Pregnancy is a time for mothers to be very vigilant about everything they consume as it affects them and the baby-to-arrive as well. They are always ready to explore healthy options to get the maximum benefits. There is a list of do’s and don’ts and also foods to consume and the ones which are better to be avoided. Honey, however, is a safe bet and a great and healthy substitute for sugar. There are a number of benefits of consuming honey during pregnancy.
It is enriched with amino acids, has antibacterial properties and antioxidants as well. Let us now try to understand the benefits of honey during pregnancy and also understand a few precautions along with its side-effects. Is honey safe during pregnancy, what type of honey should be consumed during pregnancy, is it good for the unborn baby, in what conditions honey should be avoided, answers to all these questions are given below.
Is Honey Good For Pregnant Women?
Honey is considered absolutely safe for a pregnant woman. It can be easily included in one’s diet unless the medical practitioner objects to it. This is because in very exceptional cases, it can cause health issues.
During pregnancy, excessive consumption of honey can cause a rare sickness called Botulism but the immune system of the pregnant lady is strong enough to fight it off, thus, not affecting the fetus. It does not let the bacteria reach the fetus as it is stopped by the placenta keeping the baby safe.
Honey would only be restricted or stopped by the doctor, if the pregnant woman has gastric disorders, high blood sugar levels, or consumes heavy dosage of antibiotics.
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8 Amazing Benefits Of Honey During Pregnancy
Since honey is enriched with antibacterial properties, it has many health benefits as well. Honey has been taken since ancient times and it is important to know how beneficial it is for the mother during pregnancy. Given below are the 8 benefits of honey during pregnancy and they are explained as below:
1. Honey helps in relieving cough and sore throat
It’s been long known that honey soothes a sore throat. In a study conducted among children, honey has been shown to relieve coughs more effectively than cough suppressants, such as dextromethorphan, an OTC medication. Expecting mothers can also reap this benefit. We know already that ginger during pregnancy is safe, if honey is combined with ginger, it soothes the throat owing to its antibacterial properties. You can also add honey to lemon tea to soothe your sore throat.
2. Honey helps to strengthen the immune system
It is important to have a strong immune system during pregnancy to keep away all sorts of infections so that there are no harmful effects on the baby. As honey is enriched with antibacterial properties and antioxidants, it helps in boosting immunity during pregnancy and makes the immune system strong1. Thus, including honey in the diet does good for both the mother and the baby.
3. It helps in curing ulcers
Honey is known for its anti-ulcer effect2. If honey is consumed regularly, stomach ulcers can heal faster. Ulcers if not curbed at the right time can be very dangerous as they affect the stomach line which is close enough to the womb where the baby is. It is thus advisable to consume honey after proper consultation with a doctor.
4. Honey helps fight cold
Studies prove honey can potentially fight off upper respiratory tract infections like colds. Since honey helps to strengthen the immune system, its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties help in relieving the common cold. Honey is an inexpensive and widely available alternative to antibiotics. It is better to reduce the consumption of antibiotics if possible, during pregnancy. So, a pregnant lady should consume honey with warm water during pregnancy or with tea to prevent colds, making it one of the top Indian home remedies for cold during pregnancy.
5. May provide relief from insomnia
Sleep deprivation during pregnancy is not uncommon at all, regular consumption of honey helps in improving sleep quality. It is one of the safest and easiest ways to do so. It is also known to reduce stress levels, so having honey with warm milk helps to destress and offer relief from insomnia3.
6. It helps to promote a healthy scalp
Since honey has antifungal and antibacterial properties4, applying honey can be very useful for the treatment of wounds, cuts, and even the scalp. So, the application of honey with diluted warm water on the scalp helps in removing dandruff and offers relief from an itchy scalp as well.
Related Reading: 12 Home Remedies To Treat Hair Fall After Delivery
7. Honey helps in the prevention of allergies
Since pure honey has pollen present in them, it helps to keep off allergies5. Its regular consumption strengthens the immune system and keeps bacteria away during pregnancy that can be harmful to the mother as well as the baby.
8. Honey helps to ease heartburn
Heartburn is a very common symptom during pregnancy and is faced by almost all mothers. Including honey in the diet helps to keep the acid levels down, due to the thick and sticky texture of honey which prevents heartburn6.
