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Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy disorder related to problems in the development of the placenta. Around 10% of pregnant women are affected and symptoms include protein in the urine, high blood pressure, swelling (oedema) and headaches.

If you are overweight, over 35, carrying twins or have a family history of the condition then you are at a higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia, see Pregnancy conditions explained: Pre-eclampsia for more information. If detected and treated early pre-eclampsia is unlikely to cause harm but if left untreated the effects can be serious which is one reason why your blood pressure is monitored throughout your pregnancy.

Research shows that women with pre-eclampsia tend to have lower levels of magnesium in their blood. Increasing magnesium intake can help to prevent it developing. Higher levels of inflammation are also thought to contribute to the development of pre-eclampsia and supplementing with a multivitamin/mineral and Co-enzyme Q10 has been shown to reduce occurrence in women at risk.

How can I reduce my risk of pre-eclampsia nutritionally?

  • Limit your salt intake, particularly from processed foods and table salt
  • Increase your intake of potassium-rich foods, such as, bananas, kiwis and mangoes
  • Increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods for example, almonds, green leafy vegetables and apricots
  • See Foundations of a healthy diet: part two for more foods that will help.
  • Consult a Nutritional Therapist to discuss your supplement needs.

Finally, try to rest as much as possible!

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