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Old 02-24-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
squiddles
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Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

I'm so confused
My midwife was showing me my iron levels yesterday... and comparing them to my other pregnancies... and they are currently at 31, so she suggested increasing my iron intake...
So, I get online tonight and google, "iron levels in pregnancy" and find all these forums talking about it but the numbers people are using there are much lower, like 9-12.... or much much higher, like 100....

So, now I have no idea where my numbers fall on the spectrum... I could ask my MW, but I would have to wait until monday

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Old 02-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

Huh, that is confusing. I just had mine checked at WIC and it was 12.4, and the lady said that was really good. ???
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:31 PM   #3
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

There are a couple of different ways of measuring iron/red blood cells. (I'm not an expert, so this is just what I have gathered along the way.)

Hematocrit is the percentage of your blood that is red blood cells (and this is related to iron because your body needs iron to make red blood cells). That's a percentage, and for women, a normal number when not pregnant is something between 35 and 45%. It's usually reported without the percentage, though, so 38, or whatever. It sounds like that's the measurement your midwife was using.

Hemoglobin is the protein that binds with the red blood cells and contains the iron. For non-pregnant women, a normal number is 12 to 16. These two measurements are two ways of getting the same kind of information (how well your body is making red blood cells).

The 100 numbers you're finding online--I'm not sure what those are, but probably some other measurement.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:53 PM   #4
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

Thank you!! That makes so much more sense... I googled hematocrit levels this time, and it says levels lower than 33 during pregnancy are too low... which makes sense for me...
THANKS!
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:15 AM   #5
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

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Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
There are a couple of different ways of measuring iron/red blood cells. (I'm not an expert, so this is just what I have gathered along the way.)

Hematocrit is the percentage of your blood that is red blood cells (and this is related to iron because your body needs iron to make red blood cells). That's a percentage, and for women, a normal number when not pregnant is something between 35 and 45%. It's usually reported without the percentage, though, so 38, or whatever. It sounds like that's the measurement your midwife was using.

Hemoglobin is the protein that binds with the red blood cells and contains the iron. For non-pregnant women, a normal number is 12 to 16. These two measurements are two ways of getting the same kind of information (how well your body is making red blood cells).

The 100 numbers you're finding online--I'm not sure what those are, but probably some other measurement.


Last preg I was measuring at 32 (which I thought was pretty good considering I haven't not been anemic in over 10 years). I haven't got my blood checked yet this pregnancy - might in a few weeks, but we already know that I am anemic and that I'm taking as much iron as possible anyway.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:10 AM   #6
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

I was wondering this same thing cause mine came back at 31 and when I googled it, all I found also was the lower range of numbers so I was really confused also!

Did they say when they will re-test you? I am almost 36 weeks and still haven't been tested again.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:20 PM   #7
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

My MW does 3 checks - one early, one mid, and one at the end of pregnancy. She skipped the middle one for me cause I HATE needles, I already knew it was low, and I was already taking supplements.

My next and last check is at 36 weeks
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: Can someone explain iron levels in pregnancy?

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Originally Posted by Kiliki View Post
My MW does 3 checks - one early, one mid, and one at the end of pregnancy. She skipped the middle one for me cause I HATE needles, I already knew it was low, and I was already taking supplements.

My next and last check is at 36 weeks
Thanks!! That is what mine has done so far...an early one, a mid one (which was at the same time as my GD screen) and my 36-week appt is next week so maybe she will check again.
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