Can pregnant women eat raw honey?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can pregnant women eat raw honey?”, and how you can avoid major food safety risks during pregnancy?

Can pregnant women eat raw honey?

Yes, pregnant women can eat raw honey. The immune system of a grown-up pregnant woman is strong enough to tackle the bacteria present in raw honey often responsible for botulism. 

Even if the mother becomes infected with the bacteria, the baby remains healthy and uninfected. 

People that are more at risk of developing botulism from eating raw honey include those with Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or individuals with a history of gastric surgery. 

Honey is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes. It serves as a healthy alternative to white sugar. 

As per the American Heart Association, the sugar intake of a healthy person should not exceed 6 tsp per day. It has excellent medical properties like wound healing and soothing a sore throat. 

Pasteurized honey vs unpasteurized honey 

Honey goes pasteurization at 161℉ for 15-30 seconds. This serves two purposes, first; It destroys the yeast cells, second; It prevents the sugar in honey from crystallization. 

This improves the storage and appearance of honey. Pasteurized honey may also contain added sweeteners like corn syrup. 

Since the raw honey does not undergo any heat process, It maintains a higher level of antioxidants. Plus it does not enable the growth of listeria, unlike the unpasteurized cheese and deli meats.

Why is honey dangerous for babies?

Babies do not have developed intestines. Plus babies have weak immunity. Therefore, the botulism bacteria present in raw honey proliferate in the baby’s gut that might lead to paralysis and death in the worst cases. 

Food safety during pregnancy

The three most dangerous food safety threats for pregnant women include the following. 

Toxoplasma gondii: This parasite infests in cat litter boxes, unwashed veggies, and undercooked meat.

Listeria monocytogenes: It is most often present in ready-to-eat and dairy products. It can multiply in the refrigerator environment.

Mercury: Mercury comes to form the sea into the fish.

Toxoplasmosis and how to avoid it?

The illness caused by T.gondii is termed toxoplasmosis. It infects more than 60 million people in the US, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


People with toxoplasmosis may experience symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, fever, and headache. It can get to your eyes making your eyesight weak. 

Toxoplasmosis causes premature birth with symptoms like blindness, deafness, intellectual disabilities, developmental defects, and low birth weight in babies. 

The infected baby might not exhibit any of these symptoms at first but they appear later during growth stages. 


  • Thoroughly rinse fruits and vegetables especially root vegetables
  • Sanitize the cutting boards and knives with hot water
  • Avoid cross-contamination from cat’s feces, soil, sand, raw meat, and unwashed veggies
  • Cook the meat to a safe internal temperature
  • Separately store meat from other cooked or uncooked food commodities
  • A pregnant woman should avoid changing the litter box herself and wear gloves while gardening

Other FAQs about Honey which you may be interested in.

How to boil honey?

Listeriosis and how to avoid it?

The illness caused by L.monocytogenes is called Listeriosis. This bacteria spreads through contaminated water and soil and is killed by the cooking processes. 

It may persist in ready-to-eat and some packaged foods like hot dogs, cold-smoked seafood, soft cheeses (Brie, Camembert, and feta), unpasteurized dairy, uncooked meat, vegetables grown in contaminated soil, and processed or prepared lunch meats.


People with Listeriosis may experience fever, fatigue, body aches. If the bacteria pass through the placenta, It leads to miscarriage, stillbirths, premature birth, or fatal infection in the infant. 


  • Avoid eating cold Hot dogs and lunch meats
  • Avoid eating soft cheese made from unpasteurized or raw milk
  • Wash all the vegetables produce thoroughly before eating them
  • Cook the meat to a safe internal temperature 

How to avoid the effects of mercury?

Mercury negatively impacts the nervous system of your baby. Larger and older fish are at greater risk of containing high levels of mercury. 

Some fish including swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are most likely to contain a higher buildup of mercury. Avoid eating any of these types of fish If you are pregnant. 

What fish can you eat?

Fish is good for your heart and your baby’s brain because It is a rich source of omega-2 fatty acids. You can safely consume 12-0unces of any of the fish from the safe category mentioned below.

  •  shrimp
  • crab
  • scallops
  • canned light tuna
  • salmon
  • catfish
  • cod
  • tilapia


In this article, we answered the question “Can pregnant women eat raw honey?”, and how you can avoid major food safety risks during pregnancy?