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.

To Be A Giant

Some time after we had moved to our current accommodation we were contacted by the company who owns the flat, Familjebostäder, who wanted to send a photographer to take pictures (obviously) of Jo and Freya, for use in their adverts/website. I have never known how they found out about and decided Jo and Freya should be the models they were after, and it feels slightly creepy thinking about it, though I’ve no doubt the methods used were above board, and no spies or hidden cameras were used.

Despite our foreknowledge it was still a pleasant surprise going to their site and seeing us (I say “us”, even though I was not asked to appear, not even in the background, under a bed, out of focus). Freya, however, being used to seeing digital pictures of us all on the computer, and not really understanding the concept of the Internet, was unmoved by the whole thing. Until the large-scale version came along, that is.

A few months ago Jo was again contacted by the FB(I), this time wanting to know if they could employ one of the pictures in a larger format. Jo was okay with the idea, thinking it would probably be a couple of metre-high indoor advertisements that’d be easy enough to miss or (mis)take as part of the surrounding scenery.

A 7-metre high hanging is currently emblazoning the FBI offices in Stockholm. Not quite what Jo had imagined when she gave the okay; in fact, very few (minus egomaniacs) could have foreseen the enormity of the end result. Even Freya was (quietly) impressed.

Sisterly Love

Well, it’s week nine of Jo’s pregnancy – little baby is currently about 2.5 – 3cm long (should that be tall?), with 2mm long feet – and I’m still trying not to think too much about the possibility of a sibling for Freya, in case anything goes wrong.

Freya, on the other hand, is taking it all very well. She often strokes, cuddles and kisses Mum’s tummy, which is cuteness beyond belief. She has been telling us all the things she can do to help the baby: holding its hand when we cross the road, holding it when it goes to toilet, carrying it to us when it cries, and feeding it.

Mum explained that for the first year or so she’ll be breast feeding. Freya ingeniously explained that she could put some food on her breast, and the baby could eat from there. Mum then explained that the milk she produces would be better for baby, to which Freya said nothing more.

Freya really is very keen on the idea of a brother/sister. I hope she gets one.

The Beginning Of A New Life?

Jo has just taken a pregnancy test, with a positive result. Still extremely early days, with so much that can go wrong, but a hopeful Jon and Jo sit here tonight.

It explains a lot about Jo’s recent inability to appreciate red wine, and the possibility of Jo soon finding everything I say extremely funny (as with her first pregnancy) could be on the horizon. It also may see a boom in broccoli and spinach sales.

Not much else to say, really. Fingers crossed.

Friends Reunited

The end of my summer holidays is looming closer, and I haven’t written a thing that has happened over the last one and a half months. There is so much to write about I don’t think I’ll be able to work through the backlog with enough time to do the whole period justice, so I’ll just summarize a few of the more interesting happenings over the next few entries.

Meanwhile, Jo and I have recently succumbed to the social networking site that is Facebook. It was only a matter of time before we signed up to one the various social networks out there, and it was an invitation from Ralph that got us hooked. And we are hooked.

Thanks to Facebook I have finally found two people with whom I had lost contact: my best friend at secondary school, Mike, and his brother, Adrian. As well as spending many evenings roaming the local area with Mike, we all lived and worked together in 1987, at their parents’ then recently purchased pub in Shropshire.

It just remains to catch up with them and the other long-lost acquaintances I have found through the site. This, in itself, is quite a feat, considering the gap of between ten and twenty years history we need to exchange.