Veganism And The Art Of Iron Levels During Pregnancy

Since Freya’s conception I’ve been aware of the importance of iron-levels during pregnancy, making sure Jo not only got an increased amount of iron-rich vegan foods, but which foodstuffs to combine/avoid in order to effect a higher intake of the much-needed mineral; however, it wasn’t until last week I actually bothered to find out why, and what the test results actually mean.

Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein found in red blood-cells. Its function, amongst others, is to carry oxygen to other cells, like a pizza delivery guy. About 1/3 of a woman’s iron reserves are given to the child, which makes it reasonably vital that a decent iron level is maintained.

Before Jo got pregnant with version 2, her “blodvärde” was around 130. This number represents the number of grams of hemoglobin per litre of blood, and should be between 120 – 150 g/l for women. During her first checkup mid-January her level sank to 111, which was low, but not quite sufficiently so to start taking iron supplements; when Jo was tested a second time, last week, her level had risen to 127. The midwife was, apparently, impressed.

I was going to end this entry with an aside that spinach is not, as everyone believes it to be, a fantastic source of iron, due to it also including a fair amount of oxalates, which inhibit iron absorption. Without doubt, that would have been a perfectly good and informative finishing sentence to an otherwise quite mundane blog, but then I chanced upon MakeupTalk’s forum, that had a question about low hemoglobin:

Just got my blood results back and my midwife said I have low hemoglobin in my blood but its nothing to worry about. Apparantely its caused by lack of iron. Is it safe to take iron/vitamin supplements through pregnancy?

asks ForeverPink, to which one of the forum moderators, Lia, replies:

Every pregnant woman HAS to take iron to supplement the body, because the income by food isn’t enough – to women who doesn’t have anemia, it’s 300mg per day, and for those who have, more. You should take it every day, and it’s at least 600mg if i’m not mistaken.

Check with an ob-gyn about it, because he/she will be able to treat you correctly.

Obviously Lia is talking shite; even capitalising will not make it any truer, Lia. In none of the articles I’ve read has it ever once stated that one HAS to take iron tablets (maybe the law is different in Brazil, which wouldn’t surprise me), with a certain site informing me that one should never take iron tablets if one’s level is not low.

What I found more worthwhile than that nugget of bollocks as an end to this entry, though, was Lia’s forum signature, which comes from the lips of Lia, herself:

Learn everything you can, you never know when you might need it.

Brilliant, Lia.