Can You Eat Tuna While Pregnant?


Summary: Tuna has many nutrients, including protein and omega-3s, which are necessary for the growth of the fetus's brain and nervous system during pregnancy. The best time to use this seafood to improve a child's intelligence is during pregnancy. Some kinds of fish may include contaminants such as mercury that can injure a growing fetus's brain and nervous system.

As a pregnant woman, you may not know, “Can you eat tuna while pregnant?” Tuna has many nutrients, including protein and omega-3s, which are necessary for the growth of the fetus’s brain and nervous system during pregnancy.

Of course, keep in mind that tuna has a medium level of mercury, which causes problems for the health and growth of babies. Therefore, pregnant mothers should consume some safe tuna for the baby.

The important goal of the Hipregnancy website is to provide pregnant women with the training they need to have a healthful pregnancy. One of the important teachings for pregnant women is knowing what foods are right for them. This article expresses to pregnant women the benefits and disadvantages of consuming tuna during pregnancy.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Tuna?

New research by nutritionists from the FDA has shown that fish should be included in the diet of pregnant mothers during pregnancy. Even children should consume fish in the first years of life.
Eating fish during pregnancy can have the following effects:

  • The best time to use this seafood to improve a child’s intelligence is during pregnancy.
  • Eating omega-3 fish during this period significantly decreases children’s risk of diseases such as food allergies, eczema, and asthma.

Recommend you read on article “Fish To Avoid during pregnancy“.

One serving of tuna, equal to 100 grams, provides the following nutrients for a day of nutrition for a pregnant woman:

  • About 32% of the daily protein requirement,
  •  9% of the daily value of iron,
  • 107% of vitamin B12.
  • One hundred grams of tuna also contains about 225 milligrams of omega-3 dual chains, which meet about 63 to 100 percent of the daily requirement.

If fish is removed from the diet of these two groups, vital micronutrients that significantly impact the growth and development of the human body will be removed from their diet, which will have adverse effects on children’s health.

Mercury is a toxic substance that enters the water through natural fires or industrial and chemical wastes. Bacteria convert it to methylmercury. Fish absorb methylmercury through the waters of their habitat. Methylmercury adheres strongly to fish muscle proteins and remains there after the fish is cooked.

The human body easily absorbs methylmercury from fish. When you are pregnant, methylmercury crosses the placenta. Many studies have shown that even exposure to low levels of methylmercury during pregnancy can affect the growing fetus’s brain and nervous system.
Regular consumption of canned foods and canned tuna is not recommended due to the presence of preservatives.

Related: Can Pregnant Women Eat Salami

Can you eat canned tuna while pregnant?

What does tuna do in pregnancy?

Pregnant women can enjoy consuming canned tuna, but they should moderate their intake. Canned tuna has fewer omega-3 fatty acids than fresh tuna, but is still good for pregnancy. While purchasing canned tuna during pregnancy, you should check the mercury level of the tuna in the tin and opt for those with the lowest mercury level and no added salt.

It is good to know that tuna in oil is higher in calories than in brine or water. So, to manage your calorie intake, you should moderate consuming tuna in oil. Moreover, if you want to try flavored canned tuna while pregnant, go ahead since it is safe for pregnancy.

Do you have to heat up canned tuna when pregnant?

You can use canned tuna to make healthy food options like pasta, sandwich, or salad, but can you eat cold canned tuna when pregnant? Or should you heat it?

Most canned tuna brands are pre-cooked or cooked before being canned, but heating it up is recommended if you want to be safe and decrease the chance of food poisoning. Cook canned tuna to an internal temperature of 145 F to make it a pregnancy-safe option.

Related: Goat Cheese While Pregnant

Benefits of tuna during pregnancy

benefits of eating tuna during pregnancy

Consuming tuna in pregnancy provides several health benefits due to its high nutritional value. The nutrients found in tuna are:

  1. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for fetal growth. If a mother is low in protein during pregnancy, the following may happen:
    • Possibility of abortion,
    • Low growth inside the uterus,
    • Low birth weight.
    • On the other hand, high protein intake may have the same negative effects.
  2. Long-chain omega-3s are important for the healthy formation of the fetus’s eyes and brain. Consumption of long-chain omega-3s reduces the following risks:
    • Risk of preterm birth,
    • Poor fetal growth,
    • Motherly depression during pregnancy and postpartum,
    • Childhood allergies.
  3. Vitamin D is low in tuna. Maybe you know that vitamin D is theprenatal vitamin before pregnancy and has the following properties:
    • Safety and health of baby bones,
    • Decrease the risk of miscarriage and preeclampsia,
    • Reduce the effects of substances that cause high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  4. Iron is a mineral that is important for the healthy growth of the fetus’s brain and nervous system. The beneficial effects of iron in reducing the following risks are:
  5. Vitamin B12 is good for improving the function of the nervous system, making protein, and making red blood cells. If the level of this vitamin is low during pregnancy, it causes the following risks:
    • Abortion,
    • Preterm delivery,
    • Congenital birth defects,
    • Increased pregnancy complications.

