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Iron supplements - your tips please?

(23 Posts)
minipie Mon 17-Sep-12 20:52:35

Just been told my iron is at 10.8 and I need to take 200mg iron supplements (I am 28 weeks).

Can anyone tell me the best type of supplements to get? I have read about Spatone and Floradix - any advantages one has over the other? Do they both taste revolting sad?

Should I also get a a vit C to take at the same time? (I have been taking Pregnacare which contains both I think but clearly not enough I guess).

Any tips on avoiding the dreaded constipation... things are already a little more slow moving than I would like <ahem> so am worried iron supplements will make it even worse.

Also, the midwife asked if I had changed my diet (since iron was previously 11.6 or so) - I haven't, wonder if there is anything else that could cause a drop in iron levels?


Indith Mon 17-Sep-12 20:56:37

Spatone is fine. Add it to juice and it doesn't taste of anything and it doesn't cause constipation.

Vickles Mon 17-Sep-12 20:58:38

Not sure about vits supps, but can recommend loads of spinach and baked beans, and when you're eating it, drink it down with orange juice, as it helps with iron absorption. X

JennerOSity Mon 17-Sep-12 21:00:38

Best way to avoid the constipation side of things is to drink gallons (as much as you can) - the bowel moves more slowly in pregnancy which gives the stool longer in the gut with its moisture content being absorbed through the gut wall all the while it is in transit. so keeping everything as saturated as possible really helps.

Not everyone is badly affected by iron tablets but there are more natural ways of boosting your iron... You could try to consume more iron in your diet. So anything dark green and leafy would be a huge help, stuff like watercress (loads of iron) cabbage etc etc will not only deliver more iron to your system but help with constipation too. Fortified cereals also give lots of iron. Red meat gives you iron but doesn't help with the constipation aspects.

The baby will be taking lots of iron, so it could depend on whether your reserves weren't very high to start with, or whether you are absorbing enough. Drinking tea (or anything with tannin in it) with meals will prevent iron from being absorbed so avoid drinking tea except between meals when you are not digesting.

Nigglenaggle Mon 17-Sep-12 21:00:40

Dont take the tablets for any longer than is humanly possible. I had to take them after birth due to blood loss. Sorry for the TMI but I now know what its like to s*&^ a hedgehog. I thought I'd permanently damaged myself at one point. Next time in the same situation I would just wait for my levels to correct themselves. Different when you are pregnant though as need to make sure the little one is OK, but as soon as you are back on track stop the damn tablets!!

emsyj Mon 17-Sep-12 21:01:05

Floradix is the most boak-tastic stuff ever, truly truly disgusting - I have a stomach of steel and can eat pretty much anything, and I couldn't get it down. Not even in juice - it just made the whole thing taste <boak>. I threw mine away in the end, just couldn't stomach it.

Spatone is fine, just like a watery stuff with a slight metallic taste - but perfectly palatable in juice, and you can get an apple flavour one (not tried it but believe it's quite nice).

I had low iron the whole way through last time and so started taking supplements immediately I found out I was expecting again this time, it's making a huge difference to how 'alive' and energetic I feel this time! grin

<waves> to minipie.

PoppadomPreach Mon 17-Sep-12 21:04:36

I was prescribed iron at 28 weeks ish however the thing I thought that made the biggest impact was eating red meat with spinach. Both the red meat and spinach have iron but I think that one hels the other so the "iron extraction(!)" is more efficient.

As long as you're not a veggie, and on a tight food budget, I'd recommend the steak, chips and spinach route! (as well as supplements, just to be sure)

Mibby Mon 17-Sep-12 21:06:33

Spatones ok, dilute in orange juice for maxium absorbtion. And Boots ave it in their 3for 2 offer which makes the price ok too

Mibby Mon 17-Sep-12 21:07:50

Sorry, stupid ipad

Maximum absorbtion
Boots have it in their 3for 2

MB34 Mon 17-Sep-12 21:23:56

Spatone is much nicer than floradix! I read that you should take iron supplements on an empty stomach and avoid dairy products as this affects the absorption.

I had low iron reserves at my 20 week appointment (my actual iron level was fine) so I've started taking one spatone sachet, every other day, in a glass of orange juice as soon as I wake up, then I have a shower and get ready for work, then have my breakfast (which does contain milk). Have had my bloods done again a couple of weeks ago and they are fine now. You may need more if your actual iron levels are low.

