Pregnancy anemia rant - Mothering Forums
April 2011 > Pregnancy anemia rant
OliveJewel's Avatar OliveJewel 03:12 PM 02-01-2011

MW just left from my 31.5 week appointment.  She said the iron was borderline too low.  I was surprised because I've been taking Hema-Plex daily since around 18 weeks, and it has 85mg of iron in it.  But a couple of months ago I was having leg cramps and contractions so I decided to up my calcium.  Started taking extra calcium at the same time as my iron.  duh.gif  DOH!!!  What a waste of money!  Midwife told me that the calcium has been canceling out the iron.  ARGH!!


I felt all fragile bawling.gif when she told me that and that I'd have to get another blood test.  The weird thing is that with my last two pregnancies I didn't take *any* iron supplements until the 28-week test and it was just as low.  I guess the calcium really does cancel out the iron.  So now I have to go all aggro on the iron supplements and iron foods.  banghead.gif


Eating Trader Joe's dark chocolate with Valencia peanuts with my 6yo right now to console myself.  At least my blood pressure stays low and I haven't gotten swollen feet yet.


Looks like I'll be drinking loads of that crazy expensive Ferrodix to shoot my iron levels back up and eating lots of clams.  On the one hand, *this* is why I'd rather have a UP--I can't *stand* it when people tell me that I'm doing something wrong with my body.  On the other hand, if I *did* have a UP and didn't take care of the iron then I could possible have too much bleeding at the birth.  Whatever...  I am *so* going to hide my labor as much as possible in order to have this baby as alone as I possibly can.  I want to be one of those, "she just went in the bathroom and had the baby" people.  praying.gif

kittn's Avatar kittn 05:02 PM 02-01-2011

how very frustrating for you. I would be frustrated as well. my iron has been crazy low this entire pregnancy, i do use the floridix because it's the only thing I don't puke.


just an FYI with number 3 I was very anemic, my OBGYN then said "oh it's no big deal , even though it's lower than most moms at this point, there is nothing we can do now that will matter. Just deal with being tired." ughhhh yeah I had Sammy and almost died from massive bleeding. So definitely take care of it. it's good you aren't way low, just borderline. You can do it ((((((HUGS))))))

StarCat's Avatar StarCat 05:21 PM 02-01-2011

The floradix is worth it.  I was low and am back up to normal pregnant woman levels.  (which is still a little low but normal) I didn't even take it every day because somedays I couldn't stomach it.  I also try to be aware of what I eat when I take the prenatal.  (like, not with a bowl of cereal!) when I was really trying hard to get it up I was taking prenatal and floradix with a glass of OJ or an orange and a bagel or english muffin.  The vitamin c aids in the absorbtion. 


Of course- green leafy vegetables, too!  Good luck! You can get your iron up and quickly- it just takes a little work!

OliveJewel's Avatar OliveJewel 05:25 PM 02-01-2011

Thanks, StarCat and kittn!  stillheart.gif  cat.gifstillheart.gif

StarCat's Avatar StarCat 05:29 PM 02-01-2011

lol. meow.

gumshoegirl007's Avatar gumshoegirl007 06:42 PM 02-01-2011

Ohhh...I'm sorry to hear about your iron.  I'm thankful that you pointed out the calcium conundrum, however.  I also left my appt with my MW today at 31.5 weeks with the request to take some iron supplements.  I HATE taking iron.  But I'm also taking a calcium/magnesium supplement.  Now I'll make sure not to take those supplements at the same time!

bleumoose's Avatar bleumoose 07:50 PM 02-01-2011

Sorry about all the iron supplementation you took that was pointless :( And sorry about the low iron now, too.


I just found out I'm low too. I've got some floradix that a friend gave me but I haven't taken in weeks, so I started that up again. I looked into ordering more, and holy cow is it pricey! But it's supposed to be so effective, so I'll pay.


You can also take blackstrap molasses, that's full of good iron. My mom used to give it to us in milk (she called it chocolate milk... we didn't know any better, never having had the real thing LOL).Of course the problem with the milk is the calcium... :P

OliveJewel's Avatar OliveJewel 09:55 PM 02-01-2011

Glad to help, gumshoegirl!  Cal/mag is great stuff for warding off contractions.


bleumoose, sounds like you had good nutritional upbringing!  yummy.gif  I asked hubby to pick up some almond milk to drink with the molasses and brewer's yeast.  Unfortunately he got *fortified* rice milk.  Back to the store tomorrow!


