Is tuna safe to eat during pregnancy?

Tinned tuna, tuna sandwiches, tuna steak - is any tuna safe to have when you are pregnant?

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In a nutshell

Yes, tuna is safe but in moderation  

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The expert view

Eating tuna – be that tinned or fresh, in a sandwich or in ready meals –  is perfectly safe both when you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. You do need to keep an eye on the amount you are consuming though as it can contain high levels of mercury.

Nutritionist Dr Rana Conway advises: “Although you shouldn’t eat too much tuna while you’re pregnant, it is an excellent food to include as a regular part of your diet. So you can have it in sandwiches, salad or pasta once or twice a week without any worries at all. It’s low in fat and rich in selenium which may help reduce the chances of your baby developing allergies.”

Don’t eat more than:

* 2 tuna steaks a week (each weighing about 140g when cooked or 170g raw)
* 4 medium-sized cans of tuna a week (about 140g a can when drained)

There are other fish which contain high levels of mercury, too, and these should not be eaten at all as they can damage your unborn baby’s nervous system. They are:

  • Shark
  • Marlin
  • Swordfish

You should also avoid them if you are trying to get pregnant.

The current NHS advice also flags up how fish can be a very healthy option for you during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It states that  ‘fish is good for you and your baby because it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals as well as essential omega 3 fatty acids’.  

Mums on our forum say 

“I realised I’ve eaten too much tuna this week, I had two tuna steaks (I thought this was OK then I remembered I’d also had a tuna sandwich earlier in the week). I’m now reading about mercury poisoning and really freaked.” Gsmummy55

“Currently got a thing about tuna. I’m always like let’s have tuna sandwiches or tuna jacket potato…well, better than my last pregnancy where I craved Battenburg cake….” givepeasachance

Read more:

Can I eat sushi while pregnant?

Are seafood and shellfish safe to eat in pregnancy?

Is oily fish safe to eat when pregnant?

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