Experiencing Low Iron During Pregnancy? These Recipes Will Help

May 29, 2023

Iron deficiency—low red blood cell count—is a condition that many pregnant women struggle with. The addition of a fetus means that the body needs more iron to keep both mama and the growing baby healthy. “During pregnancy, an individual’s blood volume grows steadily. Most people have a 45% increase by the third trimester. The increased blood volume means a person needs more iron. If they do not consume enough, they may become deficient,” advises Medical News Today. Luckily, there are iron-rich pregnancy recipes to help women meet this iron demand.

What Happens If You Have Low Iron During Pregnancy?

Due to a pregnant woman’s blood volume increasing, the demand for iron to make more hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body) increases, too. 

In the absence of an increase in iron levels during pregnancy, the development of iron deficiency anemia can raise the likelihood of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and postpartum depression. The baby may also be at risk of iron deficiency anemia, which can affect their growth and development.

Low Iron During Pregnancy Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency in pregnant women include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fainting
  • Tiredness
  • Palpitations
  • Trouble sleeping

Low Iron In Pregnancy Treatment

To prevent iron deficiency anemia, pregnant women can eat a diet rich in iron-containing foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, beans, and dark, leafy greens. Prenatal iron supplements can also be taken, but it’s important to consult your doctor beforehand.  

Here are three high-iron recipes for pregnancy to put in your meal rotation: 

Bangin’ Baked Halibut with Chimichurri Sauce

Halibut is an amazing protein source for your pregnancy meal plan as it’s rich in iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, all such important nutrients for the health of both mother and baby. 

This super simple recipe also calls for a herby sauce packed with cilantro and parsley, with both adding iron to this meal.

Make this into a full meal by preparing this alongside the Everything But The Kitchen Sink Crunchy Veggie Slaw, a vitamin C-rich salad that’s refreshing, hydrating, and perfect for the warmer seasons. 

Get the full recipe here

Tip: Adding vitamin C-rich foods to iron-rich foods optimizes absorption. 

Let’s GO White Bean, Chicken, and Vegetable Soup

Looking for something comforting, filling, and energy-boosting? This is the soup for you. 

This recipe gets its iron-rich label due to the parsley, chicken, potatoes, and navy beans

Another reason to make this recipe is the vitamin B6 content from the chicken and potatoes. “Vitamin B6 is crucial for the healthy function of the brain and nervous system and thus plays a critical role in the development of your baby. Specifically, it’s necessary for the healthy production of serotonin and norepinephrine, key neurotransmitters,” explains the American Pregnancy Association

Get the full recipe here

Tip: This recipe is freezer-friendly, so perfect for batch cooking. Also, keep some on hand in your freezer as this soup is labor-inducing. For more labor-inducing foods, download our free guide.

Foods That Induce Labor

A list of not-just-spicy-foods that induce labor

Get the Guide

If you’re ready to pop your baby out, sink your teeth into this list of labor-inducing foods. Warning: side effects include giving birth!

A peek inside:

  • Vinegar
  • Herbs 
  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables 
  • Tea

A Well-Rounded Korean BBQ Bowl

There are so many reasons to include beef in your pregnancy diet: iron, magnesium, protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, and more essential nutrients are found in this food. And, this Korean BBQ Bowl is the perfect way to eat it!

This recipe calls for brown rice which increases fiber intake, and you get your veggie fix with carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, and cucumbers

Kimchi is the ideal garnish for this meal not only for the taste, but also for its benefits, “The immune system is suppressed slightly during pregnancy to protect the fetus, but the body does its best balancing act to keep the parent protected against infection. The ‘good’ bacteria in fermented foods, like kimchi, actually give our immunity a helpful boost,” explains Very Well Family

Get the full recipe here

Cacao, Orange Zest, and Cardamom Energy Truffles

Chia seeds are high in iron and an incredible superfood, and these truffles are a delicious way to incorporate them into your diet. 

This truffle recipe requires dates, chocolate, almonds, and cacao to be mixed with the chia seeds. Plus, the vitamin C in the orange zest will help increase iron absorption.  

These truffles store well in the fridge for up to two weeks, so make a big batch so that you always have some on hand for when you need an energy boost

Get the full recipe here

A big part of pregnancy health – for both mamas and babies – begins on the plate. Make sure that your pregnancy meal plan includes iron-rich foods, and try the recipes above to help meet your daily iron requirements.

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Kendra Aronson

Hi Mama, I’m Kendra!

Founder of Pregnant and Hungry, and a mama on a mission to provide other mamas with delicious, nutritious, and easy recipes for pregnancy and motherhood. If that’s what you’re craving, make sure to dig into the blog or learn more about the Pregnant and Hungry subscription.
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Our recipes are developed under the caring guidance of an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) in addition to a Licensed Midwife in good standing with the California Medical Board who’s also a Certified Professional Midwife as granted by the North American Registry of Midwives and a professional Lactation Consultant as certified by the IBCLC (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners). While we refer to trusted sources from peer-reviewed medical journals to information from highly regarded worldwide health institutions, this website is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your personal midwife, doctor, or nutritionist with health questions related to your pregnancy and postpartum journey.

I'm so happy you're here, Mama!


Before getting pregnant with my daughter, I spent a ton of time scouring the internet for easy, pregnancy-safe recipes and nutrition advice tailored to my taste preferences, unique dietary needs, and anticipated ailments—only to realize that no such resource existed. I knew I wasn’t the only one who could benefit from this information, so I set out to create this site from scratch for all of us mamas-to-be!

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