Is It Safe To Eat Sardines While Pregnant?

Eating Sardines During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Sardines and pregnancy might go hand In hand. They are nutrient-dense, including protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, they contain less mercury than bigger species of fish. While scientific data supports the health advantages of fish consumption, certain hazards are associated with particular fish varieties. Sardines, in particular, are advantageous during pregnancy.

Are Sardines Safe to Be Consumed in Pregnancy? 

Sardines are safe to consume during pregnancy since they contain very little to no mercury, making them an exceedingly safe and delectable source of nutrition for the baby. To ensure their safety, pregnant women are advised to consume no more than 12 ounces of seafood every week. The American Pregnancy Association does not encourage eating raw seafood during pregnancy due to the risk of being exposed to various illnesses. Sardines are safe to consume up to three times a week during pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid raw or undercooked sardines since all raw fish sources risk germs and foodborne diseases. Indeed, most healthcare practitioners and groups dedicated to natural healthcare would concur with this advice.

Can Sardines Be a Healthy Choice for Pregnant Women?

Sardine fish is a highly nutritious option if you are expecting a child! Sardines, like other fish, are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health. According to the FDA recommendations, pregnant and lactating women must take 2-3 servings (8-12 ounces) of low-mercy fish each week, which indicates that sardines are safe to eat during pregnancy and lactation. An 8-ounce meal of sardines provides 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for both you and your baby’s brain and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to help in decreasing incidences of preterm delivery.

Do Sardines Have High Mercury? 

Pregnant or nursing women are advised to consume between 8 and 12 ounces of seafood each week. Because of their low mercury level, sardines are considered one of the finest alternatives for seafood consumption. The presence of trace levels of mercury in almost all fish results from environmental pollution. However, predator species such as sharks, tuna, and swordfish have greater levels of mercury than sardines because they graze on plankton instead of other fish. Smaller fish graze on plants and microorganisms, thus having lower mercury levels than their larger counterparts.

Benefits of Eating Sardines in Pregnancy

Here are some of the benefits of consuming sardines during pregnancy:

  • Vitamin D and calcium work together to stimulate new tissue production (mostly bone). 
  • Sardines provide necessary fatty acids that are beneficial to prenatal brain development. It has been shown that high EPA/DHA levels are connected with better developmental outcomes later in life!
  • In the final trimester, calcium is continually passed from mother to child, reaching 250-350 mg per day in certain cases. Getting adequate calcium is also important for helping to avoid preeclampsia in the mother-to-be.
  • Vitamin B12 helps promote the growth of new cells that help develop tissues and organs in the body.

How to Consume Sardines While Pregnant? 

How to Consume Sardines While Pregnant?

We’ve proved that sardines are safe and healthful to consume while pregnant, but how you should consume them throughout pregnancy remains an oft-asked question.

1. On Crackers 

Canned Sardines on crackers are a tasty snack that may be the thing to quench your hunger. Chop or slice them into small parts and serve them over a bed of lettuce leaves with shredded carrots on top for an added nutritious boost. You may use Worcestershire sauce or spicy sauce for a little more heat. 

2. Fresh and Well-cooked 

Freshly purchased sardines must be properly cooked before consumption. Grilled with sea salt, parsleylemon juice, and a touch of chili powder, they’re a great side dish as a snack or as part of a bigger meal, such as with pasta or couscous, depending on your preference.

3. In the Salad 

Sardines are an excellent method to boost the protein content of a salad. Filling and protein-packed salad made with canned sardines, cubed vegetables, and a dressing made with Greek yogurt and mayonnaise.

Precautions for Having Sardines in Pregnancy

While Sardines may be beneficial, you still need to exercise caution when consuming them during pregnancy. It is recommended not to consume fish more than twice a week. Here are some things you need to take precaution against:

1. Listeriosis 

Listeriosis is a condition caused by a bacterium resistant to antibiotics and may be found in soil, plants, and water. You should avoid eating high-risk meals and adhere to a set of guidelines while preparing and handling food to keep yourself safe. The infection may then be passed on to the baby, resulting in an early birth or a miscarriage in the mother. Listeria is a bacteria that can only be destroyed by heat and pasteurization. You keep yourself safe from listeriosis, be sure to prepare your meals and avoid consuming dangerous items thoroughly.

2. Toxoplasmosis 

Toxoplasmosis is a disease that is caused by a parasite that may be found in soil or meat. Human contamination may occur in three ways: consuming undercooked meat or fish, consuming food contaminated with cat feces (such as raw vegetables), and consuming food contaminated with cat feces. Pregnant women should follow the following recommendations to prevent contracting toxoplasmosis. When working with raw meat, dirt, or raw veggies, it is very important to wash your hands often. If you come into contact with raw meat, avoid rubbing your eyes. Consume well-cooked meats and seafood, and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.

Fish are an important element of a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet for pregnant women in general. Sardines are a good alternative for pregnant women to meet the recommended weekly fish and seafood intake of 2-3 servings. However, pregnant women should seek the advice of their health care providers for more specific dietary issues.


1. Can I Eat Raw Sardines When Pregnant? 

Raw fish is strictly prohibited during pregnancy. Sardine consumption is not recommended during pregnancy. Bacteria such as listeriosis or toxoplasmosis may be present in raw fish. Listeriosis is caused by bacteria, whereas parasites cause toxoplasmosis. They may be transmitted during pregnancy or delivery from mother to fetus. If the fish is not cooked properly, the microorganisms remain. It is contagious and may be passed on to your kid. Therefore, to minimize concerns, avoid raw sardines. tartars, carpaccio, Sushi, sashimi, and ceviche are all included in this category.

2. Can I Consume Smoked Sardines in Pregnancy? 

As with raw fish, pregnant women should avoid smoked sardines at all costs. Raw and smoked fish may have the same bacterium. Toxoplasmosis and Listeria are examples of foodborne infections.

3. Can Pregnant Women Eat Frozen Sardine? 

A pregnant lady will be allowed to consume the frozen fish since it is safe to do so. It is your responsibility to ensure that the cold chain has been maintained. It is possible to consume sardines when pregnant if you freeze them at home before consumption. Check to ensure that the freezer’s temperature is far below -0.4°F/-18°C before using it.

4. Are Canned Sardines Okay in Pregnancy? 

Sardines and other canned fish are generally considered safe to consume during pregnancy since the canning process warms items to a certain temperature to make the fish commercially acceptable. As long as your fish is not expired and has been properly kept, you don’t have to be concerned about germs or mold contaminating it.

5. Is Steamed Sardine Safe in Pregnancy? 

The temperature of steam cooking is often greater than 158°F/70°C, the recommended temperature for sardine steam cooking. As a result, you will be permitted to consume sardines that have been cooked while pregnant.

6. Is It Okay To Eat Sardines In Early Pregnancy?

In the first trimester, many women are concerned about miscarriage, and, understandably, you’d want to be extra mindful of what you’re eating at this time. On the other hand, Sardines are low-risk fish to consume throughout pregnancy. They are packed with nutritional advantages for both you and your developing baby. While nausea and morning sickness may cause you to lose your appetite during the first trimester, it’s critical to consume 70 to 100 grams of protein per day to keep both you and your baby healthy. The current protein serving recommendations may be too low, so make sure to include protein with most of your meals during this time.

Also Read:

Eating Shrimp while Pregnant
Consuming Crab during Pregnancy
Is It Safe to Eat Prawns during Pregnancy?

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.