I guess the low iron shouldn't be that big of a deal, more of a nuisance.  I'm just a perfectionist supermod.gif, so I needlessly take it personally.  Like I said before, low blood pressure, ketones fine, no puffy feet, glucose test fine...  what me worry?  My hubs said, "Pregnancy anemia is just your thing!  Own it!"  nod.gif

bleumoose's Avatar bleumoose 10:32 AM 02-02-2011

Yeah, I did innocent.gif We ate a very whole foods diet, off and on vegetarian when I was very young. It was a great foundation. I still laugh about the teasing and the horrified comments from kids about my lunches in elementary school in the late 70s/early 80s about why my bread was brown.. ewwww (and it was homemade too lol).


Is there unfortified rice milk? I'll have to look! That would be awesome.

Originally Posted by OliveJewel View Post
bleumoose, sounds like you had good nutritional upbringing!  yummy.gif  I asked hubby to pick up some almond milk to drink with the molasses and brewer's yeast.  Unfortunately he got *fortified* rice milk.  Back to the store tomorrow!

OliveJewel's Avatar OliveJewel 05:04 PM 02-02-2011

Ha ha, I remember the school lunch "shame!"  If all of your food didn't come in sealed packages, then your lunch was less desirable.  Ridiculous!  I remember one time saying how I was happy to have my favorite sandwich--avocado--and it felt like my whole class said in unison, "Ewwwww!"  Ha ha!  At least nowadays, many kids know that sugar and dyes and processed foods are not so good for their bodies--well, some kids.


Yes, almost every kind of "non" milk comes in standard and fortified... definitely good to know.


First day of diligent iron supps today... meaning on an empty stomach and all that...


Lesson 1) if you're used to eating breakfast as soon as you get up, do not wait until you get up to take your iron!  Get up two hours early, take iron, then go back to bed!  :)


I'm so used to the whole idea of "I'm pregnant--I'm gonna eat anything and everything I want whenever I want."  New game now... no calcium foods when eating iron-rich foods... fun!  wool.gif  And since I want to take the iron supplement twice a day, that means that the second iron supplement has to be taken about two hours after lunch and about two hours before dinner.  Four hours without food feels like torture!  twins.gif


Then at night I will load up on the calcium that I had been taking throughout the day.  Not sure when to fit the pre-natal in there...  after one of the meals?

StarCat's Avatar StarCat 05:49 PM 02-02-2011

i could never have taken the iron (or prenatal) on an empty stomach. It would make me so sick!  I took it with something like a bagel or toast with peanut butter and something with vit. c. on an empty stomach I would have been so nauseus!

Sihaya's Avatar Sihaya 08:50 PM 02-02-2011
Glad you figured out that Calcium blocks Iron. Another tip: Vitamin C helps you absorb Iron. I take one of my Vit C drinks (like Emergen-C) with my iron supplement and take my calcium and iron almost exactly 12 hours apart so they are as far apart as possible.
nerdymom's Avatar nerdymom 08:02 PM 02-03-2011

Ugh. I've been doing all sorts to bring my iron up all pregnancy. But to no avail. I know about the calcium and the vitamin C, and I've been eating red meat and greens for months. At this point, I'm hoping that my next blood test (next week @29wks) will be low enough they go ahead and give me the IV. They threatened last time and I put them off, now I just want to be done. I am worn out, and I know a lot of it has to do with my iron.

mamaki's Avatar mamaki 12:07 PM 02-19-2011

I'm taking Floradix too (I know, crazy exp!).  My midwife recommended the following teas as they're high in iron:







I drink Rooibos but I haven't tried the others yet.... just haven't gotten around to buying them!

IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 09:50 AM 02-21-2011

I haven't been tested in a while but think I may request another test because I'm super tired and short of breath.  I've been taking slow release feffous sulfate for about a week+ and just started on ferrous bis-glysonate last night.  I also ordered alfalfa tabs.  

ILoveMyBabyBird's Avatar ILoveMyBabyBird 03:21 PM 02-21-2011


Originally Posted by OliveJewel View Post


Lesson 1) if you're used to eating breakfast as soon as you get up, do not wait until you get up to take your iron!  Get up two hours early, take iron, then go back to bed!  :)

maybe i should try that, i am always waking up to pee and drink water...I also taking floradix by the request of my midwife. I my levels were borderline, i think 11.4, but man i have been having a hard time remembering to take it, so it has really been like every other day, and I am definitely feeling the effects. I am tired now and getting out of breath going up the stairs so i just remembered to take it, but completely forgot yesterday. It is just so much to remember, eh. It probably doesn't help that my weight balloned up this past month so i am also carrying that extra weight which may make me more out of breath, but I have got to do something. I still have 8 weeks left and I need to get so much done! I need more energy to get through the day, and I am getting frustrated with having to take breaks all the time and not just finish one task...

