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

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

Being pregnant doesn’t mean being immune to the small misfortunes of everyday life. Bugs still bite pregnant women, and bees still sting.

It can be hard to know what treatments are safe when you have a baby on board and need treatment for something. 

What happens if you get stung by a bee while pregnant? If you get stung by a bee while pregnant, you will likely not have any major problems. 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.

Treating bee stings and knowing how they can and can’t affect your pregnancy is important. It will help you decide how concerned you need to be.

Bee Sting While Pregnant 

It’s important to stay active and soak up the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen though!) when you’re pregnant.

However, it’s normal to worry if it’s worth the risk with insects lurking outside your door.

Fortunately, there’s enough information available to help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Symptoms You May Experience

When you’re stung by a bee and not allergic to them, the symptoms may include:

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

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

Severe Reaction to Bee Sting

If you are allergic to bees and have a severe reaction, these are the symptoms that may occur:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Pale or flushed skin

If you don’t know if you are allergic to bees and get stung for the first time while pregnant, you will need to look out for 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.

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

How Long Does Bee Venom Stay 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.

How Long Does It Take 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.

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.

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, add an ice pack or cold rag.
  4. Note if the swelling goes to other places besides the sting area. If your 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. 

Baking Soda for Bee Sting

Mix about ¼ cup of baking soda with a couple of teaspoons of water to make a paste you can put on 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.

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:

  • Avoiding 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 and try to swat them.

Is Benadryl Safe To Take 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 an allergic reaction to a bee sting or other allergy.

Can You Use 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.

Related Questions: 

Can Allergies Cause Miscarriage?

Generally, allergies do not cause miscarriages. If you do have a major allergic reaction, fast, effective treatment is the best chance for you and your baby to avoid any major side effects.

Minor allergies should not increase your chances of miscarriage.

Why Do Bee Stings Itch?

Histamine is the primary cause of itching after a bee sting. 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.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the threat of bee stings keep you from enjoying the outdoors while you are pregnant. Know what to do if you are stung, and seek medical attention if you are allergic.