It is important for an expecting mother to take proper steps to ensure good health not just for herself but also for the baby. On one hand, platforms like eKincare can help you by helping you monitor your health, while on the other hand there are some steps you should take from health & nutrition point of view. In earlier blog posts we had a look at some tips to stay healthy during pregnancy, nutrients you need to take during pregnancy and toxic chemicals you should avoid during pregnancy. In this post we’ll look at pre-eclampsia, which refers to high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is the commonest medical complication of pregnancy and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality for both mother and baby. The only definitive cure for high blood pressure during pregnancy or pre-eclamsia is delivery!
Diagnosis of pre-eclampsia
All pregnant women should have regular assessment of their blood pressure and urinary analysis for proteinuria (leakage of protein in urine).
Women with blood pressure >140/90mm of Hg or pre-eclampsia should be referred for specialist assessment.
Diet and nutrition Recommendations during pre-eclampsia
- Calcium supplementation during pregnancy (at doses of 1.5–2.0 g elemental calcium/day) is recommended for the prevention of pre-eclampsia in all women, but especially in those at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
- Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is favourable to prevent the development of pre-eclampsia and its complications.
- Individual or combined vitamin C and vitamin E supplementation during pregnancy may be useful.
- Restriction in dietary salt intake during pregnancy to the minimum optimum level
Treatment (all medications should be initiated under medical supervision)
- Low dose aspirin reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia and of losing the baby.
- Calcium supplements have moderate benefits for women with low dietary intake
- For mild to moderate hypertension, antihypertensive drugs help prevent hypertensive crisis
- Women with severe hypertension should be admitted to hospital for monitoring and control of their blood pressure
- Magnesium sulphate for women with pre-eclampsia halves the risk of eclampsia and is the drug of choice for treating eclamptic fits. Phenytoin, lytic cocktail, and diazepam should not be used
After a pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia, women should be advised of the risk of recurrence and assessed for chronic hypertension and other underlying conditions
BMJ. 2006 February 25; 332(7539): 463–468.doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7539.463
Management of pre-eclampsia .Lelia Duley, obstetric epidemiologist,1 Shireen Meher, registrar,2 and Edgardo Abalos, vice-director3
WHO Recommendations for Prevention and Treatment of Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia.( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK140560/)