I have several pregnant friends right now and the topic of pregnancy induced anemia has come up a few times. Most doctors will tell you to take an iron supplement and be done with it but I’d like to share a bit more info with you.
Durring pregnancy your body is working really hard to A) grow a baby and B) keep your body functioning while the beautiful baby hoards all your precious nutrients. Yes, the baby gets all the best nutrients you put into your body first and then, you get whatever is left over.
Anemia is “a decrease in number of red blood cells (RBCs) or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood.” “it can (also) include decreased oxygen-binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule”. What does that mean and what does that have to do with Iron? Iron is the substance that oxygen binds to in our blood cells. If you have low iron levels your blood cells won’t be able to carry as much oxygen to your body. This means that your body will have to work harder (pump your heart faster) to get more blood cells to your entire body. Since your body is already working so hard to grow a baby, getting enough iron is important to making that crucial task of getting oxygen to every part of your body a bit easier. Another thing that your body does during pregnancy is build a larger blood supply. Your body knows what’s going on. It has to support you AND a baby so it makes extra blood. This extra blood needs iron just like the rest of your blood did before you got pregnant, only the amount of iron that you used to take in just isn’t enough any more. Now you need extra iron for your extra blood. (This is also the body’s way of preparing for some blood loss that occurs with delivery of your baby – isn’t it amazing how our body knows what it is supposed to do?)
Anyways, there are many different types of anemia, so if you just google anemia and get freaked out by all the stuff you read, don’t worry. Iron deficiency anemia accounts for 75% of all anemia in pregnancy.
So, what do you do to get more iron? Iron is in prunes, red meat, and green leafy vegetables. So you could just eat more of that! Bonus to eating the prunes and veggies is that it might help if you are having any pregnancy induced constipation. You could also take an iron supplement. The drawback to taking an iron supplement is that they can often cause nausea, constipate you and sometimes give you very dark tar-like stool. The other option, which is very practical for those of you who can never get enough veggies in your diet, is Floredix. Floredix is vegetarian and is a liquid supplement derived from vegetables and herbs. It is expensive at $22 for 8.5 oz or $35 for 17 oz, but if you have any problems absorbing iron in pill form this will make a huge difference in your life! The serving dose is 2 teaspoons a day so that makes 51 doses in the 17oz bottle. I poured mine in a small glass of orange juice each morning while I was pregnant to fix my anemia. I hope it works for you as well as it did for me!
Floredix is available at Whole Foods, The Vitamin Shoppe, Lassens, Amazon…..
Moms out there, do you remember being pregnant? I mean really remember? Do you remember baby brain? I kinda think baby brain is our body’s way of telling us to forget all the nonsense. Baby, food, & sleep are the priorities and you can forget about everything else! Do you remember how all those flowing hormones affected your mood? Recently a pregnant friend of mine reminded me (by telling me about some of her encounters) how important it is to be thoughtful to others and ESPECIALLY hormonal preggo mommas!
What am I talking about? Things you shouldn’t say to a pregnant momma:
“When are you due? Really, two more months? You look like you’re ready to give birth any moment!”
Yeah…. if this momma wasn’t worried about how much weight she had gained, didn’t already feel “fat”, or wasn’t already worried about EVER getting her body back – she sure is now. Hint, if her eyes get all glassy you might want to retract your statement or cover it up somehow….
“You are so TINY! I can’t believe you are 7 months! I can hardly tell you’re pregnant!”
Ok, instinctually you might think this is a complement but if her doctor has expressed any concerns that her baby is not growing at a normal rate – this could set a poor worried momma over the edge.
“Are you having twins?!”
If you don’t KNOW this momma is having twins you shouldn’t ask. And if you do know she’s having twins you shouldn’t have to ask, so basically, don’t ask this question – ever. For reasons why I refer you back to my comments on quote number one.
“Your so young/mature to have a baby!”
Um yeah. Both momma’s in this situation are feeling self conscious about their age. They are both scared that parenthood will be risky or too much for them to handle at their age. It kinda reminds me of when my father in law told me “Janice! You have a zit!” Yeah, I know. I have a zit. Thanks. No – the throbbing mountain right between my eyebrows wasn’t enough of a reminder, I needed to be told. Wait – you can smell the sarcasm, right?
“Were you trying to get pregnant?”
Uh, that’s kinda none of your business, right? If this isn’t a sensitive subject I don’t really know what is….
“Was it natural?”
Ok, if someone has tried to get pregnant for any amount of time, every menstrual cycle is heartbreaking. So, if they did have to resort to some kind of fertility treatment to you really want to dredge up all that pain and frustration it took for them to get to finally being pregnant? (This is more frequently a question for mothers of multiples, after people find out there is more than one bun in the oven. Either momma is an uber-ovulater, her ovum decided to spontaneously split, or she worked really hard with fertility treatments to get those precious babies.) Either way – momma isn’t growing cyborgs and they are “natural” carbon based lifeforms based mostly of water. How would you like it if someone referred to your baby as unnatural? Ouch….
And for those who are married and not pregnant…
“When are you going to have a baby?!?”
This can be one of the deadliest of questions. How do you know this couple hasn’t been trying for 5 years? While I wonder about many married friends, now that I have learned more about infertility, I NEVER ask. I can just picture the bride having to excuse herself, get her cry out, and rejoin the group.
Anyways… I thought it was an important sensitivity reminder since so many of us will be seeing more family for the holiday season. Send this post to your insensitive friends and family and see if they stop their intrusive
judgements questions…. Let me note that I’m sure that I have been guilty of at least one of these quotes myself. Live and learn right? What’s your favorite inappropriate or feeling crushing question?
