Can You Eat Canned Tuna When Pregnant? [Explained]

Sami S
Sami S

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If you’re currently pregnant or about to be, you must prepare your baby’s nutrition before birth. A lot of healthy food, from veggies to protein food, can be listed to ensure your child’s development. But some food should be avoided during pregnancy, no matter how healthy. For example, let’s talk about one typical food in the supermarket – canned tuna. 

Can you eat canned tuna when pregnant?

You can eat canned tuna when pregnant, especially canned light tuna. According to FDA, canned light tuna contains less mercury than canned white or albacore tuna. 

Canned light tuna is an excellent supply of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which are beneficial for developing your baby’s nervous system. It also contains vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B-12, giving many health benefits to both mother and child. Therefore, canned light tuna should be part of a pregnant woman’s diet.

Pregnant women should be aware that there’s a certain level of risk in consuming any food, including canned tuna.

Studies have linked mercury exposure to children’s developmental delays and learning disabilities. So even if you can eat canned tuna when pregnant, it’s still best to eat it in moderation.

Generally, pregnant women or those who breastfeed can eat up to 12 ounces (2 to 3 average meals) of light canned tuna per week.

You can also enjoy other seafood such as salmon, shrimp, pollock, and catfish but lessen your consumption or eat up to 6 ounces per week or 170 grams.

Do you have to heat up canned tuna when pregnant?

Most brands of canned tuna are pre-cooked or cooked before they are canned. However, if unsure, heat it up to be on the safe side. You can cook it till it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t worry. There are lots of delicious recipes you can try with canned tuna. You can make a healthy tuna salad, sandwich, or pasta dish.

Can I eat albacore tuna while pregnant?

According to FDA, albacore or “white tuna” has three times more mercury than light tuna. As we don’t want to expose our child to any or even little mercury, it’s best to avoid eating albacore tuna during pregnancy. Otherwise, try to have only one serving or 6 ounces of albacore tuna per week.


Pregnant women must pay extra attention to what they eat since they feed themselves and their developing children. Canned light tuna is a good source of protein and omega-3, along with other nutrients, so that it can be included in a pregnant woman’s diet.

However, it should still be eaten in moderation to avoid mercury exposure. And if you’re unsure whether the canned tuna is already cooked, it would be best to heat it up before eating. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure a healthy pregnancy when in doubt.