DIET AND FITNESS:

Ideal Diet for Preeclampsia and
High Blood Pressure During
Pregnancy
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Last updated November 14, 2016 (originally published January 21,
2010
)

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist


Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy
that is characterized by high blood pressure and the
presence of proteins in your urine.  Preeclampsia usually
occurs, if at all, after the 20th week of pregnancy.  

Also known as “toxemia” or inaccurately called “pregnancy
related hypertension”, preeclampsia was first identified over
2000 years ago by the Roman medical writer Aulus Cornelius
Celsus, who observed mysterious deadly seizures among
pregnant women.  These seizures appear much like epileptic
fits, with loss of consciousness and frothing at the mouth.

Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, with
serious complications including seizures, blood clots
(thrombosis), accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary
edema), coma, kidney failure, brain damage and death.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, approximately 3 to 8 % of all pregnant women in
America experience preeclampsia and high blood pressure
(hypertension), a precondition of preeclampsia, accounts for
almost 15% of deaths among pregnant women. Worldwide,
more than 33% of women with preeclampsia die during
childbirth or shortly after delivery.

Once diagnosed with preeclampsia, you face a higher risk of
miscarriage. Even after you deliver, preeclampsia puts you at
a higher risk for heart disease for the remainder of your life.

Preeclampsia is different from simple high blood pressure
during pregnancy. High blood pressure is a symptom of
preeclampsia. You can have high blood pressure without also
having preeclampsia.  But merely having high blood pressure
is a serious condition for pregnant women.  If you have high
blood pressure during your pregnancy, you are at a high risk
for hypertension following delivery.

Because preeclampsia is a different condition from simple
high blood pressure, the treatments are different. Medicines
and foods which help to reduce high blood pressure, such as
garlic, have no effect whatsoever on reducing your risk for
preeclampsia or reducing preeclampsia symptoms. And vice-
versa, the foods which reduce your risk for preeclampsia are
not the typical foods that lower blood pressure.

What foods reduce preeclampsia risk? What type of diet
lowers your risk for developing high blood pressure during
pregnancy? Based upon research studies, here are the foods
that reduce the risk for preeclampsia and high blood
pressure during pregnancy:



























1.
Calcium Reduces Preeclampsia Risk by 50%.  Calcium and
calcium-rich foods reduce your risk for preeclampsia. A
landmark 2006 study jointly conducted by researchers from
the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of
Fort Hare in South Africa found that calcium supplementation
cuts the risk of pre-eclampsia by 50%.  The study examined
the records of nearly 15,000 women who took 1 gram (1000
milligrams) of calcium daily. Not only was pre-eclampsia risk
cut in half but the risk that the children would later develop
childhood hypertension was also reduced significantly.

What foods should you include in your diet to reduce
preclampsia risk? Calcium-rich foods include milk, sardines,
low-fat cheese, mackerel and yogurt. For breakfast, try a
yogurt parfair topped with strawberries.

2.  
Vitamin C and E May Help to Reduce Preeclampsia. Here,
the evidence is mixed. One 2002 study from King’s College in
London caused excitement in the medical community when it
reported that Vitamin C supplements appeared to reduce pre-
eclampsia risk. In this study, women were given 1000 mg of
Vitamin C and 400 IU’s (international Units) of Vitamin E
each day.  

The study examined 3 groups of women. The first two
groups ---one of 79 women and another of 81 women –
were both at high risk for preeclampsia.  The third group of
32 women was at low risk for preeclampsia.   Only one of
the high risk groups was given the Vitamin C and Vitamin E
supplements.  At the end of the study, researchers found
that the group of high-risk women who had taken Vitamin C
and E supplements had almost identical blood chemistries to
the healthy group of low-risk women.  


The "bad" biological markers for preeclampsia , such as
plasminogen activator inhibitor-2, and placenta growth
factor concentrations decreased; and "good" markers such
as 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2alpha), leptin, and the
plasminogen activator inhibitor increased.

However, later attempts to replicate these results produced
opposite conclusions. In these later studies, one of which
was conducted in 2009 by Oxford University researchers
under the auspices of the World Health Organization, Vitamin
C and E supplementation had no effect on pre-eclampsia
risk. That study found “Supplementation was not associated
with a reduction of pre-eclampsia , eclampsia, gestational
hypertension, nor any other maternal outcome. “

Bottom line? For now, the evidence is inconclusive on the
effectiveness of Vitamin C supplementation for lowering pre-
eclampsia risk. The good news is that there is no downside
to keeping your Vitamin C and E levels ade
quate and you
could possibly reduce your risk of preeclampsia.  

Try adding bell
peppers  to your diet. Bell peppers have a
higher concentration of Vitamin C than oranges.
Green bell
peppers contain 378 mg of Vitamin C per cup compared to
51 mg for a small orange.


3.  
Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in General but Doesn’t Help
Preeclamsia
. Garlic helps to lower blood pressure in women
with hypertension. However, a study from the University of
Liverpool in 2006 found that garlic has no effect whatsoever
on preeclampsia risk.

4.  
These Foods Don't Appear to Interfere with
Recommended Treatment for Chronic Hypertension in
Pregnancy.
 In the U.S., physicians often recommend alpha-
methyldopa to counter hypertension during pregnancy.  This
treatment is prescribed because typical antihypertensive
medications may be unsafe for pregnant women.

You’ve heard of “ACE inhibitors”, the angiotensin-converting
enzymes now popular for treating hypertension. These are
not recommended for women who are pregnant. So, if you
already have high blood pressure before you become
pregnant, you will need to discuss a possible medication
change with your doctor.  

Supplementation with calcium, Vitamin C or Vitamin E has
not been found to interfere with alpha-methyl dopa. But, as
in all cases where you are taking doctor-prescribed
medicaations, check first with your doctor before changing
your diet.

4.  
Essential Minerals May Reduce Preeclampsia Risk. One
important study in 1995 conducted by the Collaborative
Eclampsia Trial found that women who took magnesium
sulfate had a 52% lower risk of recurrent seizures and a
26% lower risk of maternal death than women on other
prescribed medication (diazepam or phenytoin).  

A separate study of
magnesium, calcium and zinc’s link to
preeclampsia confirmed that the levels of these essential
minerals is low in women with preeclampsia as compared
with the levels found in the blood of healthy pregnant
women. This study suggested that supplementation with
magnesium, calcium and zinc may significantly reduce
preeclampsia risk.

Update:
Aspirin for Preeclampsia?

Should you take aspirin to prevent preeclampsia? The jury is
still out on this one. Several studies have found that women
at risk for preeclampsia experience reduced incidences of
preeclampsia is they take  low dosage (approximately 80
milligrams) of aspirin daily. However, many studies have
found that aspirin has little to no effect on preeclampsia risk.

For example, in 1995 the Royal Women's Hospital of
Melbourne Australia issued a position statement on the issue,
announcing that aspirin should only be used for women in 3
situations:

1. Women who miscarried after their first trimester, with
placental insufficiency

2. Women whose babies suffered  severely slow fetal
growth  in a prior pregnancy either because of  preeclampsia
or for unknown reasons and

3. Women whose early-onset preeclampsia in a prior
pregnancy made it necessary that they delivery at or before
32 weeks' gestation.















































Related:
Tired During Pregnancy? -Causes and Cures /
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure/
Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure / How Much Is Too Much Salt?
/
Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for
Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal
Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods That
Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-
The Other Cholesterol/

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