Really low iron during pregnancy - Mothering Forums
I'm Pregnant > Really low iron during pregnancy
CarolBe's Avatar CarolBe 04:00 PM 10-11-2008
Hi there,
Has anyone here ever had REALLY low iron levels during pregnancy and gone on to have a full term, healthy baby and delivery? The reason I ask is that my iron (not my hemoglobin, I'm not aniemic) is at 16, I'm told for an adult woman it should be no lower than 60 or 65. I was also told that between 12 and 30 means you have no iron stores and that if I don't get it back up that it could mean premature labor, low birth weight baby and hemorage after birth. Just wondering if there's anyone else out there who's had this? BTW, this is baby #4, I'm still bfing our last dd, she's 25 months and to my knowledge, I've always had low iron to one degree or another.
Thanks for your time,

Amber Lion's Avatar Amber Lion 04:23 PM 10-11-2008
I'm dealing with low iron/anemia with this pg. No matter what I'm trying in terms of supplements they aren't working. Although my hematocrit is not as low as yours (29), I've not had preterm labor and baby is right on for growth (haven't given birth yet, so no info on the hemorrhage factor). Also, I'm having absolutely NO symptoms of such low hemoglobin/hematocrit numbers. We're thinking this is just normal for me, though I don't have non-pg baselines to compare and confirm that.

What are your care providers suggesting to up your #s? That's about all you can do is try and get them up.
bluebirdiemama 04:36 PM 10-11-2008
I have semi low iron now but it was really low in the spring before my ds weaned himself. I was told to take Floradix, and it worked amazingly. Its kind of expensive but you seriously feel the difference, almost immediately.
AmieV's Avatar AmieV 05:15 PM 10-11-2008
Is the 16 number a serum iron level test? Did you have other tests run to determine that your iron stores are that low? From the bit of googling I did the serum iron number fluctuates and doesn't mean much in and of itself...
CarolBe's Avatar CarolBe 05:30 PM 10-11-2008
I'm using Floridix now along with a natural prenatal vitamin. They did two types of iron checks. My hemoglobin was fine, but they said the other number was WAY to low. It was 18 in March before I got pg, 14 in June when I got pg and then in Aug it was at 16. I'm pretty sure that I've been iron defficiant most of my life, or at least since hitting puberty, my gp said that was normal, but that I should get it up for the baby's safety. I can't remember what the name of the iron test that they ran was, but they did a CBC with it and a couple of others and everything was fine except for this.
AmieV's Avatar AmieV 06:51 PM 10-11-2008
Well, my webMD degree doesn't leave much advice for you

But one of my super good friends was very, very anemic during pregnancy and iron levels run low chronically, and is also vegetarian. The only way she got her iron levels up before her homebirth was to eat meat the last little while. Not sure if you're vegetarian or not or if that has anything to do with it, but thought I'd throw that out there. she went back to being vegetarian right after, and I know lots of people would take issue with it, but she had hemmorrhaged with her prior births and her midwife really advised her to get the levels up in order to have a safe homebirth. she'd already tried everything else.
landsmomma's Avatar landsmomma 12:38 AM 10-26-2008
This is my 4th pg and I am extremly tired all the time. It takes all my energy to just play with my 2-yr old son. If I lay down I cannot get back up. I have a headache everyday and cannot get enough to drink. Now, I have always had low iron and my body has dealt with it. I have never had this problem before in any other pregnancy it seems to be just this one. Is it normal for this to happen?
AKMamaof2's Avatar AKMamaof2 02:17 AM 10-26-2008
There are some great natural iron choices. The iron in pills is not easily digested hence the constipation. The alternative is natural sources. Easier to digest and no constipation.Chlorophyll is the best!! so you can get that in fresh wheat grass juice, spirulina powder or tablets, seaweed, or you can buy jarred chlorophyll. It is not real great tasting but does wonders. You may have anemia due folic acid or B12 deficiency. Folic acid is found in dark green leafy veggies, spirulina, molasses, root veg (must eat skin), beans, and milk. B12 is a big problem for vegetarian diet but b12 is found in Whole grains (fresh ground is best), yogurt(real stuff Organic), hard cheese, miso, tempeh, nutritional yeast, meat, some nuts, seeds, and veggies.

