Is honey safe during pregnancy? Can I have honey while breastfeeding? These are questions that may concern you if you are preparing to become a mother or you just gave birth.
Honey represents a nutritious type of food for the organism, but lots of expecting mothers are asking themselves if they are allowed to consume it and under what specific conditions.
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Is Honey Safe during Pregnancy?
Lots of pregnant women are ware that honey is forbidden to infants and because of this they believe they should consume it cautiously while pregnant as well. This concern arises due to the fact that honey may contain bacterial spores that can be rather dangerous for the still developing body of the baby. Although contamination rarely happens, it`s possible (the spores are contained only by 10% of the honey).
So, what happens exactly? Bacterial spores might be present in honey, however, toxins won`t enter into the bloodstream as the organism eliminates bacteria, through a process known as high gastric acidity. Older children and adults can destroy these spores because they have a more mature digestive system. Pregnant women who consume this food don`t typically deliver these spores to babies.
More attention needs to be paid to expecting mothers who experience gestational diabetes. These women need to track their caloric intake constantly. Additionally, honey might increase the blood sugar as it contains fructose. Also, expecting mothers experiencing gastrointestinal anomaly or who have followed an antibiotic treatment recently shouldn`t eat honey.
Benefits of Honey while Pregnant
- It represents a natural antibiotic, so it`s of great help when it comes to bacterial infections. It`s well known that pregnant women cannot take medications so easy due to various side effects, so natural remedies are most welcome during this period. Among the most popular natural treatments when talking about preventing or treating colds is the mixture between honey and lemon from which you can consume 2 teaspoons per day.
- It contains iron as well as small amounts of vitamin B, C and calcium.
- Combats the flu, a quite efficiently if the condition is in its early stages. Combine a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of cinnamon and take it twice per day until the condition improves.
- It helps with your morning sickness. Chop a root of ginger and squeeze the juice. Add a few drops in a teaspoon with honey and take it 3 times per day until your symptoms disappear.
- It ensures a good functioning of the mother`s immunity.
- It helps you with your coughs. Chop some garlic and place it in a jar. Put some honey over the garlic and let them soak for 24 hours. Then consume 1 teaspoon for the mixture per day until the medical condition improves.
- It can help you relieve several digestive conditions, like ulcer or colitis.
- It treats the burns from your throat. These burns are a burden in pregnancy, especially during the third trimester because of hormonal changes as well as the stomach being more and more pushed by the uterus and the stomach`s acidic content climbing back into the esophagus. When feeling such episodes, add a teaspoon of honey in a glass of milk and drink it.
- It can aid treating sore throats and colds naturally.
- It`s a natural energizer, quite a treasure when it comes to pregnancy which can often be very tiring.
- It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- It`s a great solution when craving for sweet during pregnancy, especially for those who suffer of gestational diabetes.
- It boosts your energy as a natural sweetener.
Can I Have Honey While Breastfeeding?
You obviously are among the mothers who are concerned that there are lots of foods that can create medical issues once they breast milk. Among these foods there`s honey about which it`s said that it shouldn`t offered to small children on less than 1 year at all. However, the risk of contamination of babies with clostridium botulinum through honey is almost non-existent. It`s also vital to keep in mind that following: moderation represents the safest possible way to avoid exposing the baby to risks while breastfeeding, but also to benefit from the many advantages that honey provides.
Mothers are allowed to eat honey while breastfeeding if it`s pasteurized. Unpasteurized honey can harm the mother due to the high allergenic potential or because of the risk of containing important amounts of spores from clostridium botulinum. Also, mothers who suffer from diabetes or who simply experience fluctuations in their blood sugar should consult a doctor before choosing to consume honey.
Regarding the risk of contamination with clostridium botulinum, specialists claim that the adult`s digestive tract is able to annihilate the spores of the bacterium, so they won`t get to the bloodstream of the mother or in her breast milk.
Instead, the digestive system of a baby isn`t developed enough to destroy the spores of this bacteria, which once they reach the baby`s intestines, can multiply and lead to a very dangerous neurotoxin.
In other words, you can consume pasteurized honey without any issues even when breastfeeding, as it offers beneficial effects for your health.
