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Iron tablets - please advise

(30 Posts)
pregnancy1 Thu 22-May-08 14:44:07


I've just been told that my iron results from my last blood tests were borderline and so my doctors have prescribed my iron tablets. Now, I've been suffering from the usual pregnancy complaints and (too much info warning) have only just got back to the point where I am pooing regularly again! (Wholewheat everything plus tonnes of fruit and veg)

I'm assuming that my borderline iron won't affect bean (I'm 27+5), just me and was wondering if I'd be able to persuade my midwife to let me try some natural solutions that don't cause constipation and if I haven't improved it by my next blood test (1 months time) then I'll go onto the iron tablets. Can you recommend any alternatives?

Also, please let me know if it will harm bean as obv I'll take whatever is needed (mmmmm prunes sad). Or maybe I'm making too much of a deal of it and the tablets won't affect me [hmmm]
All advice gratefully received!!

cyteen Thu 22-May-08 14:47:02

No advice but am bumping for you

Isn't there an iron supplement that doesn't affect pooing? I'm sure I've heard it mentioned somewhere...maybe a liquid format...

<goes off to search>

vonsudenfed Thu 22-May-08 14:47:52

I'm a massive fan of Spatone - decant into glass of orange juice for best effect, and it specifically says you can have up to two sachets a day while pregnant. And FWIW, the iron is easier to absorb than in tablets

I'm borderline anaemic at the best of times, but managed to stay off the iron tablets by mainlining it throughout pregnancy, fearful of all that you mention!

Other people swear by Floradix. Boots have both.

WombFor1More Thu 22-May-08 14:48:38

Have you tried Spatone? Pretty sure that's what it is called. It's a natural iron suppliment you add to a drink. Maybe get some to take along to see mw and ask if you can try that first?


WombFor1More Thu 22-May-08 14:49:17

Sorry x posts vonsudenfed!

needahand Thu 22-May-08 14:49:36

Yep I second Spatone too. I am taking two at the moment and it has really made a difference without any side effects

suwoo Thu 22-May-08 14:49:51

I second spatone, I am also borderline anaemic especially during pregnancy and Spatone kept me at an acceptable level. It doesn't make you constipated either.

samsgr8 Thu 22-May-08 14:53:20

Spatone is fab! I get mine from the pharmacy at my local Sainsbury's ... it costs £6.50 for a month's supply whereas in most other shops they charge about a tenner!

Blocky Thu 22-May-08 14:53:55

I couldn't have iron tablets during pg as they made me projectile vomit (sorry TMI) but a MW advised loads of leafy green veg, steamed if not raw, bran flakes, dried apricots, occ red meat. This worked for me - and I felt a lot healthier because of it. (still poo'd through the eye of a needle though! wink. Thats bran flakes for you.

Snaf Thu 22-May-08 14:54:20

You can try Floradix or Spatone, both of which are liquid iron formations that don't have the same nasty effects on one's bowels as ferrous sulphate tablets grin Only problem is they're not particularly cheap and can't afaik be prescribed. But you can get them from most chemists so worth a try.

Food-wise, you need to be eating red meat, spinach, kale, dark chocolate, apricots. Cut down on tea as it limits iron absorption and drink plenty of orange juice instead.

Do you know what your last iron level actually was? It won't do any harm to the baby at all - he/she will take what they need - but you will feel better with good iron levels and will recover more easily from the birth and any blood loss, for example.

Snaf Thu 22-May-08 14:54:46

Oh god, I am such a slow typist grin

Louandben Thu 22-May-08 14:57:21

You need Floradix liquid iron supplement, it contains plant/herb/fruit extracts won't hurt the baby(you can even give it to children over 1) and it is much gentler on your whole system, however its not such a high dose of iron as tablets, so it will take a little longer to take effect. As you are just borderline rather than very anaemic, it should do the trick I would have thought. Your midwife may recommend you take more than the standard dosage. I have taken it along with pre-natal vitamins (Solgar) that also have iron in and my iron levels have been much higher during this pregnancy, now 37 wks along, than my last one.

