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Discomforts of Pregnancy

Avoid Preeclampsia With Proper Diet

Can Preeclampsia be prevented?

Preeclampsia is a condition that affects 5-7% of pregnant women, most often first time mothers. It is a potentially dangerous condition that must be monitored once it is detected. Although preeclampsia can strike rapidly and with no symptoms, there are generally a number of warning signs to be on the lookout for including:

  • Protein in urine
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Headaches, dizziness or fainting
  • High or elevated blood pressure
  • Excessive edema or swelling
  • Ringing in the ears

Pre-eclampsia often causes preterm birth and can also compromise the blood flow to the uterus which can result in growth problems before the baby is born. More extreme cases of pre-eclampsia can result in serious health problems to the mother including stroke, coma and death. This is why urine and blood pressure are tested weekly or bi-weekly during prenatal wellness visits.

“Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading global cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 deaths each year. ” Preeclampsia Foundation

There is no cure for preeclampsia. It can only be managed once it is diagnosed and doctors will have to weigh the health of the mother against the term of the baby to decide how to best handle it because birth or death is the only way to end preeclampsia. A recent study did find that low doses of aspirin may be useful in the treatment of preeclampsia but you should only take aspirin under the supervision of your doctor since aspirin has its own side effects.

Preeclampsia is a potentially deadly condition once it develops and no one will argue that point. The real question is whether or not preeclampsia and other related conditions can be prevented with proper diet. We believe the answer is yes, based on the actual cause of preeclampsia in the first place.

Protein spilling in the urine is one of the first signs of preeclampsia. That would lead many people to believe that women with the condition have an excess of protein in their diet but the reverse is actually true. Pregnant women who do not consume enough protein will actually begin to breakdown their own body tissues to provide protein for their growing baby.

“Very simply, if you are not getting enough protein (80 to 100 grams per day), and if you are not getting enough calcium/magnesium, your liver cannot function properly, and the tissues of the body begin metabolizing themselves to provide for your protein needs, specifically kidney tissue. Some of the protein that is broken down is excreted into the urine, which is why there will be protein in the urine. Blood pressure and edema (swelling) are due to poor mineral balance, specifically calcium/magnesium imbalance. ” Unhindered Living.com

This is why proper nutrition and protein intake is extremely important during pregnancy. Here are some tips to stay on track nutritionally during pregnancy:

1. Get 80-100 grams of protein a day. Some excellent protein sources are whey protein, hemp protein, beans, peas, nuts and nut oils and butters, seeds and their oils, organic whole raw milk from grass fed cows or goats, organic vegetarian eggs from free range chickens (safe to eat raw), wild Alaskan salmon, organic whole milk dairy products & cheese (preferably raw), brewers yeast, wheat germ, wheat grass, aloe vera juice and of course animal meat if you are not vegetarian but please choose meat that is organic, free range, grass fed for the sake of the animal and to avoid feeding unnecessary antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals to your baby.

If you eat these items on a regular basis then not only will you have no problem meeting your protein requirement but you will also be getting a slew of other vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that are crucial for proper fetal development.

2. Take a food based prenatal supplement, green superfood or both.

3. Take coral calcium with magnesium and take epsom salt baths for extra magnesium absorption

4. Drink tons of filtered water and do not limit your salt intake. Never use table salt whether you are pregnant or not. Always use sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt.

Even if you do everything right nutritionally, it is still very important to monitor your blood pressure and urine protein whether you are doing your own prenatal care or you are under the care of a midwife. If your levels or readings become elevated, it is important for you to remain vigilant as preeclampsia can quickly develop into a very dangerous, life threatening condition.

Buy the Book: Pre-eclampsia, Etiology and Clinical Practice
Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/cobalt/450373034/

About the author

naturalpregnancy – who has written posts on A Much Better Way.


Discussion

42 Responses to “Avoid Preeclampsia With Proper Diet”

  1. We read your blog posting and the MIST test can help. It is a test that can help prevent preeclampsia. With 400,000 pregnancies affected each year by hypertension, and half of those may develop preeclampsia, you should know that the MIST test is a breakthrough in medical technology that you should be asking your doctor for at 16 – 22 weeks of pregnancy. This is a completely non-invasive test, similar to an electrocardiogram, which allows you and your doctor to know 2 – 3 months in advance of the onset of preeclampsia. Symptoms may not appear until 24 – 28 weeks or later in your pregnancy but with the MIST test you can be put on a treatment plan early on, potentially saving your pregnancy and your unborn baby’s life. Visit http://www.misttechnologies.com/ for more information and start asking your doctor for your MIST test today.

