Anaemia (low iron levels) in pregnancy & iron tablets
Many ladies are diagnosed with low iron levels during pregnancy and are prescribed iron tablets.
Iron tablets themselves do not cause raises in blood sugar levels, but you have to be careful what you take them with.
To help absorb the iron, it’s advised by many health care professionals to take the tablet with vitamin C and so it’s is commonly advised to take the tablet with orange juice.
Bearing in mind that orange juice has high amounts of fructose (natural sugar) and is used for insulin controlled diabetics to raise blood sugar levels rapidly, within 15 minutes when having hypos, it is strongly advisable to avoid using OJ to take iron tablets.
Eating an orange would be preferable over drinking juice as the fibrous flesh and pith will take slightly longer to process.
Oranges and citrus fruits like clementines are still not tolerable for many mothers with gestational diabetes and so alternatives are required.
Avoid drinking tea with your iron tablet as the tannin in tea inhibits iron absorption.
Alternative Vitamin C sources
There’s lots of foods which contain more vitamin C than oranges!
Strawberries, kiwis, peppers (especially red peppers), broccoli, leafy green veg and cauliflower all contain high or good amounts of vitamin C.
We’re not suggesting you eat a lump of broccoli for breakfast, but perhaps strawberries or kiwi with mixed nuts and seeds, or a red pepper diced into an omelette would be a good breakfast for you to try and also helps the iron tablet absorption.
Another commonly used product used for iron levels is Spatone. If you don’t like the taste then you could try drinking it in diet, zero, sugar free carbonated drinks!