Friday, June 1, 2012

Week 8~A Word About Iron and Sleep

Pregnancy: Week 8


Baby's now the size of a raspberry! 
Baby is growing like mad, putting on about a millimeter every day and continuing to straighten out in the trunk. Though you can't feel it yet, baby is moving those little arms, legs, and (now only slightly) webbed fingers and toes like crazy.  (
2 months down, only 7(+ or -) to go!  I love knowing that those little fingers and toes are already formed and wiggling inside me.  Oh, how i love babies!
This week is much like last week as far as nausea-still around, but not too bad as long as i monitor my food consumption.  What is different this week is the need for lots of SLEEP ; ) 

Just 3 or so weeks ago, I was still functioning normally, going to bed late (usually midnight or later), getting up around 7:30am or so and not needing to nap at all.  
My days go like this right now:  
drag myself out of bed around 8am, sometimes later, 
rest on the couch mid morning for about an hour, 
take a nap after lunch for about 1-1.5 hours, 
crawl into bed around 10:30-exhausted! 
Just can't get enough sleep ; )  
And of course, for good reason.  My body is going through an extraordinary change that requires me to fully submit myself and my time to growing a new life.  Thankfully, this is just a season.  In a couple of months, I'll be more energetic.  For now, we are just getting through one day at a time with very low expectations.

Moving on to vitamins~
This topic may take several posts to get through as there are lots and lots of things you should know about vitamins and supplements.  Of course i won't be hitting all of them, just a few, but i encourage you to really research how to have a natural and healthy pregnancy.

Something new I learned recently and have been joyfully implementing this pregnancy is natural iron.
Past pregnancies, I have always struggled with iron deficiencies (anemia) from beginning to end.  My last pregnancy (5th) was worst with my iron count dropping down in the 9's (should have been 11+) just 4 weeks before my due date.  My midwife said I had to get my numbers up if i wanted to have a home birth and a healthy baby.  That kicked me into action and i began an impossible trek (as a doctor told me) to get back up to 11 in 4 weeks.  I took Floridix (a liquid mineral supplement), Shaklee's Alfalfa with peppermint (small tablets-10 per day in 1 loading dose), Blood Builder (also tablets but i can't remember what was in them), 1-2 tablespoon fulls of Blackstrap Molasses per day (i was really motivated!), and a lot of prayer!  One or all of these items worked because when my blood was re-tested, i was up to 11.4.

Fast-forward a year and half when my cycles started back up, i noticed that i felt really weak and tired the first day of my cycle.  I also got winded very easily, as i always do in pregnancy-are you catching on??  A friend mentioned that my heavy breathing was due to a lack of iron and that i needed to be supplementing it in some form.  Amazingly, when i did this, the symptoms went away.  Since i always deal with anemia in pregnancy, i decided that i would take the Alfalfa tablets every day but i adjusted the dosage from 10 down to 4 as i found that too much caused my blood vessels to get huge and pop very easily.  With 4 though, it was perfect for me.  I did this for the 6 months prior to conceiving and when my midwife checked my blood at 6 weeks, i was at 12.4.  Higher than I've ever started a pregnancy and at a healthy level.  I really think this is why i feel so much better this time around.  And guess what?  My typical heavy breathing pregnancy trademark is non-existent!  

So if you struggle with anemia or even just the windedness/heavy breathing, look into supplementing your iron! 

A word on natural iron versus the metal iron found in vitamins:
  Most people experience constipation and other side effects from the iron in their vitamin.  If you are concerned about this, find a vitamin with low iron levels but then supplement with a natural form of iron such as i listed above or eat foods that are naturally iron rich such as sunflower seeds, spinach, various meats, and blackstrap molasses.  Google "natural iron foods" to find more specific ideas.

How has iron affected you before or during pregnancy?  Any ideas, advice or questions are encouraged and appreciated! 

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