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34 weeks: slightly anaemic but don't want to take iron tablets

(19 Posts)
morningpaper Fri 19-Aug-05 14:14:26

I am 34 weeks and a blood count showed I am slightly anaemic (11.1 but has been declining throughout pregnancy).

I eat a very healthy diet and include red meat twice a week.

I don't really want to take iron tablets because they make me CONSTIPATED and I suffer quite badly from anal fissures from my last fun experience of childbirth 3 years ago.

Any advice? Or should I just go with the tablets?

NotQuiteCockney Fri 19-Aug-05 14:19:47

Lots of other food helps with iron. Pate is good (if you're not stressed about listeria). Legumes (beans of any sort, lentils too). Brocolli. Dried fruit.

Raw brocolli dipped in hummous is a good one.

I think you're meant to have orange juice with iron foods? Something about vitamin C helping the uptake? Someone else with a clearer view will be along no doubt.

At any rate, do avoid the pills if you can. I've heard of people having better experience with some sort of liquid supplement, but I think you still get constipated.

Do try to get your blood count up somehow, it helps with energy post-birth, and reduces your risk of a transfusion if anything goes wrong.

Chuffed Fri 19-Aug-05 14:23:52

One of my midwives (my iron is the same) said after breakfast a glass of OJ and a handful of dried apricots every day and you'll see it improve.
It seemed to work. Need to keep remembering.

morningpaper Fri 19-Aug-05 14:25:03

Thanks - dried fruit should help keep me regular too...!

I will get some OJ and a stash of apricots today.

RedZuleika Fri 19-Aug-05 14:26:15

My doctor said my last bloods showed me to be a bit anaemic (Hb of 11, it was 14.3 on booking). When I discussed this with the midwife, she said this was perfectly normal haemodilution. The best explanation of which I can find is from the Radical Midwives website:

"It's like pouring more water into a glass of ribena - the amount of ribena stays the same! But the proportional amount of red blood cells in any sample that they might take for a blood test goes down - hence Hb results often go down. In a pregnant woman the 'diluted' blood flows more easily through the placenta, and of course you can lose more of it afterwards without problems, because it's been diluted. Then when you've given birth you wee and wee like crazy, the extra plasma disappears, and gradually the blood goes back to its normal non-pregnant state.

But lots of people tend to forget this, and try and make Hb stay the same throughout pregnancy - like a man's!! Philip Steer did a good piece of research on this some 10 years ago, which showed actually that women with lower Hbs (9 - 10) at the end of pregnancy had better outcomes than those with high Hbs. More lovely flow through that placenta!

Of course some women occasionally get anaemic in pregnancy, but this is not the same as normal, natural haemodilution. There are other blood tests rather than a simply Hb that tests for anaemia - mean blood cell volume (MCV) for example. Any woman who is being muttered at about having a low Hb should ask for her MCV to be taken."

RedZuleika Fri 19-Aug-05 14:27:14

I should point out that I don't think I could fit any more iron into my diet anyway - short of slicing black pudding onto my morning bran flakes...

mancmum Fri 19-Aug-05 14:35:49

don't use tablets -- try Spatone which is a liquid that you pour into OJ -- tastes a bit 'rusty' on its own == I found it very good and non constipating...

dropinthe Fri 19-Aug-05 14:37:10

Ive just started that too-see underactive thyroid thread-there is a link to it in there! Buy in bulk if you are going to buy!

dropinthe Fri 19-Aug-05 14:37:11

Ive just started that too-see underactive thyroid thread-there is a link to it in there! Buy in bulk if you are going to buy!

tortoiseshell Fri 19-Aug-05 14:37:19

Don't stress about it - sounds fine - if you want to increase it have leafy green veg (esp spinach), but your iron levels are SUPPOSED to go down during pregnancy I think as it can help with the birth...I'll see if I can find something

tortoiseshell Fri 19-Aug-05 14:43:21

thread here
another one here
another kind of relevant one here

morningpaper Fri 19-Aug-05 15:06:15

Thanks Tortoiseshell!

I am deffo going to try and eat more of the right foods.

To be honest I'm not even really feeling particularly tired which I think is bloody good for 34 weeks so I don't think I really have a problem at the moment...

jessicaandbumpsmummy Fri 19-Aug-05 15:08:24

MP - Get yourself to the Chemist for SPATONE... its a liquid thing that you put in fruit juice and its great. Our MW's dont give out iron tablets, they reccomend spatone instead. My iron level is decreasing too - and is now at 9.9.

You will probably only need one sachet a day, im on 2!

highlander Fri 19-Aug-05 15:09:59

Firstly, NICE do not recommend iron supplementation in pregnancy unless there is a proven clinical anaemia. In other words, Hb<10.5 plus a dropping MCV (<85 I think).

Secondly, there is evidence from a small study (BMJ, can't remember the volume) that for women with high Hb at birth (>12), the babies do less well.

Because your boold volume increases during pregnancy, your Hb drops giving an apparent anaemia. If your MCV (size of your red cells) stays roughly the same throughout pregnancy then ther is no problem.

I had exactly this battle with my OB. She was a doctor FFS, and I had to explain it to her. She replied, 'I recommend iron to all my ladies, just in case......' Jeez.........

Oops, have just read RedZuleika's post, which explains it sooooooooo much better than me. Sorry

I ate red meat twice a week and my Hb stayed at a perky 10.5. Dropped to 9.5 the day after my CS and I felt tip top. Ddin't bother having it re-checked.

Pruni Fri 19-Aug-05 15:11:03

Message withdrawn

highlander Fri 19-Aug-05 15:11:14

does Spatone taste like Irn Bru then?!

Probably only a joke the scottish mums will understand

jessicaandbumpsmummy Fri 19-Aug-05 15:12:52

i wish spatone tasted like irn bru!!!

its revolting hence adding it to OJ - cant taste it then!

fruitful Fri 19-Aug-05 15:14:53

Spatone, spatone, spatone... Its on 3 for 2 at boots. 2 sachets a day keeps the grumpy midwife at bay.

morningpaper Fri 19-Aug-05 15:17:01

highlander, that's excellent, I have just been reading the NICE Guidelines and I'm feeling v. reassured! Thanks for that.

They say it can be CONSIDERED if the iron level is less than 10.5 at 28 weeks, so a level of 11.1 at 34 weeks doesn't seem at all worrying to me.


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