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Very low iron count

(47 Posts)
ItCameFromOuterSpace Sun 23-Jun-13 11:51:59

I had a very low iron count at 16 weeks, so MWs put me on iron tablets X 3 a day, then at 28 weeks my iron count was even lower.

The MWs ar scaring me saying I could lose a lot of blood in labour and haemorrhage etc, so need to improv my diet as they can't give me more iron tablets.

I have thallessmia minor so they have said that's why it's made my iron count even lower, but I already eat a lot of red meat and leafy greens.

What else can I do? Am getting upset and worried. Am currently 32 weeks.

ItCameFromOuterSpace Sun 23-Jun-13 11:53:46

Should also add my blood pressure is always very low as well.

MLS1978 Sun 23-Jun-13 11:57:13

Are you taking the tablets on an empty stomach? I've heard they are absorbed better that way. Hth. smile

VinegarDrinker Sun 23-Jun-13 11:58:32

How low?

The next step would generally be an iron transfusion (injection).

Shellywelly1973 Sun 23-Jun-13 12:01:54

What about trying Spatone? Its liquid iron, safe in pregnancy &easier for your body to absorb. I used it during my last pregnancy. You can buy it in supermarkets & health food shops.

I think your midwife needs to be looking at why your obviously not absorbing the iron after all this time. You must feel exhausted.

Go back to the midwife or go back& see your GP. This really needs to be sorted sooner, rather then later.

notspringchicken Sun 23-Jun-13 12:04:22

ItCameFromOuterSpace - totally sympathise as have had similar problems pre-pregnancy. Is it your blood iron that is low (anaemia) or your levels of stored iron (ferritin) or both? I've had ferritin deficiency in the past and took Ferrograd C - which proved to be really effective. Also, Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron so make sure you get some fruit or fresh juice every day....

ItCameFromOuterSpace Sun 23-Jun-13 12:33:30

Thank you all for the advise, better than I've got fom MWs and GP to b honest.

vinegar I can't remember exactly, it was 9.4 and thn dropped to lower than that.

mls I must confess I don't always take them on an empty spinach, an a lot of days I only manage to remember to take 2.

My mother has implied I have bought this on myself as I have been selfish in having to pregnancies close together (dd is currently 19 months).

notspring it's anaemia I've been told I have.

RabbitFromAHat Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:52

It's worth seeing if there are any underlying reasons - my anaemia was linked to coeliac disease, for example.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 23-Jun-13 12:37:39

What are your levels?

If iron tablets didn't sort it out then diet won't.

Has the midwife talked about a iron transfusion? If not ask her, but sooner rather than later as the transfusion ought to be done a minimum of two weeks before giving birth for there to be any benefit.

ItCameFromOuterSpace Sun 23-Jun-13 12:54:53

viva I can't remember exactly but it was 9.4 and dropped lower than that.

Gp is suggesting I keep taking the three tablets but improve my diet also.

What does you iron count need to be before they do a transfusion? Really want to avoid this.

blondebaby111 Sun 23-Jun-13 12:54:58

When I was anaemic I got told not to take my tablets with tea or orange, hope they sort your levels soon. Xx

RabbitFromAHat Sun 23-Jun-13 12:59:27

My ferritin count is 5 and they're looking at transfusing me, although I'm not pregnant - I think if I was, they'd definitely have done so at this stage.

If your count is dropping while on supplements, that does point to it being something other than 'generalised' anaemia, I would say.

xigris Sun 23-Jun-13 13:02:34

Iron should not be taken with a urging containing milk as the calcium will affect the absorption. Vitamin C however, helps absorption so taking iron with orange juice will help. Spatone is good as is Floridix. Transfusion would be a last resort. It is unlikely that this would be considered unless your Hb drops below 8g/dl

xigris Sun 23-Jun-13 13:03:11

Urging??? That'll be anything! Damned autocorrect!!

bico Sun 23-Jun-13 13:06:33

Spatone in a glass of orange juice should help. I am severely anaemic and the only time I have got a reading approaching borderline acceptable is when I have taken 6 weeks of two satchets of Spatone a day in a glass of orange juice.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 23-Jun-13 13:22:40

Itcamefrom In my NHS Trust a transfusion would not be indicated unless HB was 80 (8.0) or under unless there were other indications. Your local Trust may differ.

