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Low iron levels

(16 Posts)
RockerMummy184 Thu 06-Aug-15 10:48:15

Sorry for another thread ladies, but since my care providers seem to be less than useless I seem to be getting better, and more realistic, advice from you all.

So....Bloods taken at 20 weeks, iron level 11.7. Didn't have a clue if this was high/low/normal, but my GP didn't flag it up, so only found the result out yesterday when I had my 28 week appointment and more bloods taken.

Explained to midwife that I have been feeling crap lately, absolutely exhausted, struggling for breath, dizzy, light headed, nauseous... she said they are all symptoms of anemia and that the 11.7 result was at the very low end of normal and she would not have been happy with that result, especially since I have been taking extra iron since March.

I will get the results of yesterdays bloods back on Friday, I was just wondering, if they come back low, what else can be done to up my iron levels? Will they prescribe me a higher doseage tablet? Or will I just have to cope with all these symptoms until after I give birth? I am already eating a very 'green' diet to try and naturally top it up.

TIA.

Whatabout Thu 06-Aug-15 11:51:59

How much iron are you taking now? I'm 35 weeks and been prescribed 200mg to take three times a day as my levels have now dropped to 10. Maybe you just need a bit more? Mine were borderline (11) until this week and only now have they prescribed. My b12 is low (120) too so babies do take it out of you!

Doublebubblebubble Thu 06-Aug-15 13:23:58

I'm on ferrous fumerate 486mg x3 a day. My haemoglobin was 90, my ferratin (stores) was 5!!!
I've been trying my best to eat well ridiculouslyhard when you cant stand fruit or veg but you know...got to be done so as to help with keeping my levels up... I've always been anaemic but it was my Dr not my midwife who basically (but nicely) said that I looked like death and that something must be up... Just make sure that you are taking vitamin c with your iron tablets as that helps with the absorption x good luck x

sleepyMe12 Thu 06-Aug-15 20:50:51

I've been taking Spatone as the amount of iron that is absorbed is higher. My levels were very similar to yours. Two little sachets daily with some orange juice and feel much better after only 4 days x

capecath Thu 06-Aug-15 21:08:21

I found that those ferrous pills made me all constipated (lovely!) and Spatone although so much better didn't make a diff at all to my levels... Mine was about 9 during pregnancies, although it is usually quite low. I just dealt with the symptoms, couldn't deal with the constipation... I took multi vits to help my B12 energy levels. My dh swears by iron-fortified cereals along with orange juice (improves absorption) in the morning.

RhiPea Thu 06-Aug-15 21:21:53

rocker are you a vegetarian? I had my 8week blood results at my 12wk scan this week- my iron was 11. Was told it's not low enough for pills, but could be managed with diet. She said iron from meat is better absorbed than iron in plants. Get some steak down you (and of course the OJ to wash it down!) grin

RockerMummy184 Thu 06-Aug-15 21:26:47

Thanks ladies. I'm not sure what dose I'm on at the moment and I've thrown away the box so can't check!
I've been trying to take them with orange juice or eating a couple of oranges immediately before/after.
The constipation is absolutely AWFUL. Not helped by the fact that I need to take codeine to even be able to stand up because of my SPD. (Dear me I am such a whinging cow today!)
I'm half hoping the results come back that I am anemic so at least I'll have an answer as to why I feel so crappy and the possibility of a solution!
Thanks again for all of your advice! Dunno what I'd have done without MN this time around! smile

RockerMummy184 Thu 06-Aug-15 21:29:23

Oh and RhiPea, no I'm absolutely not a vegetarian! Don't swear at me! wink I've been trying to have a steak at least once a week. (DH is quite pleased about this too!)

Cineraria Thu 06-Aug-15 21:34:15

I'm taking iron at the moment as I couldn't stomach anything with iron between weeks 6 and 20. Are you being careful what you eat when taking your iron tablets? You should ideally avoid foods and drinks containing caffeine, whole grains (wholemeal bread, oaty cereal bars etc) or lots of calcium, like dairy products, for a couple of hours either side of taking your iron supplement as these restrict absorption. Some indigestion remedies inhibit absorption too (maybe Andrews salts?).

