Can You Eat Seafood While Pregnant (Tuna) in Pregnancy – HowToGuide

Blood Mercury levels and fish consumption in pregnancy

Any pregnant woman’s food must be a medicine & not pose any harm to mother or baby. Read on to know if you can eat tuna during pregnancy.

Is it Safe to Eat Tuna During Pregnancy

Once you get pregnant, many people, including your family and friends, will want to give further advice as to what foods you should and shouldn’t eat. The main problem is how you know what you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat to improve your baby’s health.

Maybe you are trying to eat a mouthwatering tuna sandwich, and you heard it contains mercury in small doses. You decide to stay away from it but that may not be necessary because studies have shown that eating fish while pregnant can benefit both the pregnant mother and child. So don’t worry much as we will offer you how to eat tuna while reducing the risk involved. In essence, you can use our guide to carefully consume Tuna without putting yourself or your little one through unnecessary risks.

Dietary Guidelines: Eating Tuna for Pregnant Women

FDA guidelines of the 2015-2020 Dietary guidelines, provided recommendations for pregnant women to eat 0.23 to 0.34 kilograms of various seafood every week. The FDA also went further by advising pregnant women on eating certain kinds of fish. What was the recommendation in regards to eating tuna?

It appears that different kinds of tuna contain different mercury levels. It is broken down into three groups of top, ok, and avoids. Canned light Tuna (by skipjack) is in the “top” category, and it’s advised that 8-12 ounces should be taken every week. Also, both yellowfin tuna and albacore are in this “ok” category, and only 4-5 ounces should be taken every week. However, Big Eye Tuna is on the list to avoid.

The Benefits of Including Fish in the Diet During Pregnancy

Fish contains a lot of healthy fats, minerals, and proteins. When placed in water, a can of five-ounce light tuna fish includes about 20g of protein! You will also get a considerable amount of niacin, vitamin B12, and selenium, which are all critical to your growing baby’s health.

Certain fish, including light tuna, also carry high amounts of fatty acids such as omega-3, which is essential for developing your baby’s brain. Research has also shown that salmon, sardines, cod, lake trout, Atlantic mackerel, and light tuna contain a high amount of fatty acids.

Mercury Amount in Fish 

Fish has to be eaten in moderation because they contain a heavy metal called methyl mercury. It’s not readily excreted and can cross the blood-brain barrier and placenta. Studies show that methyl mercury is linked to increased risk to conditions like developmental deficits in children and adults’ adults’ cardiovascular disease. Suppose you are wondering how mercury gets into fish like tuna. It appears there are many sources.

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Why is There Mercury in Fish?

According to the environment program research carried out by the UN, which observed the source of mercury in the seas. It was noticed that 10 percent of mercury originated from natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions and hydrothermal vents. At the same time, the rest originated from human actions such as burning coal or from natural disasters such as floods that carried mercury left by people in the soil.

Once mercury enters the ocean, it’s gets absorbed by eukaryotic organism (aka algae). As a result, mercury is accumulates in fish bodies that include algae in their daily diet. A fish that feeds on algae and has a short life will contain less mercury than a fish that eats algae and lives long. Worse of all, fish that consume smaller fish absorbs all contained mercury. The final result is that large predators like tuna or sharks have the highest amount of mercury.

Canned Tuna, Is It Safe?

It appears not every canned tuna is alike. When you look at the food shelves, you will mostly find white canned tuna or light white canned tuna. Though they may appear similar, they are very different. The light tuna is made from tuna called “skipjack”. This is the “best” group, and 8-12oz could be taken every week. Note that certain light tuna is marked with “tonno” as these are “good” choices, and only 4oz should be consumed every week.

Albacore is the main source of how white tuna is made. They have three times more mercury than skipjack and considered to be in “ok” category.  So whenever you consume them, remember that you shouldn’t take more than 4oz a week. Initially it could be challenging to find the safest type of tuna during your grocery shopping, so make sure you carefully read the tin labels. If unsure of the brand, choose another.

How Many Cans of Tuna Can I Eat During Pregnancy?

A can of tuna is around 5oz. If the liquid is drained, about 4oz of tuna meat is left. This implies that 1 can of tuna is equivalent to 1 serving. You can include 2-3 cans of tuna in a week. However, do not exceed 1 can If you go with white canned tuna or tonno,

What is the Safest Fish to Eat During Pregnancy?

Restaurants and grocery stores provide a big selection of fish. it is necessary to know which is the safest during pregnancy. Mostly, the smaller shellfish or fish is better. Many organizations have put together a safe list of fish that can be eaten. Take a look at FDA’s recommendation on eating fish for a complete list. 

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Fish to Keep Away From During Pregnancy 

There are certain fish that you must stay away from during your pregnancy such as King mackerel, shark, marlin, tilefish, orange roughy, swordfish, and Bigeye Tuna. So if you desire to eat any of the fishes listed above, you might want to hold off till you have delivered the baby. 

Recommended Serving of Fish

FDA advises pregnant women to eat 4,8 or 12oz of fish in a week, depending on the type of fish. But it is not easy to know when you are in your home kitchen or sitting in a restaurant with friends. As a tip, use your palm to measure. A piece of fish such as your palm size is roughly 4oz. Therefore, if you’re having YellowFin Tuna, be sure not to eat more than a palm’s worth of it for a week.

Is Raw Fish Safe During Pregnancy?

Sushi during pregnancy is a good way of getting some seafood in your diet. However, before you do this, you need to take note of some things. The risk with raw fish is they may contain parasites in them. Therefore, if you decide to eat raw fish, take the necessary precautions that would kill the parasites first. You can achieve this by pickling, freezing or smoking the fish.

If you decide to make sushi in your house, ensure to freeze the sushi few days before serving. You might need more information on how the raw fish you want to eat is prepared at a local Japanese cuisine. Most of their raw shellfish like shrimps and crabs are not frozen; hence it is advisable to avoid them altogether. 

Farmed salmon is an exception to this. It is specifically grown for being served as sushi and doesn’t have to be frozen. Check with a waiter if they fish was frozen. Otherwise, as for smoked salmon instead. Also note that tuna made into sushi contains higher mercury levels compared to standard tuna.


Every Pregnant woman, nursing mother, and even the regular individual knows how delicate pregnancy is and how tasking the eventual next stage of nursing a baby can get. They also know this could be the worst time to eat anything one is not sure of in terms of risk exposure and nutritional content. 

While breastfeeding or pregnant, it is advisable to follow the guidelines required before eating tuna strictly. Make sure to keep track of your fish consumption, only consume the safest types of tuna, know the risks. You can enjoy your favorite tuna and keep yourself and your baby safe and happy as long as you follow the guidelines,.

The question “can pregnant women eat tuna” usually runs through the mind of gestating women who love to eat tuna. The answer is yes, as long as they follow the strict guidelines and don’t eat more than the required amount of tuna fish. You must also know how it was prepared to avoid parasites that might harm you or your baby.

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