    Posted by Mindy | March 19, 2008, 4:59 pm
  2. Thank you for this article! However, I would like to suggest that you change your recommendation for women to take CORAL calcium supplements, as coral-sourced (or oyster shells) supplements are at a much higher risk of being contaminated with lead, and no one wants to consume lead! Calcium citrate is a good alternative.
    Thanks!

    Posted by Melissa | November 20, 2008, 7:02 pm
  3. It’s amazing how many things can be lessed, even prevented or cured simply by switching to a healthier diet

    Posted by Jim | October 6, 2009, 1:52 am
  4. Thanks for posting this information. It will help a lot of people, especially those who are at risk in stroke/ heart attacks. What are the other advise that you can give to us to be more knowledgeable about it?

    Posted by symptoms of a stroke | November 21, 2009, 5:54 am
  5. I had never even heard of this condition. Thnaks for the insight and interesting article on the subject of preeclampsia. I am amazed at our bodies ability to begin providing for its own deficiencies by actually beginning to breakdown its own protein tissues.

    Posted by Ko | December 10, 2009, 5:02 pm
  6. Very Interesting I have yet to hear of this condition even though it seems farily common, Thanks for the information it’s nice to be able to prevent things.

    Posted by Johnathan | March 1, 2010, 11:59 am
  7. I found this article very useful. I myself suffered severely with pre-eclampsia with my daughter 6 years ago and we are both lucky to be here. My mother also suffered with me and hers even progressed into eclampsia which caused her to have eclamptic fits then went into a coma for days. I am currently expecting my second child and am extremely scared of pre-eclampsia affecting this pregnancy also. Thanks for the info

    Posted by Louise | April 11, 2010, 11:08 am
    • My wife had preeclampsia with our daughter that is now almost 2. We found out she is pregnant again. Just wanted to know what happened to your second one. Thanks

      Posted by Kinini | June 21, 2012, 7:49 pm
    • It also happened to me after I gave birth 8 years ago and I myself scared too.but tryimg to do a balanced diet aand protein it will help.Also I heard from my moms obgy doctor taking baby aspirin after 3 months it reduces the risk.all we have to do is pray

      Posted by roxane | January 19, 2013, 4:36 pm
  8. It has been my experience that green leafy veggies and a calcium lactate supplement are the best sources of calcium.

    Posted by Fort Collins Chiropractor, Dr. Matt | May 18, 2010, 9:42 am
    • ZMy wife had preeclampsia with our daughter that is now almost 2. We found out she is pregnant again. Just wanted to know what happened to your second one. Thanks

      Posted by Kinini | June 21, 2012, 8:00 pm
  9. When I was pregnate with my daughter I took prenatal supplements and made sure I was eating healthy. I also avioded fish products as I was worried about levels in the water.

    Posted by b vitamin | June 11, 2010, 4:01 pm
  10. Interesting article but advice caution to be used with sweeping statements such as “Never use table salt whether you are pregnant or not.” I live in New Zealand where we have iodised salt due to the lack of iodine in the soil to prevent goiters. Because of statements like this goiters have resurfaced.

    Posted by bob | July 7, 2010, 8:21 pm
  11. Just a country girl nit: If the chickens are really free-range, they will not be vegetarian. If you are buying grocery store eggs, where the legal definition of free range allows the chickens to be kept in big barns with a little access to a yard outside, you will have vegetarian-fed birds. NOT good. Chickens are not natural vegetarians. If you can, get farm fresh eggs, where the chickens are really free range, and have been spending their days outdoors, eating what is the proper main food for chickens–BUGS! You only have to crack the egg to tell the difference The bug-eating chickens will have egg yols roughly the color of construction warning highway signs. And, while subtle, it is possible to taste the difference–and the nutrition profile for the farm chickens is much better.

    Posted by Heather | July 7, 2010, 9:44 pm
  12. It has been my experience that green leafy veggies and a calcium lactate supplement are the best sources of calcium.

    Posted by gemstone wholesale | July 8, 2010, 12:58 am
  13. Protein in the urine is considered one of the LAST signs of preeclampsia; it is NOT an early sign.

    It is also important to note that some women with excellent diets and plenty of protein intake still get pre-e. For them, it truly is not preventable at this time.

    Posted by Leigh | July 8, 2010, 8:40 am
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    Posted by qiangqiang | July 9, 2010, 12:40 am
  15. So you’re saying it’s my fault I got PE and my children were born prematurely because I didn’t take proper care of myself? Because I ate a good diet high in protein, I took extra calcium supplements and folate, I exercised lightly, I got proper prenatal care, and I still got PE. Not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, twice with severe brain swelling and pulmonary edema.

