How did you increase your iron during pregnancy? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-27-2007, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering what kind of iron supps people took and did they work?

My doc says to take ferrous sulfate, but I'm concerned about constipation. I'm now taking Floradix 2t twice a day (bottle recommended dosage) and also taking Yellow Dock, and herb that is supposed to increase iron absorption. I haven't had my 28 week blood work yet, so don't know if I am actually anemic (doc says she typically doesn't test iron until then). But I have been anemic in past so sort of assume I will be now if I don't supp. Only been doing supps for a week or so and am 22 weeks pregnant.

Thanks for input on what you did, and whether it brought your blood levels up (do they actually check again to see)?

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Old 03-28-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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I took iron in the form of an amino acid - chelate I believe it is called. I wasn't rechecked, but I am pretty sure that my levels rose, as I started having more energy and feeling better almost immediately. I have heard that floradix is very good, too - my mw recommends that.

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Old 03-28-2007, 06:32 AM
 
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I've always been anemic during pregnancy, but this time my iron levels are the highest ever, and the only thing different that I'm doing? Floradix. It's working wonders for me!

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Old 03-28-2007, 08:58 AM
 
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I was taking a blackstrap molasses that had 70%rda of iron and my levels were fine, but then I couldn't find it again. (only ones with 40%). So I added the Ferrous Fumarate. I didn't have constipation, but extreme lethargy. Extreme- as in unable to lift my head off the table at breakfast, etc. It was really scary. When I finally realized what it might be, I stopped and felt better about 4-5 days later. My levels also dropped while I was taking it. Now I am taking Floradix- I have my levels checked again in 2 weeks.

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Old 03-28-2007, 09:17 AM
 
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Oooo, forgot to mention that I do add blackstrap molasses to everything that I can that won't be affected by its flavor. I love it in my oatmeal.

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Old 03-28-2007, 09:49 AM
 
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cook with cast iron

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Old 03-28-2007, 10:03 AM
 
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I had low-ish iron levels at the end of both pregnancies (at or below 10, if that means anything).

I didn't take supplements either time, but I did -

- cook at all times in cast iron frypans
- eat at least 2 cups of rich green veggies per day
- did not eat dairy with iron rich foods
- drank at least one litre (4 cups??) of an iron rich herbal tea formula every day (I can find the recipe if anyone wants)
- took Floradix daily

I only just made it 'over the line'.

I ate plenty of red meat, too, but I reckon it was the vegetable sources of iron that made the most difference.

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Old 03-28-2007, 10:11 AM
 
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Sorry, just realising that this thread is in the expecting twins forum.

I only had singleton pregnancies, so my advice may be fairly useless. I'm not inexperienced with twin pregnancies, it's just that I haven't experienced it personally.

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Old 03-28-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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I use cast iron and eat red meat at least every other day. I try to sneak in dark green veggies. It wasn't enough. I figured it wouldn't be so I was also taking a multivitamen. Still not enough

I had such a horrid weekend at work. I got so weak I couldn't get off the couch and missed my 3rd day. Turned out it was my iron. Now I am on Repliva 21/7. It contains iron (of course), two different sources of Vit C, Folic acid, and VitB12.

After a few days on it, this past weekend at work was a HUGE improvement. I am feeling generally better in so many areas now.
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:11 AM
 
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Well, I'm getting down to the line as far as time until birth, and my hgb levels are slowly rising, so I may be going a little overboard on the supplements, but I REALLY want to get my levels up before the babies come!

Here's what I've been doing:
- liquid chlorophyll (started at beginning of pregnancy)
- floradix (started in Feb when I first tested low hgb)
- slow fe iron (started in March, when I had only gone from a 9 to a 9.3 since February)
- beet powder (started in March also, taken as a couple of glasses of beet juice a day)

I'm also eating a bowl of Total cereal every morning (100% non preggo RDA iron in one serving), taking a protein shake 2x a day that has good iron content, lots of raisins/papaya, and cooking in cast iron when possible. Anyway, it's definitely helped with my energy levels, and we'll see soon enough how it's affecting my iron levels!

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Old 03-28-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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My midwife friend told me that with twin pregnancies, the biggest drop in iron happens during weeks 20 - 28. At 20 weeks, my iron was a 10.2. Highest ever for me, BUT knowing that it's going to drop (as my blood levels increase), I am adding much more. Curious to see what it'll be at 28 weeks... think I"ll go to a local clinic to find out.

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Old 03-28-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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I had pretty significant anemia. My midwife had me on 500mg of hem-iron made by great earth vitamins each day. And 5 packets of emergen-c every day to aid absorption. It didn't constipate me... it actually softened my stool. She said not to take chlophyl because it thickens the blood which could hinder it's ability to circulate through the placentas. It seemed like she was constntly checking my iron levels and they did go up into a safe range.

I never ate red meat.

I would have your levels checked as anemia, from what I has read, can be associated w/ preterm labor.
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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No idea, I think I'm just lucky. Last time it was tested it was 12.4, lab tech said that was fabulous.