Have you asked for some more information on your Thalassaemia trait? Have you seen a Consultant or have they go any advice from the Haematology department or Haematology Consultant about the implications? I am not an expert but I would ask about this at our next appointment.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 23-Jun-13 13:23:23

your next appointment!

QueLinda Sun 23-Jun-13 13:31:59

I got spatone on prescription when I was pregnant. 3 sachets a day. My iron count was 9.0 and went up to over 11.

I would ask to see a specialist as well. If your iron level doesn't respond it could be that you need more advice / treatment. It turned out I have pernicious anemia which wasn't diagnosed until I was about 36 weeks pregnant.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TrudyW Sun 23-Jun-13 16:08:23

I'd def ask about an infusion as sounds as tho would be very beneficial for u. Midwife needs to be keeping u informed of the situation so that u know exactly what's going on and any complications that can happen.

Anemia runs in my family and after a hard birth I developed it too and had to go on iron, my advice for that is do not drink tea for at least half an before or after ur iron tablet as it prevents absorption, also don't drink tea close to meals as it will lower iron absorption from the foods ur eating

TrudyW Sun 23-Jun-13 16:09:13

*half an hour

NoHank Sun 23-Jun-13 16:16:59

Another here who recommends Spatone.

I always have low blood pressure and had a low iron count at the end of my second pregnancy. I was booked in for a home birth and was told that unless I could increase it I would have to give birth in hospital. I can't remember what it was exactly but it was 7.something.

I started taking Spatone 4 times a day with orange juice and it did the trick. It's definitely worth a try

Theselittlelightsofmine Sun 23-Jun-13 17:30:08

Floradex I think it is spelt is wonderful stuff for low iron and has no side affects smile

DaveMccave Sun 23-Jun-13 17:45:01

Iron tablets are crap! Feroglobin is great. It's a high strength liquid iron syrup with vitamin b and c too. Can get it from any health food store or chemists.

SwanseaMum Sun 23-Jun-13 18:16:23

I suffer really bad anaemia with all my preg. I have to have Iv iron every time with my 1st dc it didn't matter what I took I couldn't get my iron up and they give me iv too late to make any realdifference. I had 2 units of blood but that really wasn't that big a deal.
My advice is avoid dairy at least an hour b4 taking any iron supplement and drink oj or other fruit juice high in vitamin c as it naturally helps it absorb.
Don't panic over what the mw has said its scare mongering and although there may be a higher risk of blood loss hospitals are prepared for that eventually that's one of the reasons they find out your blood group. Rest as much as possible because u will get tired quicker. Take care xx

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iron tabs dont work for me. I am receiving tranfusions yet to see if they are working!

Jollyb Sun 23-Jun-13 19:56:48

I second the poster above who said that your obstetric team should be liaising with the haematology team. I expect your low Hb levels are partly due to your thalassaemia trait and so iron tablets may not make a huge amount of difference.

Having a low iron or Hb level does make you more at risk of bleeding per se. It means that you have less in reserve and so should you lose blood during childbirth you are more likely to become unwell with it and need a transfusion.

GrasshopperNchipmunk Sun 23-Jun-13 20:09:53

I don't understand the iron counts and ferritin levels at all, it's so confusing confused

My Hb level is 13.9, which the midwife said is high (but good), but ferritin level is 11.0, which is low?!

Does anyone know what that means?

All I know is that I feel like shite, breathlessness and palpitations - but this could be severe sickness related I guess.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jollyb Sun 23-Jun-13 20:22:49

Essentially that means that you are not anaemic but do have slight iron deficiency.

I've just had a look at the British Haematology Society Guidelines and they would recommend taking oral
Iron supplements and rechecking in 6-8 weeks -bit obviously worth discussing with your midwife or doctor.

Whether this level of iron deficiency is causing your symptoms It's difficult to say - could be but could all be simply due to your pregnancy.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrasshopperNchipmunk Sun 23-Jun-13 20:44:26

Thanks for the info/ advice.

Ill have to discuss with the midwife at next appointment.

