How do you know if you have enough iron for a healthy pregnancy? Well, most doctors check a CBC (complete blood count) or Hct (hematocrit) which measures as a percentage the number of Red Blood Cells (RBSs) in the blood. A normal value is 32-36 in a pregnant woman, but when it drops below 30 the term “anemia” is applied. This means that you have a low blood count, you feel tired, and your developing pregnancy is not getting the proper blood supply. I like to say that the the Hct is similar to your car’s speedometer, and on your 8 hour trip to the mountains you see that your car is traveling at 35mph and all is going well. Did you check your gas gauge? You are low on gas? Well, that is when the ferritin blood level comes in, it is the measurement of your body’s iron “gas tank”.
Here is what you need to know. A ferritin level below 20 is extremely low and we recommend two iron tablets of Iron daily. A desirable and healthy pre-pregnant ferritin level should be 75-100. It would take an entire year of double dose iron to get your “gas tank” if you are below 20. So there you have it, the simple and most important guideline for a healthy, anemic free, pregnancy.
What is so bad about being anemic in pregnancy? Well, you have heard of pregnancy complications? We have seen the following with patients who have ferritin levels below 20. We have a very high incidence of early miscarriages, preterm labor, toxemia, newborn anemia, and poor fetal growth as seen on ultrasound.
How can we help? We have a special available now to help you with your pregnancy planning. Our patients can have their CBC and Ferritin checked for only $49, including the blood drawing fee! Call us 408-258-3724