You can eat honey while breastfeeding, if you don`t overwork and take the following into consideration:
- Wash your hands after eating honey and before breastfeeding; this way, in case there are any spores of clostridium botulinum, you`ll avoid reaching the baby`s digestive system.
- Check the manufacturing process of honey as well as its expiration date.
- Check the quality of the product and the way it was pasteurized.
- Have a discussion with your doctor and check what type of honey would be most fitted for your needs while breastfeeding.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Raw Honey?
Pregnant women can consume raw honey without any worries for their safety or the one of their future baby. According to Canadian Family Physician, an adult`s gastrointestinal system has bacteria which can offer protection against botulism; and due to the molecular weight of the botulism toxin, it`s very unlikely to pass through the placenta. So, an expecting mother can`t pass botulism to her baby.
Breastfeeding mothers can eat raw honey without any risk to their baby. Still, the authors of the above article caution against consuming honey by people with gastrointestinal abnormalities or who have followed antibiotic treatments recently.
Honey is safe to consume in recommended dosages. Still, this food shouldn`t be offered to children that less than 1 year old, as raw honey is a possible source of clostridium botulinum.
You shouldn`t consume raw honey if you have any allergies to pollen, celery or other allergies that are bee related. Honey provided by Rhododendron genus may cause allergic reaction because of toxicity as well.
Honey in Pregnancy (Side Effects)
Though honey is considered safe for pregnant women and has been used for medicinal purposes since long ago, this food has some side effects that may be taken into consideration. With 53% of fructose present in honey, each tablespoon has around 4 g of fructose.
Here are a few side effects that are associated with consuming honey in large quantities:
- It affects digestive tract: Together with the increase of the level of blood sugar, consuming high quantities of honey makes the body a bit acidic. In turn, this will affect the digestive tract and hamper digestion.
- It leads to weight gain: Honey has a high caloric intake, so eating too much of it may lead to weight gain.
- It leads to cramps: Eating too much honey may lead to stomach cramps as well as a few other issues such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
- It decreases teeth health: Consuming honey in excess may lead to dental cavities. It`s sugary and consuming it in high quantities may affect your tooth enamel to erode, therefore affecting your teeth`s health.
- It may exacerbate insulin sensitivity: Consuming honey in excess may increase the blood sugar levels and worsen the pre-existing resistance to insulin. Expecting mothers are recommended to take less than 25 g of fructose each day.
Regardless of the health benefits of this food being considered to be greater in importance than its side effects, it may aggravate health conditions at certain times when consumed with other foods.
For example, adding honey to beverages or hot water destroys all its enzymes and reduces its qualities in raw form. Also, when added to foods that are rich in vitamin C or D, its minerals don`t show the same effect as they normally would.
Is It Safe to Eat Manuka Honey when Pregnant?
Manuka honey is considered safe during pregnancy. Still, this type of honey needs to be consumed with caution by:
- Pregnant women who have diabetes: Honey is rich in sugar and diabetics should consume it with precaution. They need to remain within their recommended levels of blood sugar.
- Pregnant women with allergies to pollen grains and bees: If don`t have too much tolerance to honey or any of its products, you shouldn`t even consume manuka honey.
Manuka Honey Benefits
- 100% natural.
- It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that other types of honey doesn`t offer.
- It`s rich in potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and B group vitamins.
- It`s extracted from the Manuka plant`s nectar, a wild plant from New Zealand.
- It`s presumed that doesn`t have any side effects.
Is Honey Lemon Water Good for Pregnancy?
As you may already know, pregnancy side effects like dizziness, cramps, headaches, edema or nausea can be relieved if you stay well hydrated. Lemon water counts the same to the water intake you are consuming during pregnancy, and can offer lots of benefits while pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that eating lemons will alleviate morning sickness and nausea. Still, you might want to avoid citrus fruits if you suffer from heartburn during this period of your life.
You`ll want to avoid any harmful bacteria, so purchase pasteurized lemon juice and mix it with water, or use fresh lemons and prepare them at home. Wash a lemon, cut it in half and squeeze it into a glass with a citrus squeezer or with your hand. The rest of the glass will be filled with water. Use a natural sweetener to make it sweeter, like honey. Drink the glass immediately while it`s fresh.