Can Pregnant Women Eat Honey?

Yes honey is safe for pregnant women to eat. In short, your placenta keeps the bacteria out, which your baby's immune system would be too weak to handle.

Caleb Dueck

By Caleb Dueck | April 19, 2024

Disclaimer: We're not doctors here at Sperry Honey (duh), and this should all be taken with a grain of salt. Use your own judgement, and if you're really concerned about infant botulism, make sure to talk to your physician.

Pregnant woman holding flower and her belly.

Why Honey is Safe for Pregnant Women

You're probably scared of infant botulism for your baby, but don't fear! Pregnant women can consume honey without any risk to their developing baby, as the spores do not affect a developing fetus in the womb. This is largely in thanks to the placenta.

How the Placenta Helps

Okay here's the scientific answer.

Your placenta acts as a protective barrier during pregnancy by physically separating the maternal and fetal circulations. This prevents direct contact between your bloodstream (where the botulism spores could be present) and your baby's bloodstream.

Your placental barrier is selectively permeable, which basically means it lets some stuff in and keeps some stuff out. So nutrients and oxygen can come in, while bacteria and their toxins get filtered out.

The risk of transmission of Clostridium botulinum through your placenta is so low that you shouldn't need to worry about it.

A bottle of gluten free honey being poured into a bowl.

Still worried? Stick with pasteurized honey.

Pasteurization of honey is raw honey that's been heated up to a certain temperature. The honey stays at that temperature for a set period to remove crystallization, and it'll destroy harmful bacteria and spores, including those of Clostridium botulinum.

Shop Our Pasteurized Clover Honey

But Avoid Fake Honey

We've talked extensively about fake honey on previous blog posts, but the imported honey you find on the grocery store shelves can often contain artificial sweeteners and fillers (i.e. high fructose corn syrup) in order to keep costs down. When you're buying honey, make sure to either buy from a reputable online brand or from a local honey seller.

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