Can Pregnant Women Eat Tuna?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Tuna?

“Can I eat tuna when I’m pregnant?” is one of the most commonly asked questions by expecting mothers. The short answer: yes. The longer answer: Not only can women eat a variety of seafood—including canned light and white tuna—during pregnancy, but they absolutely should be eating tuna during pregnancy. Missing out on seafood during pregnancy could mean missing out on important nutrients, like omega-3s.

 

Why Should Pregnant Women Eat Seafood Like Tuna?

Tuna is one of the best sources out there for a healthy fat called omega-3 DHA. Simply put, omega-3 DHA is crucial to baby’s brain and eye development. But that’s not all. Tuna and other seafood are also high in protein, calcium, vitamin D and iron, which help build strong bones and muscles for mother and baby alike.

 

What Are The Best Kinds of Fish to Eat During Pregnancy?

Canned and pouched tuna are among the top three most popular types of fish in America. That includes both “light” tuna, sometimes called skipjack, and chunk “white” tuna or albacore. Actually, all of the top ten most popular seafood choices among Americans are safe and healthy for expecting mothers. These include widely available options like shrimp, salmon, crab and catfish.

 

How Much Tuna Should Pregnant Women Eat?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend eating 2-3 servings of a variety of seafood every week. That’s about 8-12 ounces each week. If that sounds like more than you’re currently eating, the reality is that it probably is. Research shows that most Americans are eating a less than optimal amount of fish. Pregnant women in the U.S. eat less than 2 ounces of seafood weekly. Canned and pouched tuna is a great seafood option because it is an incredibly versatile pantry staple.

 

Are There Any Kinds of Fish Pregnant Women Should Avoid?

There are only a small number of species of fish that pregnant women should stay away from because of higher mercury levels. They include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, marlin and orange roughy. Most people rarely or never eat these kinds of fish anyway. Moms-to-be should also steer clear of a large species of tuna called bigeye, commonly found in sushi.

 

Oh Yeah, What about Sushi During Pregnancy?

Sushi is generally safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it’s made from vegetables and/or cooked seafood. To reduce your risk of getting sick from food during pregnancy, do not eat any raw meats or raw seafood during pregnancy.

 

What Besides Seafood Should I Be Eating While Pregnant?

Of course, fish is just one—very important—piece of the pregnancy puzzle. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat a nutrient-rich diet filled with a variety of whole foods like seafood, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. For more information on how seafood fits into an overall healthy diet for mom and baby, read What To Eat When Pregnant, or The Pregnant Woman’s Guide To Eating Seafood, or visit fishduringpregnancy.com.