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Hemoglobin Enhancing Foods for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women have a high risk of experiencing low hemoglobin (Hb), also called anemia. It is estimated that around 40% of pregnant women throughout the world experience a deficiency in Hb. Therefore, Hb enhancer foods for pregnant women need to be consumed during pregnancy.

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that functions to carry oxygen throughout the body. In adult women, the normal hemoglobin level in the body ranges from 12-16 g / dL.

Whereas in pregnant women, Hb levels that fall to 10.5 g / dL are still considered normal if there are no complaints or symptoms of anemia. This mild anemia occurs because the body of pregnant women produces more blood plasma, so the concentration of red blood cells decreases.

Decreasing the amount of hemoglobin in pregnant women is riskier if there are several conditions below:

  • Lack of iron, folate or vitamin B12 intake
  • Twin pregnancy
  • Already suffering from anemia before becoming pregnant
  • The distance to the previous pregnancy is close
  • Age of pregnant women are still teenagers
  • Vomiting often due to morning sickness
  • Large amounts of bleeding

Read Also : List of nutritious foods for pregnant women and its benefits

Impact of Anemia in Pregnant Women

Mild anemia during pregnancy is classified as normal and rarely causes symptoms. However, severe anemia that is not treated in pregnant women can be at high risk raises a number of complications, such as:

  • Babies born prematurely.
  • Babies born with less weight.
  • Babies are born with birth defects and developmental disorders.
  • Babies die before or after birth.
  • Mothers and babies are more susceptible to infection.
  • Mothers experience postpartum bleeding.
  • Mothers suffer from postpartum depression.

To prevent the occurrence of some of these health problems, pregnant women need to provide adequate nutrition by consuming Hb supplementary foods.

Nutrition for Increasing Hb in Pregnant Women

Eating Hb enhancing food for pregnant women and pregnant supplements is one of the best ways to prevent and overcome anemia during pregnancy. There are several types of Hb enhancing nutrients for pregnant women, namely:


Pregnant women need to consume foods that contain iron because this substance is the main raw material for the body to make hemoglobin. The recommended daily iron requirement for pregnant women is 27 mg per day. In the third trimester of pregnancy, this iron requirement increases to 40 mg per day.

Hb enhancer foods for pregnant women rich in iron include red meat, eggs, green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, tofu, peas, whole grains, and shellfish.

In order for the body to absorb iron to its full potential, pregnant women are advised to eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries. In addition to vitamin C, foods rich in vitamin A, such as carrots, mangoes, and sweet potatoes, are also able to help absorb iron.

In addition, avoid drinking coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages, because these drinks can reduce the absorption of iron by the body.

Folic acid

Apart from being good for the development of the baby's brain and spinal cord, folic acid also helps the body to produce red blood cells. Pregnant women are advised to consume around 400-600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day.

Hb enhancer foods for pregnant women rich in folic acid include meat, soybeans, peas, spinach, broccoli, oranges, beets, grapes, lemons or oranges, papaya, bananas, eggs, and avocados.

Vitamin B12

Together with folic acid, vitamin B12 serves to recycle old red blood cells that have been damaged and produce new red blood cells. If the intake of vitamin B12 is lacking, the body can experience a deficiency in Hb. Pregnant women are advised to consume 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 every day.

Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 are oranges, peas, soybeans, green vegetables, wheat, meat, spinach, barley, eggs, milk, and vitamin B12-fortified cereals.

By consuming a variety of Hb enhancing foods above, it is expected that the amount of hemoglobin in the body of pregnant women will rise. In addition, pregnant women are also advised to take pregnancy supplements that contain lots of iron and folic acid.

To monitor the adequacy of nutrition and the health conditions of pregnant women and the fetus, a pregnancy checkup needs to be done regularly to the obstetrician, especially if pregnant women have certain medical conditions.

Read Also : Benefits of vitamin D supplement during pregnancy



1. Martin, L.J. National Institute of Health (2019). U.S. National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. Hemoglobin.

2. McDermott, A. Healthline (2019). Folic Acid and Pregnancy: How Much Do You Need?

3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia.

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