Related Reading: 9 Common Infections During Pregnancy You Should Be Aware Of
Are There Any Side Effects Due To Honey Intake During Pregnancy?
Honey is a safe food to be given during pregnancy. It is known to reduce stress and cholesterol and even tastes better and healthier than sugar. Though considered safe for consumption, in certain conditions honey can have side effects and they are:
- If taken in excessive amounts, it can increase the blood sugar level thereby increasing insulin sensitivity
- It can lead to bloating, constipation, and stomach cramps
- Honey has a high level of sugar and can lead to dental erosion
- It is rich in calories and can increase weight, making you overweight during pregnancy and cause complications
- It is not suitable for the pregnant lady if she has gestational diabetes
What Is Manuka Honey? Is It Safe During Pregnancy?
Manuka honey as indicated in the name is a special honey that is made from a bush named “Manuka”. It is made in New Zealand and Australia by bees that pollinate this bush. This honey is known to have antibacterial qualities that can offer protection to the body. It can even help to relieve pain and inflammation as well. This honey carries no toxins.
As per sources, the safety of manuka honey during pregnancy is not known since no tests have been done on any pregnant lady as such. So, it is believed that whatever side effect or precaution is taken with other honey types, the same applies to this as well.
What Kind Of Honey Is Safe For Pregnancy?
Pasteurized honey is the safest to be taken during pregnancy. This is because this honey is heated up which kills the bacteria present inside it. Only consumption of raw honey during pregnancy, which is the unpasteurized one, can be a risky one. There is a label on all the raw honey so one should not consume the same in pregnancy and go for a branded pasteurized one.
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Can Eating Honey During Pregnancy Harm The Unborn Baby?
Eating honey during pregnancy is not known to pose any harm to the unborn baby. This is also because the stomach of a pregnant lady can easily handle any number of bacteria that is present in the honey that can cause a not-so-familiar sickness in babies referred to as botulism.
When To Avoid Honey During Pregnancy?
Honey is a healthier and better source than consuming sugar and if taken in adequate quantity, it poses no harm. However, in the below conditions honey should be avoided. Some cases are:
- Honey should be avoided if the pregnant lady has a gastrointestinal disorder or gastrointestinal abnormalities. It is a situation where the pregnant lady has had gastric surgery or bowel surgery.
- In case the pregnant lady is under heavy antibiotics, consumption of honey should be avoided.
- In the case of gestational diabetes, adding any more sweeteners is not a viable option since it can aggravate the blood sugar level.
Precautions To Take While Eating Honey During Pregnancy
Honey is considered safe for consumption during pregnancy. Yet, the way in which it is consumed makes a lot of difference to its effects on the health of the pregnant lady. To get the maximum benefits from the consumption of honey, it is best to keep in mind the precautions mentioned below as they can have adverse effects on health. Some precautions are:
- Adding honey to hot water tends to destroy its nutrients
- If honey is taken with foods rich in vitamin C or D, the nutrient value can be nullified
- Consumption of honey with bean curd can lead to stomach disorders and can cause indigestion issues as well
Related Reading: 18 Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
Thus, honey has been consumed for many years, and knowing the benefits of honey during pregnancy and its antibacterial properties as well, it is important to add it to the diet after consulting the doctor. Taking care of the pregnant lady and giving her healthy and nutritious food is an investment done that reaps benefits when the child is healthy, and the pregnancy is smooth.
Pure honey is beneficial for health, but it is difficult to find out which honey is pure. Certain tips that can be kept in mind for choosing pure honey are:
-When refrigerated the pure honey does not crystallize and stays in its original state
-If the honey is an organic one, a white foam starts forming indicating the absence of any chemicals-
-If a matchstick is dipped in pure honey and lit up, it should catch fire instantly
-The most common is if honey is applied on the thumb, it should not drip as pure honey is dense and not a runny one in texture
-Apart from this, it is advisable to look for raw honey labels on the jar
It is advisable to have pasteurized honey rather than raw honey. This is as pasteurized honey is heated and kills all bacteria while raw honey can have bacteria leading to toxins which can be harmful during pregnancy.