Can a pregnant woman eat canned fish?

Updated on: Jan 4, 2016

Yes, since canned fish provides several benefits: long-term conservation, easy preparation, affordability and availability.

Several canned fishes prove to be more interesting choices for pregnant women and are to be consumed at will. On the other hand, two exceptions are to be taken seriously because of high mercury concentration: white tuna and king mackerel. White tuna (albacore) consumption should be restricted to a maximum of 300g per week. Light tuna is to be eaten at will. As per king mackerel, it is to be altogether avoided.

To ensure adequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is one of the best foods to consume. Omega-3 is essential for the body in general as well as for the developing baby. A pregnant woman should however carefully choose (French only) the fish she eats for optimal omega-3 intake while avoiding to consume too many contaminants that may be present in certain fish.

In addition to that, some canned fish are important sources of salt, particularly anchovies and some smoked/seasoned fish. It is therefore important to check the sodium (salt) content on the Nutrition Facts label and to more often choose varieties with less than 500 mg of sodium per serving of 100 g.

Finally, cod liver products are not recommended for women of childbearing age and pregnant women (until the 12th week), because environmental contaminants generally accumulate in the organs of fish, including the liver. Also note that liver products contain high doses of vitamin A as retinol, another element requiring caution during pregnancy. After the first trimester, a portion of cooked liver of 75 g (about the size of a palm) is permitted.


Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. (2014). Alimentation et grossesse. Repéré à :

Santé Canada (2009). Lignes directrices sur la nutrition pendant la grossesse à l'intention des professionnels de la santé - Le poisson et les acides gras oméga-3. Repéré à :

Santé Canada. (2008). Le mercure présent dans le poisson. Repéré à :


Doré, N. et Le Henaff, D. (2014). Mieux vivre avec notre enfant de la grossesse à deux ans, guide pratique pour les mères et les pères.

Extenso. (2012). Grossesse: bien choisir son poisson.

Extenso. (2015). Quels poissons contiennent le plus de mercure.


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