    Having had PE more than once, I’ve read through a lot of research over the last few years. I’m not sure what research you looked at for this article, but the diet-PE causal theory was disproven over two decades ago. Current research shows that PE begins when the placenta does not properly implant into the uterus. This means whether or not a woman gets PE is likely already established by the end of the 8th week of pregnancy, and from that point on nothing she does (eats) or fails to do (eat) will change it.

    (I could go all geek on you and explain exactly how and why protein is spilled into the urine, and it’s NOT because the baby is cannibalizing the mother’s tissue for more protein, but I’ll leave it at that.)

    Posted by Jennifer | July 9, 2010, 4:46 am
  16. helo… after ive read your blog i just want to suggest that its better to have an example diet in an eclampsia patient…. .thank you..

    Posted by eimar enna | August 5, 2010, 1:59 am
  17. My sister was very close to having preeclampsia with both her pregnancy. Luckily it didn’t get bad enough for medication or emergency delivery.

    Posted by jenn | August 10, 2010, 2:17 am
  18. I just suffered from pre-eclampsia and almost died and lost both my babies in the process. I would say that this information does not hurt in efforts to eating and being healthy during pregnancy. I am a DOULA, so I did everything right during my pregnancy, nut shakes, kale/beet shakes, prenatals, walks..the NINE yards…Pre-eclampsia was not caught in time until it was too late. I think its important to mention that it can happen when you do ALL the right things as well, and not to BLAME the PARENTS that have experienced this unfortunate event and are searching for answers

    Posted by Mother of Kodjo and Zindzi | September 11, 2010, 9:19 pm
  19. I suffered from this condition with my son, now one year old. I was concerned about my health but my doctor insisted I didn’t know what I was talking about and blew me off. Needless to say my son was two months premature and I was horribly sick. Preeclampsia was formerly known as toxemia, I had never heard of it until I was in labor. Thank you very much for this article, I am expecting another child and I have been terrified of getting this condition again. Hopefully this will help!

    Posted by preeclampsia victim | October 26, 2010, 9:01 am
  20. This is the biggest BS and what is sad is now thanks to your post many mothers who develop pre-eclampsia will blame themselves.
    Nothing a woman does causes her to develop pre-eclampsia. Like pp said it happens when the embryo implants.

    And anyone with a basic biology/physiology course knows that edema has nothing to do with protein in the diet, it has to do with leaky blood vessels. I suggest you go back to school and study how the body works before you try and spill false medical cures on the internet.

    Posted by cp | November 10, 2010, 7:05 pm
  21. I don’t know about pre-eclampsia but I can share that at the beginning of this and other pregnancies I have erratic extremely high bp. The doctor wanted to put me on bp meds.

    I refused and instead I began taking 6000 iu per day of vit D. My vit D was 26.3 ng/ml at the time and according to the Vitamin D Council website it should be at least 50.

    I also began soaking daily in a combination of pink sea salt (redmond salt) and epson salt (magnesium is a cofactor for vitamin D so I wanted to be sure I had an adequate amount. I use 1/4 cup of each per foot soak.

    And I drink 1 green smoothie a day for extra nutrition.

    My bp tonight was 107/62 and my 3 month averge is 117/74.

    I don’t know if this information will help anyone else. And I did not have pre-eclampsia but it really worked for me to correct my bp.

    I can empathize about having tough pregnancies. I have had 3 tough miscarraiges and 1 live birth at 30 weeks. I think we all just do the best we can with the situations we have been given and our current understanding.

    Posted by Patti | December 15, 2010, 8:11 pm
  22. i had this condition with my first pregnancy 9 years ago. internet wasn’t as easy to access and i had no clue as to how much danger myself or my baby was in. all i was told by my doctor was that i had high blood pressure and protien in my urine. i was only informed that i had preeclampsia after i was admitted to hospital 4 weeks before my due date, and even then i wasn’t told what it was or how serious it was. i have just found out that i am now 5 weeks pregnant with my second child and terrified that this could happen again. i have read up so much on the condition that i think i am going mad so all the tips here are great.this site is great as i think all women who are expecting should know exactally how dangerous this can be. it took me 3 years to loose the 6 and half stone i gained while pregnant with my first child.

    Posted by joan | April 6, 2011, 8:53 am
  23. There are three things that cause edema. One of them is increased hydrostatic pressure. This is essentially high blood pressure. The second is decreased oncotic pressure. This is caused by a lack of albumin in the blood. Albumin is a protein. cp, you are wrong, unfortunately. If you don’t consume enough protein, it can lead to edema. However, you really have to decrease your protein intake for this to be the case (or have liver failure). (One of the reasons I don’t really agree with this article). The third has to do with lymphatic issues, which isn’t relative to this discussion.