Also Read: Is It Bad To Eat Late At Night While Pregnant

Can you eat raw tuna while pregnant?

“I ate tuna while pregnant, the raw one. Is it safe to eat raw tuna during pregnancy?”

Some dishes like sushi, tuna tarte, and Hawaiian poke contain raw tuna. Some believe consuming dishes with raw tuna is unsafe for pregnant women, but others believe it is safe for them. Let us give you an example.

In the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, pregnant women should avoid raw tuna; however, pregnant women are told they can eat raw tuna if it has been frozen.

To conclude, if you want to be safe while pregnant, it is recommended not to eat raw tuna as it might be contaminated with harmful bacteria like listeria. If you are going to eat foods containing tuna, opt for versions with cooked tuna.

Best tuna for pregnancy

Some kinds of tuna are low in mercury, but some are high in mercury. Ladies should opt for low-mercury level tuna while pregnant to be safe. Hipregnancy recommends you buy smaller tuna fish instead of bigger ones, as the smaller tuna has lower mercury concentrations.

The followings are some best kinds of tuna for pregnancy with low average ppm mercury level, including;

  • Safe Catch Wild Ahi
  • Safe Catch Elite
  • Skipjack (canned, frozen, fresh)
  • Canned light (all brands)
  • Safe Catch Wild Albacore

Although tuna fish mentioned above are low in mercury, they should be consumed in moderation to prevent possible dangers of mercury.

Can pregnant women eat tuna salad?

One of the common queries of pregnant ladies to their healthcare provider is: “Can I eat tuna salad while pregnant?” Here we want to cover the answer to this question.

Tuna salad is safe to consume while pregnant, but two points must be considered before including it in your diet. These two points are as follows;

  • Tuna salad should be made with mayo containing pasteurized egg. Unpasteurized mayonnaise is unsafe for pregnant women and their babies. You should opt for commercially made mayo since it is often pasteurized.
  • Pre-prepared tuna salad in a deli or salad bar is forbidden during pregnancy due to the risk of cross-contamination.

How much tuna can you eat while pregnant?

There are different opinions about tuna consumption:

  • The FDA says there is nothing wrong with eating canned tuna but recommends limiting the consumption of white tuna, which has more methylmercury, to 170 grams per week.
  • Some researchers say that eating a maximum of 340 grams of canned tuna per week is not problem, but recommends limiting the consumption of canned white tuna to 113 grams per week.
  • Some experts also recommend that you avoid canned tuna altogether.

The FDA suggests pregnant mothers can consume about 226 to 340 grams of other types of fish per week instead of tuna. These options include salmon, Sardine, shrimp, Anchovy fish, and tilapia, all high in omega-3 essential proteins and fatty acids. [1: healthline]

Can you eat tuna while breastfeeding?

Like during pregnancy, you can eat tuna while breastfeeding; however, you must moderate your intake and opt for the ones with the lowest mercury level.

Hipregnancy warns you about consuming high mercury fish while breastfeeding as it can pass to your baby through breast milk and negatively affect the development of baby’s nervous system and brain.

Canned light tuna, Skipjack (fresh, canned, frozen), and Safe Catch brand tuna are the best choices while breastfeeding, but Bigeye and Bluefin are forbidden tuna for pregnancy.

Talk to your healthcare provider and follow the guidelines to ensure how much tuna to consume during breastfeeding.


In the answer to the question about, “Can you eat tuna while pregnant?” we should say that there are some different ideas about that.

Every fish, like Tuna, contains different minerals and vitamins, including protein, omega-3s, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. If a pregnant woman uses enough fish, she may not suffer from unwanted complications and risks during pregnancy, and she will go through the pregnancy easily and finally have a comfortable delivery.

Because of some contamination in water like mercury, it is better to limit your consumption of albacore (“white”) tuna and use other kinds of fresh fish or canned light tuna.[2: verywellfamily]

If there are still any unanswered questions or missed points about tuna and pregnancy, share them with us via comment.


1. Can I eat tuna while pregnant?

You can eat low-mercury level tuna while pregnant in moderation.

2. Is tuna high in mercury pregnancy?

Some kinds of tuna are high in mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy, including Bigeye Tuna, Pacific Bluefin or Blackfin, Atlantic Bluefin or Longtail, and Southern Bluefin.

3. Can I eat albacore tuna while pregnant?

Pregnant ladies should limit consuming albacore tuna, but they can eat up to 6oz of fresh albacore weekly.

1 Comment
  1. shoya izakaya says

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