Most of us know that feeding honey to a baby (under age one) poses a potentially dangerous health risk that you’ll want to avoid – infant botulism. But how safe is honey in pregnancy? And can pregnant women eat honey?
This is a common question that many OB/GYNs and midwives hear from their patients. Fortunately, honey is not on the “foods to avoid when pregnant” list. Pregnant women can safely eat honey, as long as its pasteurized.
Yes, Eating Honey While Pregnant is Safe
If you love honey, you can definitely enjoy this sweetener in pregnancy – in moderation, of course. When you buy honey, make sure that it is pasteurized honey. Most of the jars of honey you buy at the grocery store has been pasteurized and therefore safe to eat.
Pregnant women need to avoid any honey that is unpasteurized. So be leery of any honey that you buy at the farmer’s market.
Although some pregnant women do eat unpasteurized honey when pregnant, you don’t want to run the risk of getting sick from the bacteria that may hiding in it. Women have a lower immune system response during pregnancy, to prevent their bodies from attacking the baby growing inside the uterus, so pregnant women can be susceptible to illnesses more easily than a non-pregnant woman.
When it doubt, always check the product label. Play it safe and stick with pasteurized honey during pregnancy.
The Choice of Raw vs. Pasteurized Honey is Yours
There is definitely a bit of controversy surrounding the pasteurized and unpasteurized honey debate, since honey does go through a different pasteurization process than milk, cheese, and dairy products. Some proponents of raw honey says that the pasteurization of honey does not kill bacteria in the same way it does with milk products.
Whether you decide to eat raw or pasteurized honey is up to you.
But honey is safe for pregnant women, just not for babies.