Anemia in Pregnancy

Healing Foods for the Anemia Diet

Mild anemia in pregnancy is quite common. To avoid this and many other problems that can occur during pregnancy, read the Nutrition during Pregnancy page.

anemia in pregnancy

During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 40%, largely due to increase in plasma rather than red blood cells.

This will cause a decreased proportion of the protein hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, which carries oxygen to the body's cells, and the result can be anemia (or anaemia).

Although deficiency of any of several vitamins and minerals can produce anemia, the most common causes are deficiency of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.

This problem is not likely to affect the baby, but it will affect the mother. In fact, the fetus will deplete the mother's mineral and vitamin resources making anemia even worse.


Anemia Symptoms

Symptoms of anemia include:

  • Weakness, fatigue, dizziness, irritability or mental confusion.
  • A rapid heartbeat, palpitations and shortness of breath.
  • Paleness of the skin, gums, around the inside of the eye and under the fingernails.



Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital in order to ensure that both mother and baby get all the nutrients they need.

The Daily Value for iron is 18 mg, but pregnant women need much more, even 30 mg a day.

It can be difficult to get that much iron from the diet, so obstetricians may prescribe supplements for pregnant women on top of the advised pregnancy diet.


How to Avoid Anemia in Pregnancy

Foods rich in iron and other important nutrients to avoid anemia in pregnancy are:

  • Calf's liver - rich not only in iron but also in all B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folic acid. But liver needs to be eaten in moderation by pregnant women as it's also rich in vitamin A, excesses of which have been linked to birth defects.
  • Brewer's yeast is also an excellent source of iron and B vitamins.
  • Green leafy vegetables contain natural fat-soluble chlorophyll, which is similar to the hemoglobin molecule and is efficiently absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, providing all the structural elements for hemoglobin. They also contain iron and folic acid.


Other foods rich in iron are:

  • dried beans
  • blackstrap molasses
  • lean beef, pork and venison
  • dried apricots, prunes, raisins
  • almonds
  • mangoes
  • shellfish
  • bread and pastas made from whole grain flour



Other Recommendations for Anemia in Pregnancy

Make sure you have enough folic acid, vitamin B12 and the other B-complex vitamins in your diet.

If you are prescribed iron supplements, take them with vitamin C to help the absorption of this mineral. Prescription iron supplements can cause constipation, so eat plenty of high-fiber foods and increase fluids intake, or you might decide to take a more natural form of iron supplement.

Vitamin C alone will often increase body iron stores. Five hundred milligrams with each meal is a suitable dose for this effect.

When taking iron supplements avoid taking them with tea or coffee, as these have been shown to reduce iron absorption.

Antacids and overuse of calcium supplements also decrease iron absorption.


Articles in this Series:


Nutrition during Pregnancy - What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

Natural Cures for Bladder Infections in Pregnancy - Foods to Avoid and Foods to Eat

Pregnancy Gingivitis - Causes of Bleeding Gums during Pregnancy

Constipation during Pregnancy - Which Foods to Eat

Heartburn during Pregnancy - Healing Foods to Relieve Heartburn

How to Relieve Morning Sickness in Pregnancy


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Pregnancy Friend by Jo Walker is a great website that will answer all your questions about pregnancy.



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RELATED PAGES:

Nutrition during Pregnancy - What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy


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Anemia in Pregnancy - Healing Foods for the Anemia Diet

Natural Cures for Bladder Infections in Pregnancy - Foods to Avoid and Foods to Eat

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Constipation during Pregnancy - Which Foods to Eat

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