Can You Eat Tuna While Pregnant? [Doctor Verifed]

Verified by Patricia Shelton MD
Verified by Patricia Shelton MD

Patricia Shelton holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and a Bachelors degree in neuroscience, both from the University of Washington.

While pregnant women are typically advised to limit their intake of certain types of fish, one common fish often comes up in discussion – Tuna.

Some believe that tuna can cause problems during pregnancy, while others say it is safe to consume. So what is the truth? Can you eat tuna while pregnant?

Can you eat tuna while pregnant?

Yes, tuna is generally considered to be safe during pregnancy. Tuna contains abundant protein, iron, selenium, B12 vitamins, potassium, and other nutrients and minerals essential for your developing baby.

In addition, it is common knowledge that tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for your baby’s brain, nervous system, and eye development.

Omega-3 Fatty acids help support cognitive development and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer later in life.

How much tuna is safe during pregnancy?

FDA advised that pregnant women should limit their tuna intake to no more than 12 ounces per week. It is because most types of tuna contain relatively high levels of Mercury.

While Mercury is not particularly harmful to adults, it can be very dangerous to developing babies.

Too much mercury exposure can lead to serious neurological problems and developmental delays.

For example, opt for canned light tuna or skipjack since these varieties have lower mercury levels than other types of tuna, like albacore or white tuna, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, and bluefin tuna.

If unsure about the mercury content in a particular type of tuna, check with your healthcare provider.

Hence, you either limit your tuna intake or choose the canned light tuna or skipjack to be on the safer side.

Do I have to cook the canned tuna?

Yes, it is recommended that you cook canned tuna while pregnant. Raw fish generally contain bacteria and other contaminants that can harm you and your baby.

Cooking canned tuna will ensure that you kill any bacteria parasites that may be present. It will mainly save you from listeria or salmonella poisoning, which can be very dangerous during pregnancy.

When cooking canned tuna, drain the oil and water from the can before cooking. Like any other fish, you can bake, grill, or pan-fry the tuna steak. Season it as desired, and enjoy!

When it comes to canned tuna, you should always look for brands labeled “packed in water” or “packed in olive oil.” These products are typically safer than those packed in soybean or sunflower oil since they have a lower risk of containing harmful compounds called “trans fats.”


Pregnant women can safely eat a specific type of canned tuna as long you limit the intake to no more than 12 ounces per week.

Tuna is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients necessary for your developing baby.

Choose canned light tuna or skipjack for the best option, and cook it thoroughly before consuming it.

Ask your physician for a particular type of tuna that is best for you and your baby.

Do you like tuna? Will you include it in your diet during pregnancy?