Just to add some more to confuse those pregnant tired brains. Take or eat a diet high in Vit C it aid in the absorption on iron. Do not eat lots of dairy with foods high in iron as it decreases the absorption. avoid caffeine and phosphates (mostly found in soda). If you go with a supplement for iron look for one that is chelated iron (bonded to another mineral) and is ferrous gluconate, ferrous furmerate, or ferrous lactate. However IMO fresh food or herbs is the best source for all nutrition.

Sorry this was long but I hope this might help some of you ladies.
nighten's Avatar nighten 02:36 AM 10-26-2008
Just a note from personal experience -- if one supplement type isn't working, SWITCH TO SOMETHING ELSE.

I tried several things last pg and none worked (including Floradix among other things). I finally found this form of Chelated Iron Bisglycinate and it worked, and it didn't contribute to constipation:

I've been very proactive this pregnancy and started taking it around 20 weeks, because my hemoglobin had already started to drop.

I get the supplement at the local health food store, and that's the brand that has worked for me. It may or may not work for you, but whatever you do, please do something and stay on top of having your levels checked so you know when a supplement is working. Not only is it unhealthy for you but it's unhealthy for your babe in utero for you to remain anemic.

Last pregnancy I was severely anemic, and it took a while to get my levels back up (like two months). As a result, the baby's iron stores ran out early. She was anemic by her 12 month WBV (despite having had no symptoms -- we were shocked and felt terrible). Then we had to deal with supplementing and it was a nightmare honestly. She was totally receptive about trying new foods at 12 months. After just a few weeks of giving her the nasty iron supplement the ped bullied us into using, she lost her willingness to try new foods. I don't blame her.

But she's over 2-1/2 now and still very distrustful of new foods, and I'm still paranoid about her iron levels. We ended up going with an herbal supplement for her (Tri-Iron from Trilight herbs) after the other iron gunk wasn't working, and the Tri-Iron worked great. But I was unable to take it myself this pregnancy because I had a condition requiring me to avoid stimulating herbs. So I needed something else more straight forward. The Gentle Iron has totally done the trick. I take it every morning on an empty stomach with a big glass of OJ.

And we do a lot of cooking in cast iron. We focus on Vitamin C rich food/drink with our iron supplement, and avoiding calcium (which as PP pointed out, inhibits iron absorption).

But the bottom line is I wish I'd known to take it far more seriously when I was pregnant last time. I also would've continued to take iron supplements after she was born, because while it is only in trace amounts, recent studies indicate some iron can get through your breastmilk (and this is what our NEW ped -- who's wonderful -- told us too). It doesn't hurt, that's for sure.

So please do continue to take it seriously. If a supplement form you're trying is not working, get something else pronto. Don't delay. And don't rely on diet alone at this stage. Once your levels are back up, then diet is the ideal way to maintain iron levels, but once they've dropped so dramatically, you really need to supplement.

Good luck! I hope things improve for you very quickly!
JoyofBirth's Avatar JoyofBirth 03:15 AM 10-26-2008
I'm currently battling this myself. Floridix is a great supplement, if you can afford it. I cannot. I am taking some iron pills my midwives prescribed. But they're not doing much. I actually have to go in 3 times a week and get an iron shot. I'm also B12 deficient, but not so much that they give me a shot for that yet. I'm just trying to pump up my diet as much as possible. I am seriously affected by my low iron-light-headed dizzy short of breath exhaustion. It's tough. I'm almost 34 weeks, so pre-term labor is not a huge concern. I'll update you when I give birth and let you know how it worked out. Sorry this isn't very helpful.