Learn More About Your Pregnancy
Anemia During Pregnancy
Can eating foods with vitamin C help my body take in more iron?
Foods containing vitamin C can increase the amount of iron your body takes in. Consider eating foods like oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and grapefruit every day. When you’re eating iron-rich foods or taking iron pills, try to avoid coffee, tea, egg yolks, milk, and soy protein.
Foods containing vitamin C can increase the amount of iron your body takes in. So it's a good idea to eat foods like orange juice, tomatoes, strawberries and grapefruit every day. Coffee, tea, egg yolks, milk, fiber and soy protein can block your body from absorbing iron. Try to avoid these when eating iron-rich foods.
What is anemia?
Anemia occurs when the number or size of a person’s red blood cells are too low. Red blood cells are important because they carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. You will probably be tested for anemia during the first prenatal visit and then possibly again between 24 and 28 weeks.
Usually, a woman becomes anemic (has anemia) because her body isn’t getting enough iron. About half of all pregnant women don’t have enough iron in their body (iron deficiency). Diseases such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia affect the quality and number of red blood cells the body produces. If you have a disease that causes anemia, talk with your health provider about how to treat anemia.
Anemia takes some time to develop. In the beginning, you may not have any symptoms, or they may be mild. But as it gets worse, you may have these symptoms:
- Fatigue (very common).
- Weakness (very common).
- Numbness or coldness in your hands and feet.
- Low body temperature.
- Pale skin.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Not doing well at work or in school.
You can help lower your risk of anemia by eating foods that contain iron throughout your pregnancy. These foods include:
- Poultry (dark meat).
- Dried fruits (apricots, prunes, figs, raisins, dates).
- Iron-fortified cereals, bread, and pasta.
- Whole grains.
- Blackstrap molasses.
- Liver and other meats.
- Spinach, broccoli, kale, and other dark green leafy vegetables.
- Baked potato with the skin.
- Beans and peas.
- Nuts and seeds.