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Low on iron - bad for me or baby?

(28 Posts)
izzywizzyisbizzy Tue 16-Oct-12 22:38:07

I HATE HATE HATE HATE iron tablets.

I took one and remembered how much - so I don't want to take them, but I don't want to do that if it is potentially harmful to the baby.


ThreeWheelsGood Tue 16-Oct-12 22:46:49

It's harmful for you - you need good iron reserves for birth/post birth to deal with blood loss, plus during pregnancy you'll feel rotten and tired if anaemic. Try liquid iron too/instead, no side effects, or ask midwife for advice if you hate what's been prescribed.

izzywizzyisbizzy Tue 16-Oct-12 22:49:22

I'm seeing midwife in a week - I'm trying to eat more greens - can it wait til then?

Graciescotland Tue 16-Oct-12 22:50:35

I think it's more harmful for you than for baby (baby steals all your iron) totally agree with other poster about getting floradix (liquid iron supplement) or spatone (welsh water with loads of iron). So much easier to take, I hated iron tablets too.

mumnosbest Tue 16-Oct-12 22:54:29

me too but hated being aneamic even more. it effects you ffirst as baby takes your iron but if you're tired and unwell that's bound to affect baby.

aggadoo Tue 16-Oct-12 22:54:44

Yes it can: it took me 6 weeks to get the iron tablets I needed (and wanted,I don't mind taking them) as the usual midwife was off and some crappy stand in told me to eat more greens and apricots until regular midwife was back. And yes ThreeWheels is right, it affects you (baby nicks all your iron so he/she is fine)

izzywizzyisbizzy Tue 16-Oct-12 23:19:09

I'll buy some of the liquids recommended - first I knew was a call from doctors telling me I had a prescription after a blood test.

I can't stand them - am v tired but then I am 40 and on my 4th grin

mummy2benji Wed 17-Oct-12 08:06:22

The liquid iron sachets are good for trying to prevent low iron, but are no good for treating it once your iron stores are already low - spatone for eg contains less than 1/6th of the treatment dose of iron needed to raise your ferritin store. So unfortunately when your iron store is low, you do really need the tablets (I'm a GP). Which tablet have you had? Ferrous sulphate is quite constipating but you might find taking ferrous fumarate twice a day gives you fewer adverse effects. I've had problems with taking iron before - I suffer with low iron at the best of times, even when not pregnant - but am currenty tolerating ferrous fumarate twice daily absolutely fine. I've been really constipated this pregnancy too so was worried about taking iron but it hasn't made it any worse and I'm managing with some All Bran in the morning and a Fybogel sachet at night. One thing I really wouldn't recommend is just leaving it untreated - they missed my low iron in my last pregnancy as I didn't have a blood test after 20 weeks due to moving area, and the first I knew about it was the day after giving birth when I was white and a sheet and kept fainting. I was severely anaemic despite only having a normal blood loss with the delivery but it caused me all sorts of problems as my milk didn't come in properly as a result, and baby was readmitted at 7 days old with dehydration and had to be tube fed. All very distessing and could have been avoided if they had checked my bloods in the third trimester and got me on the iron tabets. x

Brockle Wed 17-Oct-12 08:26:27

Its really important. They found out I was anaemic too late to get any good iron stores built up and I ended up with a bleed afterwards and a transfusion. I was told to take the iron tablets and supplement it with spatone. I religously took iron supplements with DS2 and I am now with DS3.

Littlesurprise Wed 17-Oct-12 08:41:09

I've always been very anaemic, I'm just taking pregnacare (which has 17mg iron). Sounds like this may not be sufficient to build up stores? But I also heard that too much iron is harmful. It is a bit confusing.

Agree - baby will steal get hold of everything he/she needs (if available in mum's stores?), mum will bear the brunt of any deficiencies.

Sorry. Not helpful.

charlottehere Wed 17-Oct-12 08:44:51

If you can, buy some spatone, it doesn't have the nasty side effects of the tablets. smile I would start ASAP.

goldygumdrops Wed 17-Oct-12 08:46:17

It depends how severe the anaemia is. If mild, mostly you, if severe, can lead to IUGR.

charlottehere Wed 17-Oct-12 08:47:18

Interesting what mummytobenji said.

armedtotheteeth Wed 17-Oct-12 08:52:59

It's bad for you, not the baby.

After giving birth to dc3 I lost a lot of blood which was made worse by the fact that I already had low iron levels. I needed a blood transfusion which might otherwise have been avoided. And all this despite taking iron tablets so could have been even worse.

izzywizzyisbizzy Wed 17-Oct-12 09:02:45

thanks mummy I have 210mg of ferrous fumate, you have just figuratively kicked my bottom and I have taken todays, I'm a bit pee'd off, would have liked more input than a call from the doctors receptionist telling me to pick up a prescription.

TMI, but within 1 tablet, literally, everything was black and rather unpleasant.

I am seeing midwife next week, so I'll take them until then, and then discuss.

