Is It Safe to Consume Honey During Pregnancy?

It's possible to consume honey during pregnancy, although you should only do so in moderate doses so as not to accentuate metabolic problems.
Is It Safe to Consume Honey During Pregnancy?

Last update: 12 March, 2022

During pregnancy, you need to take special care of your diet. Errors in this aspect can negatively affect the health of the fetus. Many doubts arise regarding the foods that can or can’t be consumed and, with this in mind, we’ll discuss whether it’s safe to consume honey during pregnancy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that your diet should be as varied as possible, especially during pregnancy. Although it’s true that at this time there are some restrictions, there are many foods that are allowed and that must be part of your regular diet.

Honey, a controversial product

Honey has supporters and detractors in equal parts. On the one hand, it contains antioxidants and trace elements that can be beneficial to health in the medium term.

A jar of honey.

On the other hand, many are against its consumption because it contains high concentrations of sugar. Sugar is capable of causing damage to the body when consumed in excess, according to a study published in Frontiers in Bioscience .

In addition, you should keep in mind that, in order to benefit from the positive elements, you need to ingest a high amount of the product, which conditions the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet. For this reason, experts don’t agree on its presence in our diet. However, in moderate amounts, it can be a valid option to sweeten certain foods such as dairy products.

Honey in pregnancy

The first thing to make clear is that there’s no risk as such related to the consumption of honey in pregnancy. It’s a food that can be part of the diet of a pregnant woman.

However, as mentioned above, its sugar content can accentuate existing problems. An example would be gestational diabetes, if it has developed. Despite being a transitory problem, it’s accentuated with a high intake of simple carbohydrates, as evidenced by a study published in Nutrients.

Special care must be taken with these macronutrients, both if the disease manifests itself and if there’s a history of it in the family. Otherwise, blood glucose levels could be uncontrolled, which isn’t positive for the mother or the fetus.

How to use honey properly?

As mentioned, honey can be used in small proportions to sweeten some foods. It hasn’t been demonstrated that it’s a better option than table sugar, but some experts recommend its use as opposed to artificial sweeteners.

The truth is that, when choosing a type of honey, it’s important to prioritize that which contains royal jelly in its composition. This compound can have positive effects on the organism, especially as far as the maintenance of the immune function is concerned. It can even increase the vitality of pregnant women if they’re tired.

However, royal jelly can be consumed without the need to ingest honey as such, as dietary supplements are manufactured with this ingredient in concentrated form. Perhaps this is the most efficient way to take advantage of it.

Alimentos saludables y miel durante el embarazo.

When to avoid honey during pregnancy?

If gestational diabetes has developed, it’s advisable to avoid honey and the consumption of simple sugars in general. Carbohydrates shouldn’t be completely removed from the diet, but complex carbohydrates should be prioritized.

In this regard, it’s best to opt for whole grains such as rice or quinoa. On the other hand, you need to reduce the presence of refined flours, as they increase blood sugar levels significantly. Examples of foods with flour would be bread and pasta.

It’s safe to consume honey during pregnancy

As long as it appears in moderate doses and there are no underlying metabolic diseases, women can consume honey during pregnancy. This food won’t be harmful, although it’s not particularly beneficial either. It would be different if we were talking about a royal jelly concentrate.

So, when consuming honey, it’s best to purchase an organic product of the highest possible quality and include it in moderate doses in those foods that need to be sweetened. However, if you have more doubts about it, remember that you can always consult your doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Botulism. Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Junio 2021.
  • Freeman CR, Zehra A, Ramirez V, Wiers CE, Volkow ND, Wang GJ. Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2018 Jun 1;23:2255-2266. PMID: 29772560.
  • Mustad VA, Huynh DTT, López-Pedrosa JM, Campoy C, Rueda R. The Role of Dietary Carbohydrates in Gestational Diabetes. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 31;12(2):385. doi: 10.3390/nu12020385. PMID: 32024026; PMCID: PMC7071246.
  • Tam C, Erebara A, Einarson A. Food-borne illness during pregnancy. Prevention and treatment. Canadian Family Physician. Abril 2010. 56 (4): 341-343.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.