Is It Safe To Consume Tuna During Pregnancy?

Eating Tuna During Pregnancy

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As a soon-to-be-mom, you may be concerned about what to eat and what not to, especially during the early stages of your pregnancy. You may want to be absolutely sure about the safety of consumption of certain foods and the pregnancy myths making rounds don’t make it any easier for you, do they?

Is It Safe To Eat Tuna During Pregnancy?

According to Consumer Report magazine, canned tuna during pregnancy is not advisable, as it may pose a risk of mercury contamina

tion which may affect the developing fetus. On the other hand, while the FDA advises pregnant women to limit their intake of the fish, it also cautions not entirely omit it from pregnancy diets, since oily fish possess rare nutrients that are beneficial for the foetus.

While there are a lot of controversies regarding various opinions, truth is, the data depicting mercury contamination could be unreliable, and canned tuna could be having higher levels of mercury than believed earlier. Consumption of mercury contaminated fish during pregnancy could have several adverse impacts on your baby’s health. Let’s take a look at some of them.

[ Read: Sushi During Pegnancy ]

The Health Risks:

While oily fish like tuna is actually good for health, it is advisable to limit your consumption, to a good extent, of this fish especially during your pregnancy. As oily fishes are more likely to contain environmental pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins, which pose several health risks for not just the mother, but also the baby. Consumption of mercury and toxin-loaded fish during pregnancy could lead to the following health problems:

  • Mercury is a neurotoxin and is known to interfere with the brain and the nervous system. Fetal exposure to mercury especially during the early stages of pregnancy could be extremely harmful and may lead to developmental problems in the baby.
  • Even in low doses, mercury could affect the baby’s development and cause delaying of walking, talking and other day-to-day activities.
  • It has also been found how mercury exposure during pregnancy could be linked to a reduced attention span in the baby, and may cause learning disabilities.
  • Some studies have also confirmed how mercury could cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other related mental conditions if taken in larger doses during pregnancy.
  • In adults, mercury could have adverse impacts on fertility.
  • Long term exposure of mercury is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Vision loss, numbness of the fingers and toes, memory loss and tremors are other symptoms and health risks that may be linked to increased intake of mercury loaded foods.

[ Read: Seafood During Pregnancy ]

While tuna is packed with some amazing nutrients (vitamins, minerals and healthy fats) which are exceptionally helpful during pregnancy for both you and your growing baby, some may also contain high levels of mercury, which makes it more harmful than beneficial. So, consumer discretion is strongly advised.

Bottom Line:

Consumption of fishes like swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish and shark are a complete no-no during pregnancy since these fishes have higher levels of mercury than any other fishes. But tuna is believed to contain lower levels of mercury as opposed to other varieties of the fish. You can enjoy tuna – if you absolutely have to have it – in moderate quantity.

There are major controversies and lack of scientific evidences to prove the actual fact that consuming tuna during pregnancy is harmful.However, one can taste a serving once in a while.Still, it is best to stick to fresh tuna as opposed to canned tuna, as fresh tuna undergoes minimal processing and is probably safer too. If you have any inhibitions in consumption of tuna, it is always best to have a word with your doctor.

Do share your valuable suggestions in the comments section below.

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