Over the last two or three weeks or so I’ve been increasingly emotional.  My husband had been proud of me for taking pregnancy hormones in my stride up until that point.  I had lost my temper a little worse than might be usual he said,  but not about anything that wouldn’t have made me angry under other circumstances.  My tempers had largely, in his opinion, been rational and none had been directed at him.  Recently however, it had all seemed to get a little bit out of control.

I’ve been tired and rather blue.  It’s been easy for me to feel sorry for myself and for my thoughts to become quite negative.  I’ve cried at the drop of a hat.  I’ve not felt overly engaged with the world and my isolationist tendencies have been coming very much to the fore.  I’ve been turning inward somewhat.  I thought this was all hormones making me over-sensitive.  Not so, it turns out.  I am anaemic.

I found this out when the receptionist at the doctors called to tell me that I had a prescription to pick up.  I can’t say much for how helpful a receptionist or an untrained dispensing administrator can be when you have a prescription to collect and potentially some questions to ask but I have to say that I’m impressed with the speed of the surgery’s reactions.  They took my blood on Friday,  I collected my iron pills on Monday afternoon.

I have no idea exactly how anaemic I am, but given that the receptionist told me and the fact that I wasn’t called in for an emergency appointment, I’m guessing that the situation can’t be too bad.  25% of expectant mothers become anaemic in the developed world,  in India it’s closer to 70%.  Some of this is connected to an increase in blood plasma which lowers your haemoglobin levels quite naturally,  some is due to the baby’s needs for iron which your body will take care of before all other concerns,  just as you would wish it to.  It’s normal for your haemoglobin levels to be at their lowest at 28 weeks,  hence the blood test.  Looking at my haemoglobin levels from my booking appointment,  it was inevitable that I would be in this position right now.  Years of eating limited red meat, infact limited meat of any kind, I aim to eat around 70% vegetarian, meant that my iron levels were healthy but with little margin for error.  I’m both exasperated and amused to discover than my parents are blaming this on the NHS eating guidelines,  which they’ve decided are so weirdly draconian that clearly I am the only women in the country to be following them.

I’ve been through unconcerned,  to concerned and back again.  Ultimately I’m pleased that the problem was encountered with plenty of time for me to get my iron levels back up again before the birth.   Truth be told, as much as most women say that it takes a few weeks to feel better, I am already noticing a difference.  I slept like a log last night, far less aware of the aches and pains that had been disturbing my sleep on previous nights.  My mood has lifted.  I have more of an appetite.  I still get out of breath from time to time but I am two stone heavier than I used to be,  some of that will be unavoidable.   I am also, so far, blissfully free of the side effects that many women complain of while taking iron supplements.  Heartburn still bothers me from the late afternoon through to bedtime but it’s no worse than it was before.

I am optimistic that all will ultimately be well.  Pregnancy is an interesting experience.

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