I have quite a few friends who are pregnant right now and I am frequently reminded of the “fun” that accompanies pregnancy. I thought a blog on all the natural heartburn remedies I had heard of, would be a great help to those of you struggling with this issue. PS this is not just for pregnant ladies!
Yes there are several over the counter and prescription medications that you can take for heartburn if you talk with your doctor but it’s always scary to take ANY meds while pregnant because you never know what they will say about a medication in 10 years. Many meds that were thought to be safe turned out to be unsafe at a later date. And for those of you who take antacid medications regularly, please speak to your doctor about what supplements you should take. Using meds like Protonix, Prevacid, and Zantac can deplete you of certain vitamins and, especially when taken long term.
The first remedie that is widely recommended is milk. I can hardly stand milk and I know that there are many lactose intolerant friends out there but apparently soy and almond milk will do the trick as well. I did find some relief when I drank oat milk or soy milk durring my pregnancy. The bonus to milk drinking is that you are getting protein and calcium while taking this remedy. Good to know.
Second, we have vinegar. Apple cider vinegar happens to be highly recommended from many. I just chug a tablespoon of it and then wash it down with water, while others dilute a tablespoon in about 4oz of water and drink. Vinegar helps maintain a cleansed and pH balanced body. I’m thinking this is partly where the association with pregnancy and pickles came from. Pickles are pickled in vinegar. Makes sense right?
Another helpful hint is, never let your stomach get completely empty. If you eat small meals frequently you will feel better all around. Who has room for a big meal with baby fighting for the space? I kept a supply of crackers, peanut butter crackers, or a granola bar with me at all times. This helped ward of nausea quite a bit also. (That and my obsession with watermelon…)
Another suggestion for heartburn or reflux is baking soda. While many people say diluting 1 tsp. of baking soda in a few ounces of water does the trick, I caution anyone with heart, kidney, or edema (swelling) issues to talk to their doctor first. Baking soda is a salt and could aggravate some health issues.
Many people think Tums is natural enough but remember that Tums has lots of sugar and may be a factor for those with gestational diabetes. Remember not to use Rolaids as they have been found to be harmful to the fetus and are found in breast milk.
Ever tried papaya enzymes? These are digestive enzymes that just may do the trick for you!
How about ginger? Adding ginger into your diet in teas and foods is a great way to aid digestion and calm acids.
Cooking with mint or adding that to your tea can help as well. Mints are great for digestion.
I have also heard that ripe bananas can give heartburn relief. I’m not sure that this one is so universal, but it’s worth a shot right?
Remember to always talk to your doctor about any health concerns and to inform your doctor when using a home remedy for ANY health issue!
As a labor and delivery nurse I saw some of the hardest loss imaginable. As a member of a mother’s of multiples group I know many women who have suffered terrible heartbreak. Some of my friends struggle with or have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, and even the loss of a baby at 30 weeks. I cannot imagine the heartbreak associated with all of these struggles. I do know, that this type of loss is not talked about nearly enough. The loss of a child forever changes a woman and more support is needed.
If you are pregnant with multiples I recommend you get in touch with a mother’s of multiples group during pregnancy. These moms are a great resource and have been through many of the issues you may face. Many of these women also struggled with infertility and have gone through disappointment, procedures, bed rest, hospitalization, and babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Whenever I think of mothers that have overcome tremendous obstacles my friend Lyndsey comes to mind. She is an amazingly strong and brave woman. She plowed through a mono-amniotic, mono-chorionic pregnancy with a smile on her face. She was hospitalized somewhere around 24 weeks and was placed on almost complete bedrest. During this hospitalization the babies were constantly monitored. Have you ever had your baby/babies on a monitor for any extended period of time? Babies move my friends. Babies move, and monitors only move if someone moves them. I’m pretty sure she didn’t get a full nights sleep for several months. (Remember that’s before the babies even got here!) I am not doing justice to how worried I’m sure she was. The babies shared an amniotic sack which meant that their umbilical cords could get tangled at any moment (hence the constant monitoring). Yes, it was a truly difficult pregnancy and I’m not revealing all the complications A) because I don’t know ALL of the details and B) because I don’t think it’s appropriate to share all of it.
The reason she stands out like a shining star to me is because she endured all the complications that came along with this pregnancy with a smile on her face. She was truly inspirational.
Lyndsey recently lost her baby boy at 30 weeks of pregnancy. If this news brought me to tears, I cannot imagine what this loss did to her and her family. Lyndsey continues to be inspirational. She is blogging about her loss and I wanted to share her story and blog with you. If I find her inspirational, I can only imagine what a help her story would be to a mother going through a loss like hers. Please visit her blog “The Buckley Five” and leave a comment showing your support or shared experience, and know that my heart goes out to all of you who have suffered loss.
Thank you Lyndsey for being such a great mother, being so strong and inspirational, and for letting me share your story so that other moms may gain strength through you. XO
I remembered feeling like my belly was already growing at 8 weeks. My OBGYN greatly disappointed me by telling me that was just the first trimester bloat. (I’m still convinced my uterus was already making progress because it had TWO “peas” rapidly growing!) By the time I got to 12 weeks I was comfortable in my maternity pants!
There was, however, that awkward in between time when I was outgrowing my pants but not quite feeling the need for maternity pants. They now have products that solve this problem but I was resourceful and used what I had at home to avoid purchasing new pants! I purchased a belly sleeve much like the one pictured here and extended the life of my pants by looping a hair tie/band through the button hole. Then I pulled the belly sleeve down over the top of my pants.