Pregnancy Diet II: Folic Acid essentials

This article is the second in the FabMoms series on Pregnancy Diet & Nutrition, dedicated to anaemia among pregnant mothers in India. Here we discuss the next most common cause of anaemia among Indian pregnant women after Iron deficiency alone, ie in combination with folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency.

As per WHO, more than half of pregnant mothers population in India, is suffering from ANAEMIA. Iron deficiency usually is the most common cause of being anaemic. However there could be some surprising elements specially when we look at Pregnancy diet and nutrition.



Folic acid deficiency Anaemia

Folic acid is a B complex vitamin which is also needed for making red blood cells which in turn synthesize haemoglobin. Being a B-complex vitamin, it does not get stored in the body and needs to be consumed regularly for having sufficient levels in blood.

As discussed in part 1 of this series, the blood volume in a pregnant mother’s body almost doubles and hence among other things, the requirement of folic acid also increases drastically. Resultantly, foods rich in folic acid needs to be consumed. Deficiency of this vitamin may lead to severe birth defects like abnormality in neural tube formation among foetus and low birth weight.

Actually the importance of this vitamin is even more during pre-conception phase because neural tubes are formed at a very early phase of pregnancy and generally by that time mothers are not even aware of their pregnancy. So sufficient intake of folic acid regularly is important from the time a woman plans to conceive to prevent birth defects and abnormalities in the baby.

Treatment and prevention of anaemia

It is mandatory to have iron and folic acid supplements along with vitamin B12 (specially for vegetarians) from the start of the pregnancy till delivery. Along with supplements, it is recommended to eat diet rich in iron and folic acid to improve haemoglobin level and prevent anaemia.

Foods rich in iron are:pregnancy_and_nutrition

Lean meat and fish
Green leafy vegetables (Spinach/lettuce/Kale/Brocolli)
Nuts and seeds (Pumpkin seeds/sesame seeds)
Pulses & legumes
Cereals like whole grains and rice flakes (Poha)

To enhance iron absorption, include foods rich in vitamin C like

Citrus fruits like Orange, sweet lime, kiwi, berries
Vegetables like bell peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, lemon

Food rich in folic acid


Green leafy vegetables
Dried beans


You could contact us right away by clicking here (or call 992099 1286) for a consultation with a prenatal diet expert to ensure you are eating the right mix of nutrients in the correct quantity and that – it is getting absorbed too.

Related reading :

Pregnancy Diet 1: Anaemia despite having Iron?

Nutrition for Healthy Pregnancy


Contributed by Shilpi Agarwal, a leading Nutritionist & dietitian with an extensive experience in maternal nutrition & physiology. She loves to share nuggets from her varied personal & corporate experience in India and overseas with pregnant and lactating mothers.

2 thoughts on “Pregnancy Diet II: Folic Acid essentials

  1. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Nutrition during Pregnancy: Do’s and Don’ts – FabMoms : Prenatal Class, Birthing & Pregnancy exercise classes in Navi Mumbai, Thane & Mulund Mumbai

  2. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Planning pregnancy? What you should be eating – FabMoms : Prenatal Class, Birthing & Pregnancy exercise classes in Navi Mumbai, Thane & Mulund Mumbai

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