If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, perhaps you have heard a lot about foods that are prohibited for pregnant women. However, the amount of information often causes confusion and error, one of which is regarding the prohibition on pregnant women from drinking honey. Some pregnant women are afraid to consume honey because they are afraid it will cause botulism. Is that right?
Can pregnant women drink honey?
Pregnant women can drink honey. In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, honey is not on the list of foods that pregnant women should avoid.
Consuming honey during pregnancy is recommended because it can prevent coughs and colds, relieve sore throats, and treat insomnia in pregnant women.
Honey is a drink rich in important nutrients needed during pregnancy, such as being rich in protein, water, vitamins B2, B3, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.
Benefits of pregnant women drinking honey
Pregnant women can drink honey because this natural ingredient has many benefits for maintaining health during pregnancy. The following are the benefits of honey for pregnant women that you need to know:
1. Strengthens the immune system
Infections and complications during pregnancy can have a bad impact during pregnancy. Honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that can help boost the immune system and fight infections.
The antioxidant protection in honey, especially dark honey, can improve maternal health during pregnancy by helping fight free radicals in the body which can damage healthy cells.
2. Helps relieve sore throats and coughs
Coughs and sore throats can be very annoying. Drinking honey mixed with ginger or lemon tea can help soothe and restore the throat thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Helps fight flu
Drinking honey with tea or warm water is also useful for strengthening the body’s immunity to prevent and relieve colds and flu quickly.
4. Can help relieve stomach ulcers
Honey is also useful in relieving digestive disorders, including gastritis and stomach and duodenal ulcers, caused by infections H.pylori.
If left unchecked, ulcers can be very dangerous because they affect the lining of the stomach which is located very close to the uterus.
5. Can relieve insomnia
Sleep disturbances due to anxiety can also be a problem faced by pregnant women. Honey consumed with warm milk before bed can be a stress reliever which can help you sleep more soundly and with better quality during pregnancy.
6. Can help prevent allergies
Some types of honey can contain pollen that can increase resistance to seasonal allergies. Honey can help build immunity against antigens that can react during pregnancy. But you should consult a doctor first if you have a pollen allergy.
7. Improves scalp health
The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of honey can be utilized topically to help treat wounds and scalp conditions. Dilute honey with warm water and apply to the scalp to help relieve dandruff and itchy scalp.
It’s also important to remember that honey contains a lot of sugar. If mothers want to maintain their weight during pregnancy or have gestational diabetes, it is best to avoid consuming excessive amounts of honey.
Risks of drinking honey for pregnant women
Although consuming honey for pregnant women is safe, some doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid unpasteurized honey to reduce the risk of exposure to bacterial spores called Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria can grow quickly in the intestines and produce neurotoxins that cause botulism.
However, pasteurization cannot kill all the spores in honey because the spores are quite strong and can survive for several hours when boiled.
Pasteurized honey is also thought to damage the enzymes and other beneficial substances contained in honey, thereby reducing its nutrition and health benefits.
Therefore, not all experts agree that pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized honey. It is best to consult a doctor to determine which honey for pregnant women should be consumed.
Tips for safe drinking honey during pregnancy
Apart from choosing honey that has been pasteurized, to make it safe for pregnant women to drink honey, the following things need to be considered:
- Don’t drink honey in excess. In a day, the recommended dose of honey for pregnant women is 3-5 tablespoons or 180-200 calories
- Choose pure honey without added sugar
- Choose honey that has been registered with BPOM and has not passed the expiry date stated on the packaging label
- You can consume honey mixed with warm water. However, don’t mix it with hot water, because it can damage some of the enzymes and nutrients contained in honey
Another thing that needs to be considered is that pregnant women who have digestive problems, such as intestinal inflammation, must be careful when consuming honey because it is feared that it can increase the risk of infection.
To avoid excess sugar content, you should not mix honey with pregnant women’s milk. The reason is, excessive sugar intake can put pregnant women at risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Apart from that, you should be careful if you are taking antibiotics during pregnancy and want to try consuming honey. This may have an impact on the normal flora in the intestine, making it susceptible to various types of infections.
Therefore, pregnant women are required to consult a doctor to determine whether they can consume honey or not.