The worst of the nausea appears to have past and now in my 25th week I am on to my next pregnancy challenge: anemia. The nausea has seriously curtailed the variety of foods I can eat. Over the past two months my cravings have dwindled down to; bean burritos, tomatillo salsa, hamburgers, potatoes and spinach salads. The beans, burgers and spinach are high in iron, and the salsa and potatoes high in Vitamin C which you need to metabolize iron. After a time I began to wonder why my appetite was so clustered around the nutrient iron.
Additionally, I have some serious heartburn.
Per the doctor’s safe list of OTC meds I have been using TUMS, eating them like mad at the rate of one every two hours over the course of a night. As my fatigue is increasing I begin to wonder what has changed, other than that I’m knocked up, of course.
TUMS are made of calcium carbonate. What does excess calcium do to you? A bit of Googling and Voila! – calcium decreases iron absorption.
And there was more to come. Water, either tap or bottled, tastes off to me, like soap or rust depending on the source. But it is summer. I am pregnant, hot and thirsty. So I found an alternative: iced tea. Now I don’t drink just one glass a day. I have been guzzling around one pitcher a day. (By the way, at this stage of the game I have perfected my tea recipe- two regular black tea bags and one orange pekoe tea bag to 4 cups of boiling water, steep for 3 minutes, pour into container and fill to the top with cold water and ice cubes. Aahh, very nice. 🙂 )
What could be so bad about iced tea? I don’t add sugar and I like the cold, slightly bitter thin taste.
Another googling expedition about anemia brought up another tidbit. Excessive coffee or tea drinking can decrease iron absorption by around 87%. Whoops! Am I getting any iron from those iron-rich meals I crave?
Wondering if my theory had any medical basis I spoke with the nurse midwife who looked at me and said emphatically, “I want you off of that.”
Hmmm. . . Do ya’ think?. 😉
I am now controlling the heartburn with Pepcid. I am off the TUMS for the duration, plus I can only imbibe one regular glass of tea a day. Without those two substances my body should be able to uptake the iron from my meals and within three weeks or so I should begin feeling better. Right now I want to sit on the couch with the fan blowing on me and stare at the TV, definitely not me. But I am beginning to feel more hopeful as my fears of three more months of debilitating fatigue appear to be unfounded.