actually caused by a bacterium found in soil and dust, so it is almost always around.

Even after cleaning, it can be found on almost any home surface, from carpets to benches. For healthy children and adults, swallowing bacteria is generally not harmful and does not actually cause symptoms of botulism (food poisoning). However, adults and children are different from babies. Some babies are more susceptible to developing the disease after eating botulism spores. Honey is known to contain some Clostridium spores, so there is a risk for infants because it directly introduces spores into the digestive tract. When spores enter the digestive tract of a baby, they can grow more easily and produce botulism toxin, a dangerous substance that causes symptoms.

Is it Safe to Eat Honey During Pregnancy?


You certainly have heard that honey is not safe for babies, and that’s true. Honey may contain bacteria that can germinate a baby’s intestine and cause infant botulism, a rare but fatal disease. The baby’s intestines are not mature enough to destroy bacteria. However, healthy adults do not carry the risk of botulinum from honey even during pregnancy. Although most of the honeys sold in stores are not made for safety reasons, they are pasteurized by a method similar to that used for pasteurizing milk.



The honey is heated to 161 F for 15 to 30 seconds and then cooled rapidly. This kills yeast cells, honey does not ferment and slows down the crystallization process, allowing honey to remain liquid for longer. There is no research on the safety of raw honey, but there is no reason to believe it is unsafe. It does not carry the risk of listeriosis with unpasteurized honey, unpasteurized cheese, and delicatessen.

While honey is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy, women with gastrointestinal abnormalities or digestive disorders such as Crohn’s or IBD may want to take extra precautions to eat honey during pregnancy and consult their physician about their recommendations for honey whether it may increase the risk of any infection. Any condition that does not normally function in the digestive system or flora, whether it is an immune disease or a structural disorder, can affect the risk of developing botulism in a pregnant woman.

Honey During Pregnancy


There is no medical literature supporting that it is not safe to consume honey during pregnancy. However, the latest developments in technology, especially in the field of agriculture and food production, are not all as they seem. For example, many of the foods we eat today are loaded with fertilizers and additives that can be harmful to health in the long run. Pregnancy is a very vulnerable stage because mixed forms of honey consumed during pregnancy can pose health risks to both the mother and the baby. Therefore, we can conclude that pure and pasteurized forms of honey are completely safe for consumption during pregnancy.

Honey may contain certain spores that may harm the health of the mother and / or the fetus. In such cases, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor and have an allergy test; Especially if you change a brand of honey that you usually buy. If so, the spores will not harm your baby. Because these spores cannot tolerate an acidic pH and die in the presence of the adult digestive system and do not infect your baby.



Tips to Remember:

Yes, honey can be consumed during pregnancy. However, there are some important points to keep in mind before consuming.

  • It is always recommended to take pasteurized sugar during pregnancy. This is because the raw forms may contain bacteria that cause some diseases.
  • Buy honey from trusted brands. Most commercially available honey is subjected to extensive processing before finally being bottled and marketed.
  • Choose the honey that is minimally processed and organic in nature.
  • Some types of raw honey are known to contain a bacterium known as clostridium botulinum, which is thought to increase the risk of a condition known as botulinum.
  • In general, honey is an excellent alternative to white sugar and offers many health benefits. You can certainly consume honey during pregnancy as long as you buy it pure and preferably organically. If you have any concerns, make an appointment and talk to your doctor.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Honey?


As a natural ingredient, honey is important and healthy. Honey is a useful food in itself, with a mix of various nutrients including sugar, vitamins, amino acids, trace enzymes, and minerals. There are more than 300 honey species-rich in fructose, each with a different but unique color and taste.



Pregnant women often ask if honey is good during pregnancy. There is nothing in the medical research literature that says bad things about honey. Eating honey does not harm a pregnant woman. However, you should worry that honey contains botulinum toxin. These bacterial spores do not reach the fetus and will enter the bloodstream and there is no way to affect your unborn child. A condition that occurs due to an increase in blood sugar levels during pregnancy, even in women who have succumbed to pregnancy diabetes during pregnancy, can continue to eat honey by maintaining calorie intake.

Health Benefits of Honey


Some of the health and nutritional benefits of honey, which is rich in fructose and combined with glucose and some other nutrients are:

  • Boosts the immune system: Can be used to heal wounds, minor burns, and cuts. It also neutralizes the tummy acids to help pregnant women get rid of heartburn. Antioxidant and antibacterial properties found in honey due to various enzymes and amino acids help to increase the immune system.
  • Provides recovery from insomnia: eating a tablespoon of honey before bed helps pregnant women sleep well. It is linked to insomnia and treatments of insomnia.
  • Prevents colds and cough: When honey strengthens the immune system, pregnant women develop more power to avoid cold and cough.


