Canned & Fresh Sardines During Pregnancy: Benefits & Side Effects

Sardines During Pregnancy
Sardines During Pregnancy

Seafood can be used as an important food in the diet of all age groups. In this species, it is much less than other species. In the following, he will learn more about the benefits and advantages of sardine consumption.

Sardines and pregnancy

Healthy fish are very low in mercury. The substances in sardines are very strong in keeping the brain and heart of the fetus healthy and developing during pregnancy.

Is it permissible to consume sardines during pregnancy?

As mentioned above, the amount of mercury in sardine is small or does not have mercury at all, so there is no obstacle to consuming this fish during pregnancy. But there are some points that should be considered.

The important point is that due to possible side effects, you should not overdo the consumption of sardine or any fish and food and you should observe moderation in its consumption. Eating raw and undercooked fish greatly increases the possibility of transferring bacteria and pathogens to the body.

sardines nutrition during pregnancy

Sardines are generally safe to consume during pregnancy and can be eaten two to three times a week[1]. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for fetal brain development[2]. Additionally, sardines provide calcium, which is constantly being transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy.

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Health risks of mercury levels in Sardines

Fish and other marine creatures contain varying levels of mercury in their bodies due to the presence of harmful pollutants in the water. Sharks, tuna and swordfish feed on plankton and have higher levels of mercury than other fish that feed on plants. Therefore, sardine has a small amount of mercury compared to other fish and is more reliable for consumption.

Sardines are low in mercury, with levels ranging from 0.009 to 0.028 parts per million (ppm)[1]. This is significantly lower than other fish such as albacore tuna, which can have levels ten to twenty times higher[1]. Sardines also provide 2 grams of heart-healthy omega-3s per 3 ounce serving[2], making them a healthy and sustainable choice[3]. Additionally, sardines are safe to eat due to their low mercury content[4].

sardines health benefits for pregnant women

  1. Calcium and vitamin D in sardines have positive effects on bone growth and tissue construction.
  2. The fatty acids in sardines are very useful in strengthening the brain development of the fetus.
  3. The calcium present in sardines will prevent pre-eclampsia, and a lot of calcium is delivered from the mother to the fetus at the end of pregnancy.
  4. Sardines are rich in vitamin B, which improves the growth of organs and tissues.

Ways to eat sardines during pregnancy

One of the ways to consume sardines is to eat them with crackers, lettuce, carrots and, if desired, sauce. Consuming sardines in this way provides more nutrients to the body. In the second method, raw sardines can be grilled with salt, parsley, lemon juice and red pepper powder.

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Another way to consume sardine is to add it to salad. Consuming sardine with vegetables, sauce and yogurt increases the protein level of salad.

Possible risks of sardine during pregnancy

1. Listeriosis:

Listeria is a type of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and exists everywhere, including soil, water, plants and animals. If this bacteria enters the mother’s body, it will be transferred to the fetus and sometimes it causes premature birth and abortion. Listeria is only destroyed in the presence of heat or the pasteurization process of food, so you must use reliable food to avoid the risk of listeriosis.

2. Toxoplasmosis:

It is a parasite found in soil and meat that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis. This parasite is transmitted to the human body by eating raw or half-cooked meat and consuming vegetables or food contaminated with cat feces. When preparing food, wash your hands and do not touch your eyes before washing your hands. Also, avoid eating raw and undercooked meat, and be sure to wash fruits and vegetables carefully before eating to protect yourself from contracting toxoplasmosis.

are canned sardines safe during pregnancy ?

To be canned, a food item is exposed to heat, so it is safe to consume canned sardines if they have a use-by date and have been stored in healthy conditions. Consuming canned sardines with salt water is not dangerous during pregnancy, but if you want to reduce salt consumption during this period, it is better to use salt-free varieties. Canned sardines in oil are another type of canned food that usually uses olive oil. Olive oil is rich in fatty acids and various vitamins and increases the nutrients of sardine, but at the same time, it has a lot of fat and calories, which is not a good choice for people who plan to use low-calorie diets. Another form of canned sardine is sardine in tomato sauce, which is rich in nutrients including antioxidants, B vitamins, iron and potassium.

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Consuming canned vegetables sometimes has risks including negative effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children.

smoked sardines health risks during pregnancy

There is no harm in consuming smoked sardines if they are fully cooked. There is no harm in consuming canned smoked sardines if they are smoked with heat. But smoked cold foods have not received the required temperature, so during pregnancy, you must make sure that it is cooked when consuming smoked sardines.

Sardine bones are usually found in canned sardines. Some of the calcium of sardine is in its bones and eating them does not cause any problem. But if you eat fresh sardine, avoid eating its bones.

In addition to all the nutrients, sardine consumption is very important due to the presence of iodine in it because it can improve the efficiency of thyroid hormones and regulate them.


Seafood contains many nutrients and minerals that play an important role in improving the quality of people’s health. Sardine is a type of fish with high nutrients and very low mercury, which can be consumed during pregnancy. This fish should not be consumed in raw or half-cooked form because it increases the possibility of contracting toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. When consuming sardines during pregnancy, like all foods, moderation should be observed.

  1. I’ve heard that sardines are a great source of omega-3s, vitamin D, and other important nutrients for pregnancy. I’m planning to include them in my diet

  2. My midwife recommended eating sardines and other low mercury fish during pregnancy. But she said to limit it to 2-3 servings per week

  3. Because nausea and food aversions precluded sardine consumption, I am substituting with a marine-sourced omega-3 supplement as recommended by health organizations for expectant mothers abstaining from seafood

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