I'm also trying to up the iron in my diet now as well but green laves still make me nauseous mostly. Red meat would be the obvious choice but I'm vegetarian so I read up on alternatives on the internet and made the following list (it won't keep the table format but you can probably get the idea still):

Food Portion Size Iron mg
spinach cup raw 1
lentils/mung 1/2 cup 7
chickpeas 1/2 cup 6
black eyed beans 1 cup cooked4
molasses - blackstrap1 tbs 3.5
prune juice 1 cup 3
pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup 3
apricots 5 0.5
almonds 5 1
spinach cooked 100g 3.5

Each day I try to have a cup of prune juice with a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses dissolved in a little hot water last thing at night (this really helps with the constipation from the iron tablets too!) and the 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds sprinkled over a lentil/bean/chickpea soup or a spinach and tomato salad (if I can manage it) at lunch.

OhBigHairyBollocks Thu 06-Aug-15 23:11:10

I don't know if you have already tried but spatone liquid iron supplements are much better than the tablets. No constipation and no taste, just chuck it in with your orange juice.
No idea if you can get on prescription or not but frankly I'd rather pay than be constipated whilst pregnant sad

Sympathy on the SPD. It's vile. I can barely stand, or indeed sit, at the moment sad

OhBigHairyBollocks Thu 06-Aug-15 23:12:06

Oh sorry- should have said, most chemists will stock spatone

acquiescence Thu 06-Aug-15 23:57:49

If you need to take prescribed iron request the liquid type- the one I have is called sytron. No constipation or other tummy issues. I also take spatone, really good stuff. Another option is floradix, which contains iron from green vegetables.

ouryve Fri 07-Aug-15 00:11:16

I'm not pregnant, but my iron levels have been hovering around 11.8. They were typically 10.something when I was pregnant.

Hate iron tablets - they don't constipate me, but definitely mostly come out of the other end and don't make me feel any better, so I've been trying Spatone as I've been having some symptoms, lately. Amazon have them cheaper than H&B etc, if you find you get on better with them. I'm a week or so in and have had no gastric symptoms (also a co-codamol user).

RockerMummy184 Fri 07-Aug-15 20:34:40

Thank you for all the useful tips ladies.

Just to update, called the gp for my blood results and he said they were all 'satisfactory'. I asked what my iron level was due to the comment my mw had made about not being happy with levels of 11 and he said that my iron levels hadn't been taken. I explained that mw said she was checking for anemia so surely iron levels would need to be checked. He said that anemia and low iron levels are completely different things!
I'm now utterly baffled as I have believed for as long as I can remember that they are the same thing! (I'm obviously thick! blush)

I asked if he could do a follow up blood test to see what my Iron levels are to rule out low levels being the cause of my symptoms and he refused as he said iron levels are irrelevant and couldn't possibly cause these symptoms! He did, however, offer to put me on antidepressants! hmm

I'm seriously confused! confused

Doublebubblebubble Fri 07-Aug-15 21:08:55

rocker seriously - you need a second opinion lol x definitely speak to your midwife if you can x he's got to be joking...or he's just talking out of his arse

Anaemia is where your haemoglobin levels are low and oddly shaped (so as not to be able to carry the oxygen around efficiently) which is what causes the fainting, paleness, lethargy and why i you get so out of puff. I have never once have I been told anything different from what you thought though... And I've had this delightful problem for 15 years thanks puberty lol xx

RockerMummy184 Fri 07-Aug-15 21:15:16

I have just looked on Wikipedia to see where I had gone wrong and the Anemia page linked me to the Iron Deficiency page, which listed all of the symptoms I've had, and said it can cause these even before it reaches the point of causing anemia so I have no bloody idea what he's on about!

He said he'd speak to my mw but she's not in til Wednesday, so I might try calling the maternity helpline at my hospital over the weekend and hope I can get some sense of of them!

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