Pregnancy is an exciting and special time in a woman’s life. But it’s also a time when health and safety are top priority. Women who are pregnant need to be aware of what foods they eat and what nutritional benefits those foods bring. This is especially true when it comes to seafood. Many women are aware that certain types of fish can be high in mercury content, which can be harmful to an unborn baby. One fish in particular, albacore tuna, is often brought up in conversations about what’s safe and what’s not for pregnant women. In this blog post, we answer the question: Can I eat albacore tuna while pregnant? We’ll look at the nutritional benefits and potential risks associated with consuming albacore tuna during pregnancy and provide advice on how to make sure it’s a safe food to add to your diet.
Dishes That Contain Tuna & Their Pregnancy Safety
The dishes listed below are frequently questioned because they contain tuna. The recommendations for portions and limiting your weekly consumption of tuna are the same.
When eating dishes with tuna in them, keep in mind that sometimes it’s harder to estimate your portion size if it’s mixed in with other ingredients.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Raw (or Seared) Tuna?
Sushi options for raw tuna include tuna tataki, sashimi, nigiri, and rolls. Raw tuna can also be found in dishes like poke or tuna tartare.
In the USA, the FDA recommends that pregnant women should avoid raw fish consumption such as sushi, and that includes tuna (source: FDA). The advice is the same in Australia and New Zealand (source: NSW Food Authority). In Canada, it’s a similar story – raw fish is on the ‘do not eat’ list (source: BCCDC).
In the UK, pregnant women are told that they can eat raw fish, so long as it’s been previously frozen, as this kills parasitic worms that may be in the fish (source: NHS).
Although the majority of tuna fish used to make sushi is frozen to eliminate these parasites, this doesn’t eliminate bacteria, so you need to be somewhat cautious about where you get your sushi or make it yourself.
Keep in mind that unless you ask what species it is, the tuna used in sushi is difficult to identify. Some cheaper tuna sushi may use higher-mercury fish. It’s much safer to consume fully cooked or vegetarian sushi while pregnant (such as sushi made with canned tuna, cooked salmon, or fish).
Generally speaking, if you’re being extremely careful, stay away from raw tuna and choose something cooked instead, or a lower-mercury fish.
VI FISH CAUGHT BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
1. What if I eat fish caught by family and friends?.
Pay attention to any fish advisories posted on those bodies of water when eating fish you or others have caught. There are waters where there may have been little or no monitoring, so it is unknown how much mercury may be present. If advice is unavailable, you should eat no other fish that week and limit your consumption of that fish to one serving per week. Adults should consume no more than 6 ounces of fish per week, while children aged six and younger should consume no more than 1 to 2 ounces and children aged six to twelve should consume no more than 2 to 3 ounces. Once more, neither grownups nor kids should consume any other fish that week.
2. Where can I find out if fish caught by family or friends is safe?
Check the applicable fishing regulations booklet or website for information about recreationally caught fish. Local, state, and tribal health departments and fish and game agencies also have information about advisories for consuming fish in their jurisdiction. The department that provides information about fish consumption advisories is often different from the one that has information on shellfish bed closures. Different agencies might also be responsible for information about freshwater (inland) fish and marine (coastal) fish. See also EPA’s website about fish consumption advisories and links to websites for state, territorial, and tribal fish advisories.
Can I eat canned albacore tuna while pregnant?
What canned tuna is safe for pregnancy?
Does albacore tuna have mercury?