Despite it being one of the most dynamic times in a woman’s life, pregnancy can make you feel like an old guy, with a beer gut and high blood pressure. Even if you don’t have a history of blood pressure issues, they make arise during your pregnancy. If you don’t get it under control, you can put yourself and your baby at risk.
What Can Happen
During pregnancy, many women experience chronic high blood pressure known as preeclampsia. Once a woman contracts preeclampsia, there is no relief but delivery. In the meantime, the increased blood pressure can prevent the baby from receiving all the nutrients he needs through the placenta. The disease is also risky for the woman’s health and life.
What You Need
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, obesity can lead to high blood pressure. Unfortunately, pregnancy is a time to gain weight, not lose weight. Eat foods that fill you with nutrients, instead of excess fat and weight that can irritate high blood pressure. Focus your diet on fruits and vegetables. For your carbohydrates, use mainly whole grains.
What to Avoid
Keep your sugary and fatty cravings at bay. Reach for dark chocolates, without milk, when you need a little dessert. Keep your red meat intake at a minimum. Replace meat in your diet with soy-based, enriched substitutes. Put together meals at home, and pack lunches and snacks to take to work or school. A low-sodium, mainly vegetable sandwich sitting on your desk can curb your cravings when you and the baby get hungry, to prevent you from rushing to the deli for a high-sodium, processed option.
When It’s Important
For most women, blood pressure fluctuates throughout the pregnancy. For those with preeclampsia, it rises sharply in the second or third trimester. Attend all your scheduled visits to keep track of your blood pressure. It is important that you eat a balanced, vegetable- and fruit-heavy diet throughout your pregnancy. In the beginning, you can try to prevent preeclampsia. In the second and third trimesters, you can regulate it if you happen to contract it.
If you suspect or have a history of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, talk to your doctor. He may recommend regular visits to monitor your blood pressure. Keep track of your daily diets, including all snacks and drinks. After each visit with the higher blood pressure, remove items from your diet that are high in sugar, salt or fat until you start to see a difference.
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