This week has been especially hard. I had a midwife appointment on Monday morning where I found out my iron levels were really low. I've been worried about this for a while now as I haven't been taking iron supplements but trying to eat food with a high iron content. In my last pregnancy I fainted on the bus because of my iron levels so I've been conscious of ensuring I'm eating the right things. Unfortunately it obviously isn't working. The midwife asked me to start taking two tablets a day and when I started to protest she said my other option was an IV!
Iron tablets really mess up my system. I become constipated and bloated, and as piles are a very real threat in pregnancy, constipation is something I really don't want to deal with. The tablets also make me feel sick, really nauseous and dizzy. So overall I'd rather not take them as when I do I end up spending the day on bed and feeling really awful.
The midwife advised I start taking them immediately and that they'd do another blood test in two weeks to see if my iron levels rise. So as I don't want to spend more time at the hospital than I need to, I decided to take the tablets. I took two as advised right after my appointment and then we went off to find a nice place to eat. Unfortunately I ate the wrong food (a bagel and a smoothy) and on the drive home had a massive vomit (4 to be precise) and subsequently spent the rest of the day in bed.
Although it's often advised to take iron with food, they work best on an empty stomach. Certain foods, like dairy, should be avoided as they stop the iron from being absorbed completely. Milk, yogurt and caffeine are particularly bad for this, and some people advise against having eggs as well. Apparently vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron so it's often advised to have it with a glass of orange juice.
After my vomiting fit I felt really unwell and called the hospital. I ran through everything with them and only then did the person on the phone tell me not to take two tablets at once! I asked if there was another way I could take iron, I.e. In liquid form but she said I'd have to speak to my GP. I didn't bother with that, I just asked my husband to get me a box of liquid iron. Again, I've read that the liquid form absorbs better anyway.
I felt much better on Tuesday and went to work as usual, however I started to get some pain in my lower back. Nothing too awful, but I still decided to do some yoga stretches that had helped me in the past. By Wednesday the pain was much worse, again I was at work and sitting at my desk was becoming painful.
After work on Wednesday I had my whooping cough injection. The nurse was running behind so we were waiting around for about an hour before I was seen. I think my back pain can be attributed to all the sitting around I've done this week in waiting rooms and at work. It's so important to look after your posture and your back when your pregnant ladies, back pain is excruciatingly painful. If you can, try and do some strengthening exercises. When we were finally called in for the vaccination I was actually quite scared. I could feel my palms sweating which is not like me at all. Anyway, it was over in a blink, it hurt a bit but I survived.
My backache however was really bad at this point. I couldn't bend to pick up my daughter or stoop to change her nappy. Sitting was painful and no amount of yoga was helping. I don't like to take painkillers while pregnant but especially not while I'm breastfeeding so I just spent Wednesday evening and Thursday relaxing and laying on my back!
Thankfully the pain has improved considerably today. I'm doing some simple pregnancy yoga when I can (downward dog standing against a wall and the child's position) but both are hard with an ever protruding belly! My left arm however is still quite painful (I don't remember any pain from the injection last time)! I'm officially 29 weeks today, so I'm a little worried about the next 11 weeks, especially with my little girl. I don't want to have any more weeks like this one but I fear what's to come will be worse. I think the best thing to do now is to keep as active as I can, but also to rest more. I'm hoping the coming week will be a little easier and will help lift my spirit.