OliveJewel's Avatar OliveJewel 07:33 AM 02-24-2011



I am also now dealing with preventing swelling and the midwife said to up the protein...  Since I tend to be way more of a whole grains and veggies kind of person, I don't eat a lot of meat.  I have a bunch of soy protein isolate because I add it into the flour with my baked goods--it ups the protein and helps as an emulsifier, especially since I only use whole wheat.  So I started making banana smoothies with the soy protein isolate and seemed to notice a slight difference... my mood would usually improve after drinking the smoothie, and any trace of swelling is gone...


Then last night I read (thankfully) that all soy blocks the body from absorbing iron, via phytic acid!  AAAARGH!!!  So now I am going to go to the store and get whey protein. 


I am at 35 weeks today and will be going back to recheck iron in about a week.  Even though I've been diligent about taking my supplements on empty stomachs twice a day and eating braunschweiger and clams and drinking almond milk with my fortified cereals (although I just accidentally poured milk in the bowl and ate it anyway because I *abhor* wasting food) and even though this happened with my last two pregnancies and I brought it back up... and even though the iron is naturally and normally the lowest at around 28 weeks and then naturally and normally climbs back up anyway... there's always the fear that the iron won't go up and the midwife will not want to do homebirth.  Sigh... it seems that avoiding all anxiety while pregnant is nearly impossible.  Fortunately this anxiety level is only like a 2-3 out of 10... very manageable.

bleumoose's Avatar bleumoose 08:09 PM 02-24-2011

Good to know about soy! I generally avoid it, for lots of other reasons, but I hadn't heard about that one. In pregnancy I do allow myself to drink soy milk for the protein, alternating with goat milk. Goat milk is so expensive, but maybe I should increase that rather than risk the soy :-/

Kmama2's Avatar Kmama2 07:00 PM 02-28-2011
Okay... so how low is your all's iron???
I just got my tested at 34 weeks and 5 days and it was 10.5. I have never really had low iron before. We eat plenty of red meat and dary leafy vegs etc. Last pregnancy around the same time I was 10.7. Midwife said its because there is a huge increase in blood volume and the blood becomes sort of diluted so its common that its low but if its less than 10 you can't have a home birth. I hate taking suppliments of any kind. I dont even really take pre natals.. just a few childrens chewable multi vits a few times a week. And Im still nausous and puking so I dont want to take anything gross or anything thats going to constiptate me as I have enough problems already.. LOL. I didn't take any suppliments last time being 10.7 so I wonder if I need to now at 10.5. How gross is that floridix stuff?

gumshoegirl007's Avatar gumshoegirl007 07:23 PM 02-28-2011

My MW has me on Euro-Fer and the side effects are either diarrhea or constipation.  Normally I *AVOID* iron because of constipation, however, this has had the other effect.  Not so much diarrhea, but 2-3 bowel movements per day that are on the soft side.  Not too bad, not great either, but manageable.

ILoveMyBabyBird's Avatar ILoveMyBabyBird 12:59 PM 03-02-2011
Kmama2-my levels were at 11.4 and the mw told me add extra iron, I take floradix and mixed with oj it isn't bad at all. As for me I keep forgetting to take it daily and skipped 2 days and this am I had horrible shortness of breath, fast beating hr, and dizziness almost to vomitting. I took the floridix right after and have been taking it easy but I am bummed I want get stuff done. I did clean out the hall closet and am doing laundry but I wanted to more than lay on the couch today. Guess this my lesson to remember to take my supplement....
kalamos23's Avatar kalamos23 10:13 PM 03-02-2011

Anemia is so annoying. My levels were 9.6 at 29 weeks. They were 10.7 at 28 weeks with DD, so I'm actually lower than I was then BUT I didn't have as many symptoms, go figure. I've been taking the RBC builder (red blood cell) pills from Vitanica for the past week, and feel better already. It has yellowdock (which REALLY helps me for some reason, for me it works better than floradix) and some other stuff along with iron in it. Plus it is in pill form (I couldn't choke down the Floradix again!).