I don't think lack of iron affects the baby but it will make you feel totally exhausted and I think it has some implications for the actual birth in relation to bleeding....maybe an expert can advise on that one!

Only other tip, if you do end up on the tablets, porridge with berries for breakfast is a great help with the side effects wink

sitdownpleasegeorge Thu 22-May-08 15:08:57

Spatone didn't increase my iron levels by very much at all.

My pharmacist strongly recommended "blackstrap molasses" as being a good way to take a natural iron supplement without getting constipated.

I took both and boosted my iron levels nicely together with my broccoli and red meat cravings.

Snaf Thu 22-May-08 15:17:58

Some iron-rich foods:

Eggs - especially the yolk
Oily fish e.g. tuna, sardines, pilchards
Oxo, Bovril
Wholemeal bread and flour
Iron-fortified cereals - Bran, Branflakes, Weetabix
Beans and pulses e.g. lentils, chick peas, haricot, kidney, pinto, baked, butter, peas
Nuts - almonds, cashews, Brazils, walnuts
Dried fruit - apricots, figs, dates
Green vegetables - watercress, spinach, brocolli
Rich fruit cake, gingerbread, ginger biscuits
Curry powder (who knew?!)
Cocoa, chocolate, black treacle

pregnancy1 Thu 22-May-08 15:18:33

oooh. Thank you all so much! I'm popping to Boots on my way home (for more free Clarins trial samples)so will pick up some spatone and try it over the weekend (and then go into begging mode when I see the midwife on Tuesday!)
They didn't give me the actual result over the phone - just that it was borderline. I'll pick up the results on Friday (off to the cinema tonight).
Thanks again!

vonsudenfed Thu 22-May-08 15:20:02

mmmm, fruitcake as an iron supplement....

Snaf Thu 22-May-08 15:23:19

You don't have to beg - it's your decision whether you take them or not. There is a school of thought that says borderline iron deficiency should only be treated with diet in any case, and that tablets are unecessary unless you are actually anaemic.

Anyway, the mw will probably be quite used to women who want an alternative to iron tablets because the unpleasant side effects are well-known!

Heffa Thu 22-May-08 15:34:23

What does Spatone taste like? I've been taking Floradix but the taste makes me retch.

vermilion Thu 22-May-08 15:36:45

Spatone with juice as recommended, tastes like the juice.
Don't drink it from t he sachet like I did, it's meant to be mixed with juice!

BeachBunni Thu 22-May-08 15:41:18

If you are just wanting to increase your iron levels by changing your diet, drink orange juice (or anything with vit c) with iron rich foods as it helps iron absorption. Also aviod anything with caffeine such as tea or coffee or milk for 20 mins after eating as this affects iron absorption. I did this through my preg and was told to come off my iron tablets as my iron levels were very high - and I wasn't on any tablets

Nursejo Thu 22-May-08 15:42:07

Just a bit of interesting Trivia here.... Spinach is actually no higher in Iron than most leafy Green Veg.In the 40's/50's figures for the iron content were published and they apparently put the dot in the wrong place for Spinach and from then on everyone believed Spinach was very high,so along came Popeye.....!hmm

pregnancy1 Thu 22-May-08 16:01:32

Ah, no wonder my last ditch attempt to get my iron up by eaating spinach the night before my blood test failed grin

pinata Thu 22-May-08 18:46:33

i second the floradix suggestion - that stuff is BRILLIANT grin

GreenGodess Thu 22-May-08 18:53:59

Tell them you are trying Floradix and get your bloods redone in 2 weeks to check levels ok.

I swore by Floradix in last 2 pregnancy's but has not been enough 3rd time round and I am on the nasty prescribed stuff despite taking it from 12 weeks sad

angel1976 Thu 22-May-08 19:20:48

I love Floradix! I never had a problem with my iron levels as I was taking Floradix throughout. I didn't even take the full dosage, just one capful a day...

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