    Posted by me | April 27, 2011, 6:56 pm
  24. The cause of preeclampsia may still unknown but it won’t hurt to take care of yourself specially when you’re pregnant to avoid complications as much as possible. This article is absolutely helpful. Mommy Docs Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth book also share the same advise as this article narrates and guides expectant moms around preeclampsia.

    Posted by Monica McNulty | June 2, 2011, 10:31 am
  25. Thank you for your article. I had preeclampsia 2 years ago with my 1st pregnancy and I was in pretty bad shape. I am now expecting my 2nd child and am doing all i can to try to prevent getting it again. The only thing I disagree with in your article is where you say not to limit your salt intake. Every doctor i have spoken to has told me to be on a low sodium diet, as to not risk raising my blood pressure.

    Posted by Kayla | June 3, 2011, 8:02 am
  26. Jennifer,
    I appreciate your blog and would like go hear more if possible. I had preeclampsia with my 2nd pregnancy, placentia previa, Bp reached 160/100, protein levels reached 5000, baby was 2 lbs 13 oz., born at 33 weeks, I was placed on magnesium sulfate to prevent stoke, Bp went too low and I hemmoraged. We are both fine now. I have a third embryo ( did IVF) and I would hate to discard but fear for our lives. My family needs me! Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.

    Posted by Amy | August 3, 2011, 3:01 pm
  27. F*ckin? amazing issues here. I am very glad to peer your post. Thanks so much and i am having a look forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

    Posted by Creatine | August 28, 2011, 5:24 am
  28. Having had pre-eclamspia with my 3rd and severe pre-eclampsia with HELLP syndrome with my 4th, I appreciate this article. I also appreciate that you acknowledge that even with a good diet, pre-eclamspia can still occur. However, I strongly believe, like many medical conditions, it may be possible to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia by following a proper diet BEFORE conception and throughout the entire pregnancy. I also believe that if you do develop pre-eclampsia, a proper diet may help reduce the symptoms and severity in some moms. This is not a blanket statement, but if it can help some, it is good. Besides, a good, healthy diet will not hurt the baby or the mother, regardless of whether she develops pre-eclampsia or not.

    Posted by The Happy Wife/Danielle | October 20, 2011, 6:06 am
  29. I suffered this condition 2 months ago my baby suffered as a result and died 7 mths i urging women to be careful and monitor themselves properly as well as use a proper diet

    Posted by soriya | March 2, 2012, 10:27 pm
  30. Interesting article. Caution, though: it makes no difference how a chicken eats as to whether it is safe to eat its eggs raw. Sanitation of the laying area and of the chicken rear IS what matters, and it is best for pregnant women (especially) to NOT eat raw eggs…EVER (unless, of course, the eggs have been PASTEURIZED)!!! Also, sodium chloride is sodium chloride, whether from the ocean or from underground salt deposits. Table salt is usually iodized, which is essential for thyroid health and prevention of goiter.

    Posted by D.D. | March 7, 2012, 5:14 am
  31. thanks for the information, i had preeclampsia with my last pregnancy and lost the baby at 28weeks. infortunately i usually find it difficult to eat anything until i am about 20weeks old, so eating good food cannot help me. somebody help with ideas pls.

    Posted by victoria (Nigeria) | November 14, 2012, 3:01 pm
  32. This is DANGEROUS AND FAULTY information. Raw cheese is NOT safe for pregnant women to take!

    Posted by Stefanie | January 9, 2013, 12:13 pm
  33. YIKES!! NO eggs are safe to eat raw. No matter the origin, any egg can be contaminated with salmonella while being formed in the chicken’s ovaries. Eating organic grain does not protect the chicken’s from salmonella bacteria. I am an egg producer of free range chickens (the ones that run around outside and eat whatever they want) and I steer clear of raw eggs when I’m pregnant. Cook those eggs ladies!

    Posted by Erica | April 30, 2013, 5:21 pm
  34. Warning to article readers!
    This article is a supreme example of why you should not randomly peruse the Internet for information. Be certain to only go to reputable, research based sites; for this topic, try preeclampsia.org, or mayoclinic.com.
    This article furthers the myth that complications only occur in pregnancy with women that “obviously don’t care of themselves,” a very cruel and ignorant belief. Complications can occur with slim, healthy, organic food eating marathon runners, and unhealthy, overweight women can have perfect pregnancies.
    Of course women should always, no matter what, take extremely good care of themselves and their babies while pregnant, but anyone who tells a women that has had preeclampsia that she could have done things differently to prevent the complication, is either extremely uneducated, dillusional, or a monster.

    Posted by Mom of 2 | July 13, 2013, 5:39 pm

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