Hmmph. Yesterday I was supposed to see my MW for my 39 week appointment. An hour beforehand I got a message on my answerphone telling me not to come and see her, but that I needed to go to the antenatal clinic at the hospital and see a consultant because my iron levels were still low. I already knew this, I had been prescribed iron tablets after my blood test last week (I refused the prescription the first time they were low, around 34 weeks, and put myself on Floradix and nettle tea and spinach instead, but I hadn't been very good about it recently-if I had known I was getting a follow up test I would have 'studied', but I kind of forgot). I was pretty upset really, because I hate the hospital and didn't know why the hell this merited be going there, and was paranoid they'd try to do 'something' to me, or start getting arsey about homebirth.
(just FYI, I'm in England, and the public health care system here means that MWs are basically part of the medical establishment, you don't get to choose who you see, and although homebirth is theoretically every woman's legal right, it doesn't always come without a fight. The MWs will send you to hospital at the slightest hint of a problem).
So I rushed down to the hospital, after bawling my eyes out because I felt like a failure for being low in iron (now, that's late pregnancy hormones!). I was more than a little stressed, and had to see some professor in a bow tie (maybe it's just prejudice on my part but I don't think wearing a bowtie really puts young pregnant women at ease, ya know. Talk about elevating yourself from patients...). Basically, I had been sent there because the MW was freaking out about allowing me to homebirth with low iron levels, due to the increased reach of PPH (which I'll admit I didn't know about). Now, the consultant was actually rather reasonable about it, explained the concerns but said that my levels weren't really horrendously low (9 for serum ferritin and 10.1 for haemoglobin, if that means anything to anyone) for a pregnant woman, and was willing to reassure the MW that homebirth was still viable, as long as they don't drop and I try to get them up by taking ferrous sulphate.
I really wanted to avoid ferrous sulphate because of the side effects, but he quite strongly recommended it (and kind of dismissed my concerns, of course), particularly to get my iron stores up for breastfeeding. Now, I have the prescription in my pocket and I'm kind of torn between wanting to avoid a nasty synthetic iron supplement and desperately wanting not to end up having to birth in hospital for such a seemingly silly reason. I see my MW again on Thursday,and will have another blood test. Should I just OD on the Floradix up until then, or shall I go for the FE as well? It seems that taking it would be the lesser of 2 evils, but I just don't know....what do you think, ladies?
(my energy levels have been pretty damn high for a full term pregnant woman, which makes me think I can't be hugely deficient in reality, but they'll be going on the blood results so I guess I have to placate them...)