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Here are some tips, advice, and wise words from other our site moms who have had to cope with the fatigue, extra pills, and tests that are all part of having iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy.
"I was diagnosed with anemia around 17 weeks when I had first trimester bloodwork and screenings. The main symptom was extreme fatigue, even after the tiredness had worn off from the first trimester."
"My iron level was very low, and my main symptom was extreme fatigue. I'm taking iron now, but whenever I forget to take it, I become tired right away."
"I was diagnosed with anemia in the first trimester. I'd come home from work and need a nap for two to three hours. I started taking ferrous sulfate pills, as the nurse suggested. After taking the pills, I had much more energy."
"I got really tired and just thought it was from my growing baby, but then I found out after a blood test that I was slightly anemic. I'm now taking an iron supplement and feel a million times better. The difference in energy is phenomenal!"
"I'm taking an iron supplement at night and, aside from constipation, I feel better. I don't feel like I'm dragging as much during the day, and I don't feel so weak."
"I noticed that I was super tired and a little more short of breath, so my doctor tested me and sure enough my hemoglobin level was slightly low. I'm now on one iron pill a day with my prenatal vitamin. I started to take it two weeks ago and have already seen an increase in energy."
"It's best to take iron on an empty stomach, but eating a small snack can help with the cramps and nausea. Get stool softeners. You'll probably need to take them twice a day. Also, if you're taking a big dose of iron once a day, it can be harder on you than two to three smaller doses. Ask your doctor if you can take smaller doses instead."
"I take my iron pill in the morning with orange juice to help absorb it. Then I take my prenatal at night."
"I have trouble remembering [to take my iron supplement]. So I take my prenatal with a meal, and then set my phone alarm before bed to take the iron pill."
"I have mild anemia and have been taking a supplement since week 10. I was told to take it at a different time than my prenatal. So I take one in the morning and one in the evening because the calcium in the prenatal can interfere with iron absorption."
"Eat lots of leafy greens and red meat. I also put blackstrap molasses in everything (including tea and oatmeal), and I make a shake with it every day. After I started doing all that, I was able to stay awake more."
"Try cooking in a cast iron skillet. If you make your own soups, for instance, you could saute them first in a cast iron skillet before putting them in the blender. They also make little cast-iron fish that you can put in your boiling water."
"For foods, you can't beat dark or red meat. Also try dark greens, beans, dried fruit, and iron-enriched cereal. But don't have cereal with milk because the calcium inhibits the iron absorption. Vitamin C helps, so try drinking orange juice with it instead."
— A our site member
"When you start taking iron, increase your fiber intake too because iron can cause constipation. If you do have problems, drink some prune juice!"
"Iron supplements and prenatal vitamins with iron in them can cause dark brown or black stools. It looks bad, but it's a sign that they're working the way they're supposed to."
"I was supposed to have a blood transfusion after I had my baby because my iron was too low. I refused because I didn't like the thought of it. I regretted it after leaving the hospital because I was constantly passing out. I had to have a lot more help doing things around the house and looking after my baby."
"I get iron infusions for severe anemia. The iron takes a while for my body to absorb – up to three months after each infusion. When my first infusion didn't take right away, I had a blood transfusion.
Visit the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's website for more information and to find an MFM specialist near you.