I only saw her last week to go through blood results, I asked about iron specifically as I wondered if I was abit anaemic (this is my third pregnancy all close together aswell), but she just said I had great iron levels!

weakestlink Sun 23-Jun-13 22:10:24

Your midwife should refer you to a consultant who can order iron infusions as clearly the tablets are not working for you! If you are lucky and no contraindications you can have a one off Monofer infusion which is pretty quick - the cannula being the most painful bit!
If your hospital doesn't offer Monofer or not suitable for you then you will need several infusions of Venofer (or another brand name) depending on your levels. Again the only painful bit being the cannula! And wasting a lot of time at the hospital....
I have recently had 3 infusions (am now 36 weeks) as have been on tables 3 x day for months). I did start spatone but my consultant said there was no more time to mess about due to being so far gone and having suffered a previous (serious) haemorrhage.
I don't actually feel much benefit yet but can take a couple of weeks apparently.... But at least safe to give birth!

Vocalista86 Tue 25-Jun-13 11:36:33


Spatone doesn't contain as much iron as the tablets, are you taking Ferrous Sulphate? If so there is a better but more expensive liquid iron tablet your GP can get for you (but they don't like to do this too much as it's more costly) - can't remember the name, it's in my notes at home.

I would question what will happen next with the hospital/doctors but I'm sure they have your best interests at heart and won't be putting you at risk - just talk to them about your concerns.

Hope it gets sorted.

ItCameFromOuterSpace Tue 25-Jun-13 18:26:16

Hi everyone, thank you so much for the advice. I am currently on ferrous sulphate. Seeing MW tomorrow and had a blood test today to retest iron. If its dropped again I will definitely push for answers as to what can be done about this.

Finallygotaroundtoit Tue 25-Jun-13 18:34:51

Be honest about forgetting your tablets - less of a mystery as to why your levels arent rising

xigris Tue 25-Jun-13 18:45:20

vocalista I think it might be ferrous fumerate that you're thinking of? I do think it might be a good option to ask about a haematology referral. Good luck!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

xigris Tue 25-Jun-13 19:15:00

Agree with Lunatic. Why bother saying something so unpleasant?

weakestlink Tue 25-Jun-13 19:35:08

I took the tablets for months - they went straight through me and apparently were not absorbed. Midwife and consultant said this was not unheard of so perfectly possible to have falling levels despite taking the tablets religiously!!!!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notspringchicken Tue 25-Jun-13 20:30:40

GrasshopperChipmunk it is entirely possible to have normal Hb level and low ferritin. I had the same issue before I got pregnant. As I understand it (and anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) Ferritin is the stored level of iron in your cells and can sometimes deplete for quite a while before you notice changes in your hb levels. The palpitations you are experiencing could easily be linked to low ferritin. When I had ferritin issues my levels dropped to 23 and I had horrendous palpitations - literally every day, it was exhausting and my hair started falling out. But it is reversable. I took Ferrograd C tablets (although check with your midwife / GP that these are safe during pregnancy - as I've no idea.) After 3 months my ferritin shot up to 86 and I felt 100 times better. Worth getting it checked out because you'll need your energy for the little baba when he/she comes....

Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts...

ItCameFromOuterSpace Tue 25-Jun-13 22:56:51

* finally* I do forget to take tablets sometime....but have to say in the last 2 months or so I take them properly.

Still, I guess it's largely my fault.

Finallygotaroundtoit Wed 26-Jun-13 10:53:31

Sorry op - didn't mean it come across as nasty blush

- what I meant was, if medical staff think you are taking the full amount but iron levels are still falling they need to do more investigating

They need the full picture to know what to do next.

I didn't think it's your fault
Hope they come up with something that works.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 26-Jun-13 11:04:44

Def possibly to have low ferritin and normal Hb. My ferritin is 4 and my Hb is 12 . something.

GP keeps prescribing me iron which I don't take as it bungs me up. I got some floradix months ago and took one tablet and then forgot anymore. I feel great.

ItCameFromOuterSpace Wed 26-Jun-13 20:05:02

finally that's okay I didn't take offence, I know that I should've taken my tablets more religiously to start with, but certainly last couple of months I have.

MW suggested taking them with orange juice and also if my blood test results come back even lower to,or row, then she said the doc will probably give me a liquid iron supplement which should help.

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