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Iron levels - how low is low?

(10 Posts)
glossyflower Wed 20-Feb-13 17:32:49

I have been started on ferrous sulphate as my iron ferritin levels are 8.
I'm meant to be taking it three times a day, but can only manage one tablet a day as they make me feel sick. Also had HG early on and not completely gone away so I don't want to aggravate it.
I've improved my diet also to boost my iron.
Anyway my question is how low is 8? I know it's low enough to need supplements.
I am feeling knackered, breathless, a little dizzy at times, but I'm still working full time in quite a busy job. I'm 31 weeks. When I get home I just crash!

How low was yours, what were your symptoms and how long did it take to pick up?

Huffpot Wed 20-Feb-13 17:48:39

I think anywhere below 8 is where they consider a blood transfusion (or it was when I has DS1 3 years ago)

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Wed 20-Feb-13 18:01:49

if it's your haemoglobin (Hb) that's 8, then that's really very low and not suprising you're feeling rubbish. Mine at 33 weeks is 13.4 (but above 10 is usually accepted as reasonable)

If you can't manage 3 per day of ferrous sulphate it's worth asking for an alternative. some people find ferrous fumerate easier on the stomach, or there is an option for iron injections. Diet changes will be fairly ineffective I'm afraid, not close to the amount you need.

I believe some people swear by Spatone, but I don't know how much iron is actually in it. May be worth a try alongside the tablets.

Hope you feel better soon.

MagratGarlik Wed 20-Feb-13 18:06:12

I found weaning myself up to three tablets a day helped. My iron level was the same as yours after both ds's. I had one tablet per day for a couple of days, then two for a couple of days or so and after about a week could tolerate three easily. The doctor was fine with this approach.

As a previous poster said, 10 and above is considered acceptable.

Littleturkish Wed 20-Feb-13 18:14:00

It all depends on what they've dropped from, I had iron IV yesterday as mine dropped to 9.3 and I can't take tablets due to other health issues.

What has your iron dropped from?

Make a midwife appt ASAP and explain you can't take the tablets.

redandyellowbits Wed 20-Feb-13 18:15:55

Spatone worked really well for me, I had it with orange juice, 2 sachets/day.

My iron levels went up from 7 to 10.5 in a few months.

SlouchingPanda Wed 20-Feb-13 18:28:33

Ferritin is a measure of your iron stores. The normal range is 15 - 150 so anything lower than 15 is officially low, but < 30 is often treated in pregnancy.

Haemoglobin (Hb) is the stuff that carries oxygen in your blood. You need iron to make it. Ideally > 10.5 in pregnancy, lower than that = officially anaemic.

8 for either of them is low! But as you specifically said ferritin I assume it's that and your level certainly warrants treating.
Spatone is good for preventing you getting iron deficiency but once you get so low it's hard (and expensive!) to get enough to build up your stores again. Normal dose for iron tablets is 200mg three times daily. You would need 9 Spatone packets per day to get that much iron (info from Spatone website).

Some people really can't stomach ferrous sulphate which is usually prescribed. Might be worth a chat with your doctor about alternatives is that's the case for you.

Beamae Wed 20-Feb-13 19:20:00

It really is vital to take the ferrous sulphate with orange juice and to avoid all dairy for an hour either side of taking it. The dairy interferes with it's absorption.

glossyflower Wed 20-Feb-13 19:35:02

Thanks everyone.
8 is my ferritin level, I don't know what it was before.
My hb is ok at the moment.
I'm seeing consultant tomorrow so will talk to him about it.
I didn't know about avoiding dairy when taking the ferrous sulphate so that's handy to know.

glossyflower Wed 20-Feb-13 19:36:10

And I didn't realise it takes so long to improve on supplements!

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