Pregnancy Week 29 – Why My Diet Wasn’t Good Enough

In Editorials, Pregnancy by Prudence2 Comments

I’m 38 and pregnant with baby number three. The last few weeks have been really difficult and a healthy diet alone couldn’t help me.

Who said pregnancy was easy? I think it might have been me last year  just before I fell pregnant again – it would seem that you do forget the rough patches along the way to motherhood. From week 26 I felt increasingly unwell but like most busy mums I put it down to doing too much and tiring myself out. My sleep patterns were dire, sometimes I would only manage 3 hours a night yet I was constantly exhausted. I was anxious about practically everything from finances to whether there was any milk in the fridge – I actually cried when there wasn’t any toothpaste left. I was suffering from the worst leg cramps I have ever experienced with the bruise-like after pain remaining in my calf for two or three days afterwards. Whenever I walked up the stairs I found myself utterly out of breath and when sitting down I would have awful heart palpitations which for someone as squeamish as me is not pleasant. The final straw came when I fainted at the cash machine and not as the result of seeing an unusually large balance I’m saddened to say. Luckily my darling ten year old managed to somehow move me to a bench until I came round before dashing to buy me a drink to increase my BP and blood sugar – he is most certainly a doctor in the making. Fainting in public made me think that it was probably about time that I mentioned my declining health to the midwife.

I had a couple of blood tests last Monday and received a telephone call first thing on Tuesday to tell me that I was pretty badly anaemic. In retrospect I feel really rather daft for not spotting the symptoms – it was glaringly obvious. My diet is incredibly iron rich with me consuming vast quantities of raw spinach, pulses, red meat and I always wash these down with freshly made juiced oranges. No amount of healthy eating could replenish my waning iron stores though so I am now on iron tablets.

I am incredibly grateful to live in a country where I have access to modern medicine and where I can be seen by my midwife or GP at a moments notice. In Africa anaemia accounts for 20% of maternal deaths in stark contrast to the developed world where the condition is easily treated. I was offered the well meant opinion of a person who suggested that I up my intake of iron rich foods ( I think I would actually turn green if I ate any more leafy veg) rather than take the ferrous sulfate tablets because medicine is ‘bad’. I wouldn’t dream of risking the health of my baby or indeed myself when I can take the pills. I must say that when you know what a difference such a small packet of tablets could make to a mum-to-be in an underdeveloped part of the world it seems horribly insulting to even consider not taking them.

Since beginning my medication I have seen a big improvement to my health and well being. I no longer feel as though I will fall asleep at any given moment and I don’t feel anxious about little things like walking to the shops. It really is quite amazing the difference the tiny tablets have made to my life this week. I am looking forward to the next few weeks of enjoying life with my lovely little lumpy bumpy.

How I’m Feeling.
The tablets do have side-effects but they pale by comparison to the ill effects of the anaemia. The main issue is the dreaded constipation which I am battling with heavy doses of wheat based cereals and lots of liquids. Rather a slightly ‘iffy’ tummy than a complete inability to function.

My Family
My 10 and 5 year old noticed that I was not well and bent over backwards to help me. They cleaned and tidied without being asked, enforced a mum ‘ quiet-time’ and made me countless drinks. They are super kids and I am so proud of them both. They are much happier to have mum back to her usual self.

Home Education
I’d be lying awfully if I said that everything had carried on as normal. We were saved by Edplace which I will review in full very soon (there will be a discount code available too so watch this space). The online worksheet style activities combined with a great reward system is great and they can’t get enough of it. I was too tired to prepare activities so having this resource there gave me the well needed time to recover.


  1. Katie Clark

    I am so glad you’re starting to feel better and that the iron tablets are doing their job. You must be so proud of your wonderful boys too 🙂

  2. Julia Gadian

    So glad you are feeling better Prue, the same thing happened to me , baby number 3 , aged 39, no amount of eating iron rich foods will do it, you have to take the tablets. Its a very interesting point you make about ‘taking medicine’ in this country, people dont seem to realise how lucky we are to have access to medical attention and medicine whenever we want. Anyway, thank goodness you are ok, and your boys sound so lovely and so grown up the way they are looking out for you. Keep well x

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