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  • B12 deficiency, pregnancy

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    Old 08-15-2009, 11:22 AM   #1
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    B12 deficiency, pregnancy

    Hello everyone!

    I am 21 weeks pregnant with my 4th child. I have had a number of issues throughout my pregnancy. I started off very early with tachycardia/palpitations. Soon after I started experiencing severe exhaustion -- like I would wake up at 8 am and by 11 am I would be useless. Too tired to move and breathe. Work was very difficult and home was impossible. I thought the exhaustion was a normal part of pregnancy so I just dealt with it, even though it was seriously interfering with my life at work and at home.

    At the beginning of July I was feeling extra horrible. I was having major tachycardia and started getting lightheaded/dizzy, and my exhaustion was at its peak. It was recommended that I go to the ER so I did. They took me very seriously and I was admitted to the cardiac floor. Even though I thought the exhaustion/fatigue was pregnancy related I mentioned that as well.

    Fortunately my heart is ok. I was on a heart monitor for 24 hours and there was nothing sinister detected (I have had an echo which was normal and my Holter monitor I had worn previously, while detecting tach up to 160 bpm, detected no abnormalities). I was instructed to take it easy and avoid getting dizzy/passing out and I should be able to avoid heart meds.

    Also while I was there they did tons of blood tests. Everything came back normal except for my B12 levels (it was 180). I was prescribed 4 weekly injections to be followed by monthly injections. All of my other labs were normal -- cbc, metabolic panel, iron studies, thyroid, etc (I don't have the values except for the B12 but I can tell you the tests they ran if you want to know). She also said that while my folic acid was in the normal range it was lower than she would expect of a pregnant woman taking prenatal vitamins. She prescribed a prenatal vitamin for me to take that was different from the one I was taking.

    A few days after I left the hospital (and after I got my first shot) I was feeling so much better exhaustion-wise. Sure, I got tired, but nothing like before. I was feeling so much more normal! I was glad they had detected the B12 deficiency and that there was an actual treatment.

    My last injection was July 24th and I'm really sorry to admit that right now I feel as horrible as I did before my hospitalization. I've felt badly for a few days and now I know something is wrong. I've also had diarrhea for the last 2 weeks. Today I've had several dizzy spells.

    I'm worried there is something going on that is preventing me from retaining B12 or absorbing it or something. I'm going to go see my regular doctor on Monday but wondered if you all had any advice or insight.

    Sorry for the novel!

    Monica

    Last edited by signing; 08-15-2009 at 11:25 AM.

     
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    Old 08-15-2009, 05:40 PM   #2
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    Re: B12 deficiency, pregnancy

    I have B12 deficiency as well, for a different reason - hemolytic anemia.
    Many things have to be in balance when you get a B12 deficiency. First of all, did they test your ferritin? That is your iron stores. If your ferritin is low, it means you need to bump up your iron intake. (Most savvy drs want ferritin above 70, but anything above 10 is considered normal, so sometimes they gloss over it. This value is found in your iron studies, so you can look.)

    When you're B12 deficient and you get an injection, your body gets busy using it. And when it sends the B12 to the necessary places, it uses up more potassium, folic acid and ferritin to get it there. So, if your folic acid was low before your B12 injection, your body won't be able to properly use the B12, and then you'll get even more folic acid deficiency, which is not good! And folic acid deficiency has the symptoms you describe as well. Pallor, fatigue, etc. So you may need not only the B12 injections, but prescription folic acid - I take 1mg - normal vitamins only have 400 mcg - so the prescription strength is way, way more.

    B12 deficiency is a huge struggle for me. When I'm low I get tingly hands, exhaustion, foot pain, depression and a mental fog where I can't put words together. It is more debilitating than low hemoglobin to me.

    My advice would be continue weekly injections, get proper folic acid levels, eat lots of bananas and from my experience, it takes a few months of B12 levels above 800 to feel normal. Good days happen, then bad, then good - it's not all forward progress. BTW - your level was *very* low - my hema says it's severe below 400 - neurological symptoms, so it will take time to get better especially since you're pregnant. Just consider yourself lucky they found it - because if left untreated, you can get nerve damage.

    Hope this helps. Feel better!!!
    Jill

     
    Old 08-31-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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    Re: B12 deficiency, pregnancy

    Hello, thank you for your reply.

    I got my bloods rechecked and got the results today.

    RBC was 3.75
    Hemoglobin was 11.6
    Hematocrit was 34.5

    Doc just wants to continue the B12 injections and recheck the CBC in a month. Says my numbers may indicate anemia.

    Is there anything else I should be doing?

    Thanks.

     
    Old 09-03-2009, 07:17 PM   #4
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    Re: B12 deficiency, pregnancy

    Continue your vitamins and ask if the amount of iron is enough. I take 325 ferrous fumerate twice a day on an empty stomach. It took 3 months to bring my hemoglobin count from 9 to 13! YAY! I feel like a new woman with all this oxygen going on in my blood.

    And keep up with the B12 shots. If weekly shots are a possibility, that's what I'd choose. It will make you feel better after a few weeks and it will also raise your red count. It all works together.

     
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