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.
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.