Is Raw Honey Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnant parents are warned away from many different types of foods, including caffeine, alcohol, raw fish and even pre-packaged salads. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to wonder whether or not raw honey is safe to eat during pregnancy. Read on to get an answer to this question and guidance for eating honey while pregnant.

dripping honey into jar from spoon

Is It Safe to Eat Raw Honey During Pregnancy?

The short answer is yes, it is safe to eat raw honey during pregnancy. However, it will take us a bit longer to explain why there is so much concern around eating honey while pregnant, and how this all stemmed from a misunderstanding.

You may have heard that you should not give honey to infants under one year of age. This is true — honey should not be given to babies. This is because very rarely, honey may contain Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which are toxic to humans and can cause botulism poisoning.

Most older children and adults have enough gut bacteria and a well-developed immune system that they can fight off trace amounts of botulinum bacteria. Young children less than a year old do not have these defenses yet, however. As a result, they are more susceptible to botulism poisoning from honey and other types of food. This is why your doctor has told you not to give honey to your baby.

The idea that honey could be harmful to babies has caused some women to worry about ingesting honey while pregnant. They are concerned that consuming honey could harm the developing baby. So is this something that you should be concerned about?

As long as your doctor has cleared you, eating honey while pregnant is fine. This is because the botulinum toxin has a high molecular weight that makes it difficult to pass through the placenta that protects your baby. You also have an adult immune system and a host of good gut bacteria to protect against this toxin. Even in very rare cases where moms contracted botulism while pregnant, there was no evidence that their babies were born with the condition as well. So there is no need to throw away the honey jar!

There is one situation where you may need to watch your honey intake during pregnancy: if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes need to watch their sugar intake for the duration of the pregnancy to prevent blood glucose spikes. Honey is a better alternative to white sugar, but it still should be consumed in moderation. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, talk to your doctor about what dietary changes you need to make.

closeup of bees on honeycomb

Benefits of Raw Honey During Pregnancy

Raw honey offers the same benefits during pregnancy that it does at any other time in your life. For one, it is an excellent natural remedy for soothing sore throats, allergies and other minor ailments that crop up in daily life. Drinking a soothing, caffeine-free tea with some honey before bed is also an excellent way to help you get some rest during pregnancy.

Honey also has a strong antioxidant and antibacterial effect due to the beneficial compounds it contains, including polyphenols and vitamins E and K. Many people say that regular consumption of honey makes their immune system feel stronger and more robust.

Shop Raw Honey

For the greatest benefits, choose raw honey, which has not been pasteurized or filtered and thus contains the highest pollen count. Because pollen is responsible for these good-for-you compounds, the higher the pollen count, the more benefits you will get from the honey. (Learn more here: “What is raw honey?”)


orange blossom california honey isolated

Looking for the perfect raw honey to add to your kitchen? Consider our new set of two raw honeys, The Couplet. Thanks to their wildly different floral origins, our California Orange Blossom Honey and our Kauai Wildflower Honey offer two distinct and delicious flavors that are sure to complement a variety of beverages and dishes.