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How can I get my iron level up super quick? (So I can go to the midwife led unit!!)

(26 Posts)
opalescent Wed 04-Jan-17 20:01:33

I've been told at my risk assessment today (36 weeks) that my iron level is low enough to exclude me from the local, beautiful midwife led unit sad.
The MW said that I'm at 9.8, the criteria is a minimum of 10.
I am upset, as I really didn't want another very clinical experience, as with ds1...I had visions of low lighting, birth pools and dp being able to stay with us.
The MW has agreed to re check in 2 weeks...
I'm taking spatone (2x sachets a day and will take one iron tablet). Any other tips?
Thank you

NoraDora Wed 04-Jan-17 20:03:35

Eat pumpkin seeds.

Steak and green veg are good too.

I'm on iron tablets 3x per day which has helped.

Don't drink any caffeine as this inhibits the absorption of iron.

fourcorneredcircle Wed 04-Jan-17 20:06:16

Iron is blocked from absorption by dairy products, eggs and caffeine. DH takes iron tablets and can't have a brew/dairy products for an hour before and two hours after tablets.

Vitamin C helps the take up of iron. OJ ahoy!

opalescent Wed 04-Jan-17 20:06:32

Thank you Nora, have you had any side effects from the iron tablets?

Imaginationfailedtoload Wed 04-Jan-17 20:07:28

Drink orange juice with your meals as the vitamin helps your body absorb the iron in your diet.

IRegretNothing Wed 04-Jan-17 20:09:01

I remember being put on 3 x 200mg of ferrous sulphate (or was it fumarate?) when anaemic and pregnant precisely so I could birth in an mlu. I'm not sure Spa Tone actually has that much iron in it.
Absorbing the iron is also important, vit c aids absorption and tannins from tea can inhibit it. So maybe cut out tea and take the iron tablet with a glass of orange juice or vit c tab. Dried apricots and brocolli are naturally high in iron although nothing will be as concentrated as tablets I don't think. Ask your dr for a prescription.

JungleWait Wed 04-Jan-17 20:09:24

Spatone/liquid iron
Dates, have three per day.

IRegretNothing Wed 04-Jan-17 20:09:54

Cross post, slow typer! Ah, it's caffeine not tannins then!

ALLthedinosaurs Wed 04-Jan-17 20:11:58

Drink orange juice as vit c helps absorb iron. Avoid calciumy things at the same time as taking iron. Realistically, as your blood volume expands, your hb is more likely to go down but best of luck. You're just on the cusp so you may be able to swing it smile

If it's any consolation, I was on labour ward with my first (will always be on labour ward) and I was offered birth pool, bath, they dimmed lights etc although it was lost on me and it was quite nice really. If your last time in hospital wasn't nice, are there any other local hospitals you can look around?

Polly99 Wed 04-Jan-17 20:14:58

Spatone in oj, 2 per day.

user1471524896 Wed 04-Jan-17 20:15:13

Tannins affect absorption, not the caffeine. The iron tablets would be better than the spatone by a long way. Agree with pp take them with an orange juice.

nickelbabeinamanger Wed 04-Jan-17 20:16:30

I was shown research the other day about it being a myth that iron lrbels in pregnancy need to be high (as in "normal")
It's because blood volume increases but iron level remains the same, which neans the concentration of iron is low.
Apoarently, it needs to stay the same level (so the concentration.is low) so that the blood can be tthin enough to let the body do what it has to do
3 links coming:
wisewomanwayofbirth.com/be-careful-about-iron-supplementation-in-pregnancy/

www.aims.org.uk/iron.htm
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10799403 this is the article regarding iron.

elsiemarleysellsthebarley Wed 04-Jan-17 20:20:58

I had the same situation and same amount of time to get them up again. Did they prescribe you iron tablets? They told me the spartone I was already taking was very low concentration. I took the maximum dose I could of my prescribed iron (IIRC it said 1-3 per day but I can't remember the concentration, sorry!). It causes constipation so I drank as much prune juice as I could stomach (better straight from the fridge, down in one). As well as snacking on dried fruit etc and drinking loads of water. Oh, as above take the iron with orange juice for the vit C. It worked, iron got over the threshold, virtually no constipation and got my MLU birth. The midwife at my next appointment said I was brave taking the maximum dose! Good luck!

pizzaparty Wed 04-Jan-17 20:21:40

My midwife told me that rest helps red blood cells to increase which is related to iron (can't remember how). Not easy if you have other kids though. Iron tablets made me really constipated!

