Pregnant women who desire a home birth must maintain a minimum hematocrit level of 36%. Hematocrit is defined as the volume of red blood cells (erythrocytes) packed by centrifugation in a specific quantity of blood. If the hematocrit level falls below 36%, midwives and medical doctors generally require a hospital birth. Whether or not you are considering a home birth, your iron requirements go up significantly when you’re pregnant. Iron is essential for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases until you have almost 50 percent more than usual. And you need more iron to make more hemoglobin for all that additional blood. You also need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta.
Have your practitioner test your blood for anemia at your first prenatal appointment. One of these tests (hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells in your plasma. The other (hemoglobin) measures the number of grams of hemoglobin in your blood.
Even if you’re not anemic at the beginning of pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to develop anemia as your pregnancy progresses, so have another blood test in your late second trimester or early third trimester. It’s normal for your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels to go down somewhat in the second half of pregnancy, when the amount of blood in your body is expanding dramatically and the amount of plasma (the fluid component of blood) increases faster than the number and size of red blood cells.
If you do become anemic, you might not have any issues at all, especially if your condition is mild. Or you might feel tired, weak, and dizzy. (Of course, these are symptoms that many women experience during pregnancy, anemic or not.) You might also notice that you’re paler (especially in your fingernails, the underside
of your eyelids, and your lips). You might also notice a rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, irritability, and trouble concentrating.
Unfortunately, most women start pregnancy without sufficient stores of iron to meet their body’s increased demands, particularly in the second and third trimesters. If you get to the point where you no longer have enough iron to make the hemoglobin you need, you become anemic.
Many pregnant women report that within a week or two of taking ChlorOxygen® as well as a dietary source of iron, they experience a surge in their hematocrit levels. Within a week or so after starting treatment, you should be producing a lot of new red blood cells and your hemoglobin level will begin to rise. It usually takes just a couple of months for the anemia to resolve.