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Why my Home Birth is at Risk at 28 Weeks

Orange juice can help with iron absorption. Photo by topfer.

So today I got a call from my midwife with the results from my 28 week blood work and it’s not super great news. On the one hand, it explains a lot about what I’ve been feeling lately. On the other hand, my desire for a home birth is at risk again.

My iron levels were low. Very low. A full point below the cut off for a home birth. My levels were at a 9.8 and 10.8 is the minimum their backup physician will approve for a home birth. So I am on a pretty strict supplementation schedule to raise my iron levels up again (they were a 12.1 at the first trimester blood work) so I will be able to have a home birth.

On top of that, my blood sugar levels were rather low as well. The very lowest side of still-normal at the time of testing. Which means my body is using up the food I eat within 2 hours and then has nothing left. And here I thought I was tired because I was so busy!

So what am I doing to help with low iron levels?

I have chlorophyl capsules I am taking twice a day. I’m also taking a liquid iron supplement called Floradex twice a day. There is an iron tablet I’m taking once a day with Emergen-C (did you know Vitamin C helps increase your body’s absorption of iron?).

I’m also making some dietary changes. Cutting back on caffeine (*gulp*) and making sure I don’t have any with my iron supplements (did you know that caffeine can inhibit your ability to absorb iron?) which means careful planning in the morning especially.

I will also be breaking out my cast iron pots and skillets again (we don’t use them as much during the summer) and am grateful we were able to pick up some more laying hens at the Farmer’s Market this weekend. Eggs are a great source of iron as well as many other vitamins, nutrients and minerals, but free range chicken eggs have higher levels of nutrients than the typical commercially produced egg.

What’s ironic is that I KNOW these things. I teach these things. I help other pregnant women during their pregnancies learn about how to maintain healthy iron levels. Cobbler’s shoes anyone? It’s actually rather embarrassing and a sign that I don’t always take care of myself the way I should.

Pray for me. I’m official in my last trimester and need to raise my iron levels enough that I can still have a home birth. Otherwise anemia presents an added risk to home birth that will have me birthing at a hospital instead – and well outside my comfort zone.

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