Breastfeeding is very important to me - so I'm very grateful to you posting as I wouldn't want to do anything now that could potentially harm it later on.

mummysmellsofsick Wed 17-Oct-12 09:13:27

Don't drink tea with iron containing food. Dried apricots a good source if you don't ear red meat. And floradix is gentle and effective, I didn't eat any meat and not many greens in pg and I managed to maintain good iron levels throughout (took twice the normal dose of floradix twice a day) some greens aren't actually so good for iron as it isn't easily absorbed because of the oxalic acid they also contain. Spinach contains loads of iron but absorption not so good. Don't rely on greens

Londonmrss Wed 17-Oct-12 09:26:25

Don't forget that haemoglobin and iron levels are 2 different things. I have really good haemoglobin levels (13.5) because I eat a really good diet with lots of greens and red meat and fortified cereal (and even make sure I have vitamin c at the same time to help with absorption). However, because I'm pregnant and babies take what they need, I also have really low iron stores. So I'm on supplements. I'm not even slightly anaemic and don't even feel low on energy or anything. But if I were to suffer blood loss, my iron stores wouldn't handle it too well.
So as I understand it, it's nothing to do with diet and just to do with being pregnant. If you've been told to take supplements, I say take them.
Hope they don't make you feel too rotten though.

kalidasa Wed 17-Oct-12 09:27:13

I am 33 weeks and anaemic and couldn't tolerate either ferrous sulphate or ferrous fumarate (caused acute colic/vomiting after a single tablet, so obviously not being absorbed). I bought some Spatone but the docs said it wasn't enough. The hospital have now prescribed me some liquid iron - looks and tastes like orange cough medicine, not lovely and does make me feel queasy but definitely much easier to tolerate than the pills, I haven't thrown it up (yet). Worth asking for that? (Have hyperemesis so quite important that I avoid anything that encourages vomiting.)

My understanding is that unless you are very anaemic it is mostly you who suffers, and it is a risk factor going into labour. The reason lots of women become anaemic in the latter part of pregnancy is because that's when the baby's need for iron increases, so your levels drop as he/she takes it all.

mummy2benji Wed 17-Oct-12 09:31:24

Sorry for nagginess! Yes a bit more info and explanation than a call from the doctor's receptionist would definitely be preferable... If you find it hard taking the ferrous fumarate twice a day, you could try taking one a day plus a spatone - not as high a dose so it may not boost your iron stores as effectively, but better than not taking it. How many weeks are you? You could ask your midwife to check your ferritin again in 4 weeks to see if that is working, if you're not too far along at the moment.

I just picked up my iron prescription from my chemist and my gp has issued me ferrous sulphate instead of ferrous fumarate - I'll have to bump up the Fybogel dose! sad Too much effort to ring them and ask for it to be swapped when I'm due in 10 days anyway. Good luck with the iron!

Ooh one thing with the iron which they should really tell you - it is very hard for the body to absorb it, even when taken in tablet form, and the best way of helping that is to have it with a small glass of fruit juice - vitamin c helps the absorption of iron. That will definitely help it to work more quickly. x

Iggly Wed 17-Oct-12 09:34:12

I had very low iron levels so took spatone everyday (2 sachets). By the time dd arrived, my levels were back to normal. This was over the space of 5 weeks.

Liquid iron has lower amounts of iron than tablets because it's easier to digest. Iron tablets are hard to digest so need more iron in them to get the desired effect.

izzywizzyisbizzy Wed 17-Oct-12 09:36:15

Thanks everyone, it makes me have loose, black, smelly stuff, as I said, literally within 1 tablet.

I will get orange juice to take with it, and some cereal (hate the stuff too!).


I have around 2 calender months left, mummy you arent being naggy, if its important, its important, and I am contemplating a homebirth which they aren't happy about (I have fast deliveries and I am not happy that potentially I could give birth in the car I didn't make it out of the house last time and that was an accident), so I don't want to give them an excuse to say no.

Goldrill Wed 17-Oct-12 12:08:36

I'm on ferrous fumarate too, izzy, and it has the same effect on me. I take only the morning tablet instead of all 3 and that has been enough to bring my iron levels back up as required in the space of a month - but they weren't very low to start off with - I would have taken all 3 if necessary.

It probably sounds a bit odd, but I found that if I have the tablet, then a glass of juice and then a bowl of porridge with bananas, yoghurt etc on it, everything keeps moving a lot better than if I just have toast. It's probably the sheer weight of porridge that does it but it does make the iron a bit more bearable!

minipie Wed 17-Oct-12 15:23:23

iggly thanks for posting, that is reassuring.

I had slightly low iron at 28 weeks and have been taking 2x spatone per day, with vit c. Now 32 weeks but not due to be tested again till 36 weeks so I won't have much time if it is still low then.

mummy's post worried me that spatone alone would not be enough, but your post suggests it will be? I know it has less iron in it but it does say it's moer easily absorbed.

do you remember how low your levels were when you started on the spatone?

JupiterJoy Wed 17-Oct-12 16:52:41

With my 1st pregnancy when my hb was ok but my iron low, I had an IV cosmofer (iron) for about 8 hours on day ward.
Because I can't take iron tablets/liquid.

Also, in the past (even when not pregnant) if my hb was very low and iron, I had blood transfusions.

Lora1982 Wed 17-Oct-12 17:03:46

just set my mum on the mission of getting spatone for me cause the midwife said i was borderline anaemic and to eat apricots etc. mum said that the chemist said the dr can do it on prescription. i wonder if they would when im not actually anaemic... im doing it more as a prevention than fix

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