  • Good for sore throat: Sweet honey, when used in combination with ginger, can help soothe the throat and kill bacteria that cause infection to the neck.
  • Against cancer: Various medical studies have found that eating honey regularly reduces the growth of H. Pyroli, an ulcer-causing bacterium.
  • Scalp correction: Most pregnant women have dandruff and suffer more itching during pregnancy than ever before. Honey has been found to improve seborrheic dermatitis, which is one of the scalp conditions that disturbs hair conditions when diluted in water.
  • Reduces allergy: Pollen spores collected by honey during honey production cause allergen when you eat. This activates your immune system and develops the strength to resist your allergies.

Honey side effects


Some of the side effects associated with eating excessive amounts of honey include:

  • It can make insulin sensitivity even worse: Excessive honey consumption increases blood sugar levels and increases pre-existing insulin resistance. Pregnant women should not take less than 25 grams of fructose per day.
  • It can cause cramping. Too much honey consumption also causes stomach cramping and many other problems such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating.
  • It affects the gastrointestinal tract: If you eat excessive amounts of honey with an increase in blood sugar levels, your body becomes slightly acidic. This affects the gastrointestinal tract and prevents digestion.
  • Adversely affects dental health: It is sweet and high consumption can affect dental health, which causes tooth wear.
  • Weight increases: Because honey is rich in calories, consuming too much can also increase weight. Since the health benefit of honey exceeds its side effects, it can worsen health conditions at different times when used with other edible foods.


The addition of honey to hot water or drinks destroys the enzymes in it and reduces its quality in its raw form. Similarly, when combined with nutrients rich in vitamin C and vitamin D, minerals in honey do not exert much effect, as they negatively affect the strength of vitamins. It can also cause indigestion problems when used in combination with bean sauce.

However, the problem of eating honey in infants under the age of 1 or 2 is botulism. Consuming raw or unpasteurized honey can cause bacterial spores and the digestive tract in infants which is not developed to get rid of these spores. The intestines in infants are not mature enough to destroy bacteria, so if eaten, it may interfere with the digestive tract and cause problems such as diarrhea and indigestion. We always recommend that you buy honey from trusted brands that are thoroughly processed, including pasteurization, before bottling and marketing. This allows you to take vital nutrients and add the amount of fructose to your body.

Extra: Consume Protein during Pregnancy, Keep Your Baby Healthy


Protein is one of the leading nutrients that support the healthy development of the baby in the womb. Nutrition and Diet Department Coordinator Dietitian Derya Dinçer Akın, who states that protein consumption is more important than ever during pregnancy, has suggestions about how to use the protein correctly and in amounts.

Importance of Protein


Proteins are an important building block of cells. Given the rapid development of a fetus, protein consumption is an important part of pregnant nutrition. Adequate protein intake during pregnancy ensures the baby’s growth and healthy development. Especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the need for protein increases due to the rapid growth of the fetus. According to the studies of the American Medical Institute, how much protein should be taken during pregnancy can be calculated according to your trimester based on your initial weight. While the average protein requirement of an adult woman varies between 45-60 grams per day, daily protein intake during pregnancy varies between 75-100 grams. In addition to the need of the mother during a normal pregnancy, it is sufficient for her to gain 10-12 kg in order to transfer what she consumes to the baby. In order to achieve this increase, the mother should take 20-30 grams of protein, 15-20 grams of iron, 500 mg of calcium and 300 kcal of energy per day.



Factors such as weight loss, muscle fatigue, frequent infections, excess water storage in the body may occur in pregnant women with protein deficiency. Inadequate protein intake during pregnancy can adversely affect the baby. If pregnancy is twins or triplets, protein needs may be higher.

What Should Vegetarian Pregnants Do?


The vegetarian diet, which has become popular in the world in recent years, is becoming increasingly popular among the healthy living and anti-aging enthusiasts. Women who are vegetarians refuse to take animal food during pregnancy and want to eat the same way. What is most curious is whether a single diet without taking animal food will harm baby development. The general belief is that this diet will not pose a major risk to the mother and the baby when the diet is consciously maintained and the recommended vitamins are taken. Vegetarian diet during pregnancy has both positive and negative effects.



The most important positive effect of this type of diet is high fiber content. The high fiber makes it easier for some of the common digestive problems during pregnancy, especially constipation. Because a vegetarian diet contains fewer calories and fat, weight control is easier. Pregnant women do not consume protein of animal origin, so they cannot get enough quality protein because they consume vegetable protein sources. However, milk and dairy products and eggs must be consumed. By using all the vitamins together with the personal nutrition program to be given under the control of dietician, vegetarian pregnant women can maintain their pregnancy in a healthy way.

What are the Richest Protein Sources?


