Stung by a Bee While Pregnant | What To Know & How To Treat

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

In case you happen to get stung by a bee during pregnancy, there is no cause for concern unless you have a severe allergy.

  • Leave the area as quickly as possible. 
  • Carefully remove the stinger. 
  • Wash the area with soap and water. 
  • Apply an ice pack or a cold compress. 
  • Take pregnancy-safe pain medication only if needed.
  • Monitor for severe reactions.

The USDA Agricultural Research Service shares:

“A normal healthy reaction may include swelling or redness in the general area where stung, and a feeling of heat or itchiness. Swelling can sometimes be severe.”

You will likely not have any major problems from a bee sting while pregnant, and your baby will be fine.

This was true in my case when I was stung in my 7th month of pregnancy. 

Women who are not allergic to bees when they aren’t pregnant shouldn’t be allergic to them when they are.

For those who do suffer from severe reactions, treatment is generally the same as when not pregnant.

Bee Sting While Pregnant – Normal Reaction 

When you’re stung by a bee and not allergic, you might experience:

  • Pain at the point of contact
  • Redness around the sting
  • Swelling where you were stung
  • Mild itching

While uncomfortable, these symptoms are normal and do not indicate a major allergic reaction. 

Healing Progression

Over the next day or two, the pain and discomfort may persist, but they should gradually begin to subside.

Swelling may increase initially but should start to go down.

Some residual tenderness or itching may linger for several days, especially if the sting site is on a sensitive area or if you have a mild allergic reaction.

In most cases, the pain and swelling should be completely gone within a week.

The sting site may remain slightly raised or discolored, but it should no longer be painful.

First Aid for Bee Stings

  1. Remove the stinger from the sting area once you are calm enough to process what happened. You can do this using your fingernail. Don’t use tweezers.
  2. Always wash the area once you remove the stinger. Use soap and water, and don’t just rely on hand sanitizer.
  3. If swelling occurs, apply an ice pack or cold compress.
  4. Note if the swelling goes to other places besides the sting area. If the lips, tongue, or other parts of your body start to swell, seek immediate medical attention.
  5. Take pain medication if needed, but make sure your doctor approves of what you are taking if you’re pregnant. 

To alleviate the pain and discomfort, many people additionally use one or more of the following home remedies: 

  • Baking Soda for Bee Sting: Mix about ¼ cup of baking soda with a couple of teaspoons of water to make a paste. Apply it to the sting area. This can help with pain and neutralize your body’s reaction to the sting.
  • Antihistamine for Bee Sting: An antihistamine can be taken to bring your histamine levels down as long as your doctor says it’s okay. 
  • Hydrocortisone Cream for Bee Sting: Hydrocortisone cream can stop itching and burning fast. Ask your doctor before you use it, but over-the-counter brands are usually fine for pregnant women.
  • Honey for Bee Sting: Add a small amount of honey to your bee sting to help with the itch and the pain.
  • Toothpaste for Bee Sting: Put a small dab of toothpaste on your bee sting for about 20 minutes to help neutralize the venom.
  • Meat Tenderizer for Bee Sting: Though not a tested treatment, meat tenderizer may contain an ingredient that helps calm the pain and itch from a bee sting.

Benadryl While Pregnant

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is safe to take Benadryl when you are pregnant.

You can use it during every trimester if you have a mild allergic reaction to a bee sting or other allergy.

A woman's right hand experiencing swelling after a bee sting.

Severe Reaction to Bee Sting

People who experience a severe reaction to a bee sting should seek immediate medical help. A severe reaction will produce these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Severe itching
  • Pale or flushed skin
  • Rapid heart rate

If you don’t know if you are allergic to bees and get stung for the first time while pregnant, monitor yourself for signs of a severe reaction for the next couple of hours.

Just because you don’t have problems breathing immediately after being stung doesn’t mean you won’t have problems minutes or even an hour later.

Using an EpiPen While Pregnant

Yes, it is safe for you to use an Epi-pen while pregnant.

Talk to your doctor, and make sure you have one on hand if you have allergies that can cause an anaphylactic reaction.

How Long It Takes To Have an Allergic Reaction to a Bee Sting

If you are going to have a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting that includes trouble breathing, it will happen within the first two hours of the sting.

However, you can react less severely to a bee sting up to 4 hours later.

How Long Bee Venom Stays in Your System

Bee venom stays in the body for about 48 hours after the sting. You can still have symptoms after that, especially if you are allergic to bees.

Why Bee Stings Itch

Your body releases histamine when you’re stung, and that’s what causes the itching you feel. That’s why antihistamines are often used for bee stings.

Histamine and Pregnancy

It’s not completely known how histamine impacts pregnancy, but studies show if the balance between histamine and diamine oxidase is right in your body, your pregnancy shouldn’t have issues due to histamine levels.

Even abnormal histamine levels were not credited with causing miscarriages.

How To Avoid Bee Stings

There are things you can do to try to avoid bee stings when you are pregnant.

These guidelines also work when you’re not pregnant. They include:

  • Avoid scented soaps, shampoos, and perfumes.
  • Wearing light-colored clothes that cover your body.
  • Don’t stand near plants that are flowering or in an area where you see bees 
  • Remain calm when bees are near. Do not panic or try to swat them.