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What are the practical risks of low iron during pregnancy?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am generally anemic and I take an iron supplement year round, pregnant or not. This pregnancy my homebirth midwives have been quite concerned about my iron and it diescussed enough to be annoying. I don't know the actual number but I seem to recall "30%." What are the actual risks of low iron during late pregnancy and delivery. I am 37 weeks. 

post #2 of 12

If you have low iron you have a greater risk of losing too much blood. Also with low iron they may not be able to stop a large bleed. I don't think its as important in a hospital birth since they have all that "stuff" at their fingertips, but it is something to worry about during a home birth.

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlea View Post

If you have low iron you have a greater risk of losing too much blood. Also with low iron they may not be able to stop a large bleed. I don't think its as important in a hospital birth since they have all that "stuff" at their fingertips, but it is something to worry about during a home birth.

 


I hemorrhaged in a hospital, and god *damn* did recovery suck!  Pardon my French.  I was white like a ghost, I was exhausted, and I'll swear it delayed my milk coming in.  Plus, the uterine massage to stop the hemorrhage was shockingly painful.  I've heard a lot of moms talk about cuddling their babies and starting to nurse while they waited for delivery of the placenta - those moments were not in any way available to me.  There was a nurse standing there, ready to give me the baby for skin to skin (in accordance with my birth plan), but I wasn't able to take him (DH stepped in).

 

And on top of *that* blood transfusions do carry disease risks.  I didn't need one (which is to say, I missed the cutoff by a few hundred mls of blood loss, as estimated by size of splatter).  I don't know whether a transfusion would have made me feel better, or just would have made me really worried.

 

My point here is that no matter where you give birth, hemorrhage is a risk to take seriously, and preventive steps are good things.

post #4 of 12

I know that here, the midwives are not allowed to attend a home birth if your levels are below a certain point.  Of course, there are ways around that...but still.  Its because of the increased risk of hemorrhaging which, as mentioned above, is no joke! 
 

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlea View Post

If you have low iron you have a greater risk of losing too much blood. Also with low iron they may not be able to stop a large bleed. I don't think its as important in a hospital birth since they have all that "stuff" at their fingertips, but it is something to worry about during a home birth.

Low iron doesn't actually increase your risk of bleeding it just makes you less tolerant of blood loss.

Iron contributes to the production of haemoglobin which are the cells that transport oxygen to the tissues. If you have low iron you usually have a low Hb which means you are less able to transport oxygen. This can lead to the symptoms of fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath which people often experience when they have low iron levels.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post


I hemorrhaged in a hospital, and god *damn* did recovery suck!  Pardon my French.  I was white like a ghost, I was exhausted, and I'll swear it delayed my milk coming in.  Plus, the uterine massage to stop the hemorrhage was shockingly painful.  I've heard a lot of moms talk about cuddling their babies and starting to nurse while they waited for delivery of the placenta - those moments were not in any way available to me.  There was a nurse standing there, ready to give me the baby for skin to skin (in accordance with my birth plan), but I wasn't able to take him (DH stepped in).

 

And on top of *that* blood transfusions do carry disease risks.  I didn't need one (which is to say, I missed the cutoff by a few hundred mls of blood loss, as estimated by size of splatter).  I don't know whether a transfusion would have made me feel better, or just would have made me really worried.

 

My point here is that no matter where you give birth, hemorrhage is a risk to take seriously, and preventive steps are good things.

 

This was my experience exactly.  Only my milk didn't come in properly and I had to supplement and go on domperidone for a few months until my hemoglobin came back up.  So not fun at all.  (My iron levels were actually ok before birth - but the blood loss kicked me into anemia-land fast.  But this time around I'm aiming for iron levels slightly better than ok.)

post #7 of 12

Moms that are anemic also sometimes have issues clotting. Not just a risk if you hemorrhage, but if they need to do any repair work on your perineum, that could lead to complications. In was, if your hematocrit is below 10, you are risked out of a home birth.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by firespiritmelody View Post

Moms that are anemic also sometimes have issues clotting. Not just a risk if you hemorrhage, but if they need to do any repair work on your perineum, that could lead to complications. In was, if your hematocrit is below 10, you are risked out of a home birth.

That is potentially true but the issue is an increased risk of *developing* a clot not an inability to clot. The research is limited to small studies at the moment but it seems like some people who have low iron levels also have an increased risk of developing a blood clot.
post #9 of 12

Take extra iron. Feroccel iron is most absorbed and least constipating. In fact, I don't get constipated from it at all. I have read in my midwife textbook that you should take like 100mg a day if you are anemic.


Take magnesium at night to help keep you regular and because it is a good healthy thing to take. Good in combination with calcium, but make sure you don't take your calcium and iron at the same time. Something you probably already knew.

post #10 of 12

low folic acid can actually lead to anemia as well.  Your prenatal should have at least 800, but some still just have 400, which was the old recommendation. 

post #11 of 12

Wow, good info. I just ordered Floradix like 2 minutes ago for low energy and probably anemia. I will have to start taking my magnesium at night again.

post #12 of 12

There is a new iron supplement that I like even better then floradix.  It's called spatone and it's natural iron in spring water.  I never experienced even a stomach ache with it.

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