Red and white meat, eggs, milk and dairy products, legumes (beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, mung beans, quinoa, lentils, etc.), cereal products, almonds, nuts, and peanuts are important protein sources. Unfortunately, the consumption of chickens and eggs fed with antibiotic and GMO feeds during pregnancy is risky in terms of health.



Consumption of some fish species, which are also rich sources of protein, is dangerous for the developing nervous system of the baby. Care should be taken not to consume bottom fish to prevent high mercury intake during pregnancy. In addition, the high consumption of antibiotics in farmed fish should be avoided during pregnancy.

These Vitamins and Minerals Are Also Needed


  • Vitamin A: Provides healthy growth of cells and tissues in the body. It protects the body against infections. It is especially important in eye health. Fish, eggs, red, yellow and green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin D: It is very important for bone and dental health and immune system. It is known that postpartum depression is more common in vitamin D deficiency in recent years, and it is known that vitamin D supplementation (if there is a deficiency) is important in preventing maternal and fatigue problems that may occur after birth. Be sure to sunbathe every day for 10-15 minutes.
  • B vitamins: Although enough vitamin B is taken every day in cereals, folic acid supplements should start from the pre-pregnancy period. Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins in pregnancy. Since it prevents the neural tube defect in the baby, it starts to be used when pregnancy is considered or from the first months of pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is also important for the immune system because it increases the absorption of other vitamins and iron. Especially in foods such as pepper, parsley, tomato, orange, tangerine and lemon, high amounts of vitamin C are present.


  • Iron: Blood volume increases by almost 50 percent during pregnancy. Therefore, the need for iron increases. Hemoglobin is necessary for the developing baby to carry oxygen in the body. You can get iron from low-fat red meat, eggs, legumes, and cereals (iron-enriched).
  • Calcium: For both the mother and the baby, it will be beneficial to get enough calcium for bone health and growth, development, that is, to consume enough milk, yogurt, buttermilk and cheese, and even to get calcium support from dried legumes and greens.
  • Magnesium: It does not need to be taken regularly, but if your cramps have increased in recent months, you may need to take magnesium supplements.
  • Omega-3: Recent studies show that pure omega-3, especially taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy, increases the baby’s IQ. If you can’t consume fish frequently, you should take care to take omega-3 supplements during this period of pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
  • Care should be taken to consume liquid

Another issue that should be considered during pregnancy is fluid consumption. Abundant fluid consumption during pregnancy is extremely beneficial for the mother and the baby. In particular, abundant water consumption can be preventive or curative in many cases, such as urinary tract infection, oligohydramnios (infant’s amniotic fluid is less than normal), preterm labor, respiratory tract infections, constipation, diarrhea.



  • Tips For Healthy Pregnancy
  • Eat your meals frequently and in small portions.
  • Make sure that the food you receive is fresh and seasonal. Avoid consuming canned foods, preserved foods, and additives.
  • Give importance to the variety of foods you eat. Thus, you will have received many vitamins and minerals.
  • Instead of overly fatty, sweet, spicy and calorie foods, be sure to consume foods rich in protein and carbohydrates and low in fat.
  • If you have a condition or risk of preeclampsia, you may need to increase your protein intake, or if you have pregnancy-related diabetes, be sure to eat as recommended by your dietitian.
  • It is only folic acid and iron that should be taken from outside during pregnancy. Healthy and balanced nutrition of pregnant women do not need to take vitamins or minerals other than these.
  • As a result of the “Toxoplasma tests” performed in the first months of pregnancy, you should take some precautions if your body has never encountered this parasite before. This disease, especially transmitted by cat and dog droppings, can be fatal or cause disability if the baby occurs during pregnancy.


The Benefits of Honey in Pregnancy


In addition to being a panacea, the benefits of eating honey in pregnancy can be listed as follows;

  • Strengthens Immunity

Honey, which balances stomach acids and is good for stomach burns, wounds and minor burns, is important because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it strengthens the immune system for the mother during pregnancy.

  • Good for insomnia

Drinking 1 spoon of honey before going to bed helps you relax and sleep well before you sleep.

  • Enemy of Winter Diseases

Thanks to its antiviral properties, honey, which is good for colds in winter, is also known as an effective cough remover.

It will be beneficial for a sore throat when honey is added to the ginger or lemon tea and consumed to soothe throat irritations with its anti-inflammatory effect.

  • Heal Ulcer

Research shows that regular consumption of honey reduces the growth of helicobacter pylori bacteria that develop ulcers.

  • Healthy for Scalp

Do you have dandruff or itchy scalp problems? After mixing honey that has antibacterial properties which are effective in this direction with a little warm water, apply it to your scalp in order to get rid off hair problems. Especially manuka honey is preferred for hair and skin problems.

Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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