NoraDora Wed 04-Jan-17 20:21:54

Only dark poos and mild constipation but the constipation could be pregnancy not the iron.

I've had a daily dose of prune juice too. Ask your doctor if you can take more than one tablet per day.

My tablet packet recommends having them on an empty stomach. I tend to have one as soon as I wake up and one before bed. The third one I take at random!

opalescent Wed 04-Jan-17 20:27:33

Thank you all so much, great info!!
I have been prescribed 3 x iron tablets per day, but was trying to avoid taking the mac dose as I had heard they really upset your stomach. My digestive system isn't the best anyway when I'm pregnant, so was not looking forward to that!

Having read people's experiences here though, I think I'll go for 2x spatone and 2x tablets per day, with orange juice, and hope for the best!!

babyblabber Wed 04-Jan-17 20:27:37

I was told my iron was 10 last Friday, down from 10.8 in November. So my instructions are to take iron tablets twice a day (galfer or ferrograd C) with orange juice, one an hour breakfast and one an hour after dinner. Being tested again on Monday.

Out2pasture Wed 04-Jan-17 20:28:20

Cook using cast iron pots and pans.

NoraDora Wed 04-Jan-17 20:36:09

I'd take the max dose if I were you. You've only got 2 weeks and iron levels are difficult to raise quickly.

I'll be honest the effects on digestion are negligible to me.

sallysparrow157 Wed 04-Jan-17 20:40:44

Nickelbabe- having a haemoglobin level in the low normal/a bit below normal in pregnancy is generally fine, as you say it's due to dilution as the blood volume increases. However, if you're going to deliver at home or a midwife led unit (i.e. anywhere where you will not have immediate access to a blood transfusion) it's really important to have your blood count be in the normal range before you deliver as it means if you bleed heavily you have a bit 'to spare' - it's not a case of wanting to go against what your body naturally does during pregnancy, it's to protect the mum should things not go to plan during the delivery

nickelbabeinamanger Thu 05-Jan-17 21:29:00

sally I know that's the guideline, but reading the research looks luke it's based on bad science.
It's annoying as it ccould mean a worse labour.
I had a homebirth, so different rules than a MLU (thankfully) - they are less likely to be arsy about a hb (they can refuse mlu but can't refuse hb).
I also had a pph and didn't have a blood transfusion but iron tablets after birth.

The nhs needs to look at this research fully before dismissing it, especially as it could make a huge difference when ir comes to actual labour.

MLUs are usually attached to hospitals so they're literally down a corridor to get spare blood.
An ambulance can carry blood if it's needed, to a patient at home. If a woman was bleeding out that badly.
It took the hospital I was transferred inti over 12 hours to discuss blood requirements with me, even though they decided my iron levels were dangerously low.

bonzo77 Thu 05-Jan-17 21:36:57

What kind of iron tablets have they given you? Ferrous sulphate give me terrible constipation. Ferrous fumarate a bit of diarrhoea. Ferrous fumarate liquid however gave me no symptoms at all. I cannot remember the levels, but the liquid got me from too low to ok within 2 weeks. I then had an early emcs a week later and despite a bit of blood loss (I think 50ml) didn't need iron afterwards.

Waterlemon Thu 05-Jan-17 21:42:01

I really struggled with side effects from iron tablets. Spatone was the only thing that got my iron up! It's a natural source of iron (it's just mineral water that's very high in iron) so it is much easier for your body to absorb. For best absorption, take with something that has high vitamin c content. I drunk it mixed with ribena as orange juice affected my chronic heartburn.

That was something that I only discovered quite late on - all the gaviscon, antacids and dairy that I was taking to calm my severe heartburn were preventing my body from absorbing iron. So try not to eat/drink any calcium rich foods at least an hour before/after any iron products!

LockedOutOfMN Thu 05-Jan-17 21:45:49

You can buy Spatone sachets from Boots. The usual dose is 1 sachet per day, taken first thing in the morning with water or orange juice (it's a clear liquid). However, from memory, I believe it's safe to take 2 sachets per day: check with your HCP before taking any, though.

Also, stop drinking tea (if you do at the moment).

LondonRoo Thu 05-Jan-17 23:06:21

And you can ask to meet with the supervisor of midwives to discuss using the MLU... They may be willing to show some flexibility.

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