Here's what I've been doing:
* Red meat several times a week
* Spinach salad or in eggs. I get a bag every other week, eat it daily for a week.
* Fiber One cereal and on alternate days prunes (for erm, "other" issues)
* Prenatal vit.
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:58 AM
 
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Hi, Anamom:

Congrats on your pregnancy!

I had big problems with iron supplements. I think I tried about 4 different types, but towards the end everything made me nauseated (it was a rocky pregnancy from about week 15 on). Years ago, I was anemic after an accident and couldn't take iron then, even when I wasn't pregnant, so I guess I'm pretty intolerant. Near the end of my twin pregnancy, I had to have what was supposed to be minor surgery and ended up bleeding a whole lot more than anyone could have even imagined. Immediately after I delivered by urgent c-section, by hemoglobin was 7.5 and I felt horrid. The one thing I wish I had discovered during my pregnancy was iron-fortified cereal, as mentioned by Kewpie. I've never been a cereal eater, but I started eating Vanilla Mini Wheats post-delivery. It has a ton of iron and doesn't upset my stomach (I still can't take iron supps, even with food). Since then, I've realized that many cereals are fortified with iron.

My OB/Gyn rechecked my Hb after birth because I had gone so low and still looked anemic. It took several months to get it back up to normal (my twins are 6 months old).

Being that anemic while recovering from a section and taking care of premie twins was...well, to be honest, I don't really remember all that clearly. I was pretty much in a fog for several weeks. But it couldn't have been good.

I hope your babies are doing great and everything is well with you.
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies and sharing what you did/are doing. I can't really do cereal because I have gestational diabetes (something I never expected). Adding Spinach or a deep green would be a good idea, though, as I'm not really doing that with any consistency. I'll ask Doc if she'll do an early test at next appointment. It sounds like it would really suck to have anemia in the early weeks with newborns, not to mention just dealing with it in pregnancy. Chrisstiana, so glad your anemia has improved!
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:22 AM
 
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I often have to be very careful in what supplements I take because of digestive system reaction.

But my body found the SlowFe very easy, it improved my levels a great deal, it's a small pill and easy to take even if you have a gag reflext that launches pills across the room, and I wasn't constipated on it. If you are taking a prenatal, you might want to double check what kind of iron compound is in it, and then switch to one that has another if you get contipated. I had a horrible reaction to my prenatal vitamin, and switched over to taking a double dose of a children's chewable w/o iron and the Slow Fe plus getting more dietary iron like others have mentioned.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:33 AM
 
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On the subject of iron, does anyone know the ranges of anemic, ok, good, great? I googled, but their levels were in the hundreds. Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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I've been taking Slow FE since around 18 weeks or so and haven't had too many problems. The first few days that I took it I was a little constipated, but since then it's been ok. And I managed to have a ton of energy through my second trimester, but now I'm slowly down again due to sheer volume of babies in me!
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Old 03-29-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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From Myle's Textbook for Midwives:

Paraphrasing: "Anemia in pregnancy has been defined as a hemoglobin of less than 11 in the 1st and 3rd trimesters and less than 10.5 in the 2nd trimester."

The reason why trimesters are different is because there is a natural dip that happens between 20 and 30 weeks.

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Old 03-30-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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Just thought I'd mention that Ferrous Gluconate is supposed to be easier on your stomach than the Ferrous Sulfate. It's not as easy to find, but ask your pharmacist if you decide to stay on the supplements. I have a history of anemia as well and find the Gluconate more tolerable. Drink tons of water and get plenty of fiber!
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiemum View Post

- cook at all times in cast iron frypans
- eat at least 2 cups of rich green veggies per day
- did not eat dairy with iron rich foods
- drank at least one litre (4 cups??) of an iron rich herbal tea formula every day (I can find the recipe if anyone wants)
- took Floradix daily
:

I am pregnant with twins and doing the same as aussiemum, except for the Floradix--I'm taking spirulina/chorophyll added instead. I don't know if I've been lucky, if my pre-pregnancy diet made any difference (I LOVE GREENS) or if this 'recipe' is doing the trick, but I've still got good iron levels at nearly 31 wks. I do take a prenatal (Rainbow Light One a day) but just as a precaution because I believe the nutrition most accessible to our bodies comes from real food.

PP's suggestion of molasses is good too--blackstrap, the real stuff.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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I took Spirulina daily during my twin pregnancy. I bought the tablets and took three 2x day. It was recommended by a mw. I never took an iron supplement, and my hemoglobin was 12.6 at 32 weeks. It tastes and smells awful, but I sincerely think it was one of the best (and easiest) things I did while I was pregnant to have big, healthy babies.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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Spirulina apparently also helps keep body tissues hydrated and pliant. A certified nurse midwife who occasionally takes referrals from our direct midwife said she was convinced of this when she saw how well the women's bodies handled birth with easier stretching and fewer tears.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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I love floradix, and I have also never had problems with just regular iron supplements. My OB insisted, though, that I take a prescription dose of folate alomg with it to help with the body's absorption of it. It helped, it really did.
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