Many parents are aware of the fact that babies and infants younger than 1-year old should not eat raw honey because it carries the risk of botulism bacteria for them. Honey contains a certain type of bacteria that can lead to botulism in infants.
However, parents may wonder if babies can't eat honey, do the same rules apply to babies who haven't yet been born? Is it safe for a pregnant woman to eat honey, or could eating honey harm her unborn baby?
The main risk of honey, according to the CDC, is that because it is a raw food item, it contains bacteria that can lead to botulism. Botulism is a disease that leads to paralysis in the body.
Botulism is caused by a bacteria that is actually present in soil and on dust, so it's around us at almost all times. It's on nearly every household surface, from carpets to counters, even after cleaning.
For healthy children and adults, although, ingesting the bacteria is usually not harmful and does not lead to actually developing symptoms of the botulism disease. Adults and children, however, are different than infants. The CDC notes that some infants are more susceptible to developing the disease after they ingest the botulism spores. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future, chances are, you've probably heard a lot about the rules and restrictions on what woman can eat during pregnancy.
The good news, however, is that - yes, it is safe to eat honey while you are pregnant. That means that even if a woman eats honey and has the botulism spores in her own body, they will not reach the baby.
However, the fact that botulism toxins cannot pass through the placenta also means that it has been reported that women who acquired botulism during their pregnancy did not have any negative effects with their baby.*A Safety Note*
While honey is generally regarded as safe to eat during pregnancy, women who have gastrointestinal problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), may want to take extra precautions about eating honey during their pregnancies.
*Are there any health benefits to eating honey or should you avoid it altogether?* There are actually several benefits that can be found in eating honey