Diet to prevent pre-eclampsia during pregnancy?
Preeclampsia is a disorder that affects women during pregnancy and increases maternal and child mortality and morbidity. During pregnancy, it is identified by sudden increase in blood pressure and proteinuria (presence of protein in urine). High blood pressure is a potentially severe complication of pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia commonly develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. Other than high blood pressure and protein in the urine; swelling in the legs and water retention may also be present. But swollen ankles and water retention can also be present in a normal pregnancy and so can be confusing.
One in every ten pregnancies is affected by high blood pressure, generally known as hypertension. During pregnancy, hypertension can manifest in a variety of ways. Pre-existing high blood pressure, hypertension that develops during pregnancy (gestational hypertension), and pre-eclampsia, which affects 2-8 out of every 100 women and begins at 20 weeks of pregnancy, are the most prevalent.
A team of researchers conducted a study of pregnant women’s food habits and their related risks of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. They found that:
• Instead of high-fat, high-calorie items, eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
• Potatoes are not included in the five-a-day goal.
• Choose wholegrain over refined grains or starchy foods.
• Stick to a low-fat diet and gain weight at a healthy rate
• Consume fiber-rich foods like oats, beans, lentils, grains, and seeds.
• Avoid drinks with added sugars and other foods with a high sugar content, such as candies, cakes, and biscuits.
• Fish is a safe option during pregnancy in general, however the recommendation is to eat no more than two portions of oily fish each week, such as mackerel or salmon. This is because a chemical contained in oily fish (mercury) in excess can impair the development of an unborn baby.
Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in antenatal nutrition, can provide expert advice. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.