With regards to constipation, it did affect me (but I'm prone to it anyway) and have been taking medication for it for the last 6 years. I eat a bowl of bran flakes in the morning and try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day (and of course veg whenever I can) and that seems to do the trick!

redandyellowbits Mon 17-Sep-12 21:25:03

I take spatone, 2 sachets in orange juice really helped to up my iron levels.

Tesco also have it on their 3 for 2 offer.

Much more effective than the tablets with no constipation.

minipie Mon 17-Sep-12 21:31:18

Thanks, some excellent tips here! Sounds like Spatone is the way to go, with orange juice. Really hope it perks me up as I have been a bit knackered the last couple of weeks.

Sadly I have limited choice in what I eat as I work v long hours so breakfast has to be eatable while walking to the tube (cereal bar), lunch is from pret and supper is whatever I can cook in 20 minutes...!

I adore red meat but have been eating less of it while pg because I'm not allowed it rare <sulks> Maybe I should just suck it up and eat it grey fully cooked. And will have spinach for supper lots, I promise smile.

jenner that's interesting about the baby taking it, that could explain the drop, or maybe it's the red meat thing.

grin at "shit a hedgehog" that actually made me laugh loudly - thanks for cheering me up! Mental image is not one I will forget in a hurry grin

<waves> to emsyj, hope all is well!

emsyj Mon 17-Sep-12 21:52:46

Yes, the baby takes all your iron for its own 'manufacture' and reserves - isn't it right that there is no iron in breastmilk, so babies are born with iron stores to last the first 6 months/12 months?? confused That could be total rubbish... But it is true that the baby builds itself from your iron, so it's very very common to be depleted in pregnancy. I also had a post partum haemorrhage last time so had to take iron for aaaaaages.

All good here minipie - I have been eating rare steak blush. I'm not very good at following pregnancy rules!

minipie Mon 17-Sep-12 22:19:03

ooh emsy I am envy of your rare steak... I went and got tested for toxoplasmosis as I was so sure I'd be immune and could then eat rare meat guilt-free - trouble is it came back non immune so now I would feel worse about it than if I hadn't got tested! gah!

Badgerina Mon 17-Sep-12 22:22:44

Spatone in juice.

emsyj Mon 17-Sep-12 22:23:37

Oh poo, I see what you mean - that's rubbish. Don't be too jealous though, I've had 2 rare ribeyes since being pregnant this time and neither of them was very good quality - one of them was more sinew than meat! Should have stuck with a nice fillet...

Runningblue Mon 17-Sep-12 22:32:53

Hi minipie, I've been using the spatone for a week, just taken with orange juice. As in sachet of spatone topped up with juice. I actually am feeling the difference, a lot more alive feeling! It actually tastes of nothing with the oj, and hasn't caused any constipation issues at all (the reason why I refused to take the tablets!).

Runningblue Mon 17-Sep-12 22:34:33

Dried fruit is good for iron mini, might be good for your snacks on the move?

minipie Mon 17-Sep-12 22:49:24

<salivates at thought of rare rump steak>

Running that's good, I hadn't really realised that more energy would be a benefit until starting this thread <doh>. I could definitely do with some. Been eating dried apricots a bit but can definitely step those up (will help with regularity too! wink) good idea.

Einsty Mon 17-Sep-12 23:08:40

I am 32 weeks and just been prescribed. In Australia so can't find Spatone - but some helpful advice I got was:
- look out for a supplement that gives you 80mg of elemental iron. This is what you will actually absorb
- have the pills when hungry, as this will ensure you have high stomach acid levels, and you need the acid to break down the tablets
- try to take it with as little water as possible, as this dilutes the stomach acid
- avoid taking with other vitamins that may contain calcium: this and tea or coffee affect absorption

As a result I am taking mine just before bed - midwife suggested this would help avoid worst feelings of bloating - but do make sure you have swallowed properly and sit upright for a little while after....

Am taking Ferrograd C - iron in pill form with vit c, for reference

minipie Tue 18-Sep-12 15:25:53

Thanks, good tip about taking it when hungry.

Right y'all, I am now armed with Spatone and vit C (my idea is to dissolve an effervescent vit C tablet and then tip the spatone into that ... ) let's see if I start feeling perkier.

thanks again!

BooBumpDaddyandMe Wed 03-Oct-12 22:19:32

Spatone has been great, no constipation - fact seems to have helped in that department (tmi) & tastes fine. I've felt perkier since I started taking it at about 30 weeks. :-)

minipie Thu 04-Oct-12 10:50:06

Agree! been taking Spatone and no more constipated than before. It tastes pretty metallic but I don't really mind that esp when combined with the fizzy orange vit C.

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