Pre-eclampsia: the food factor
Pat Thomas looks at nutritional ways of reducing the risks of pre-eclampsia.
Pregnant women and their health practitioners have come to fear pre-eclampsia. It occurs in about 5 per cent of pregnancies, and often strikes without warning.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition which adversely affects the way the placenta functions. In severe cases, it deprives the baby of essential oxygen and nutrients, resulting in poor growth and premature labour.
The symptoms are raised blood pressure,and protein in the urine. All three of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia to be made. Antenatal tests are designed to detect pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, but nearly 30 per cent of cases are first detected in labour.
Mild to moderate forms of the condition, if carefully monitored, do not pose a threat. However, around one in 2,000 cases of pre-eclampsia can develop into eclampsia, a potentially lethal condition for both mother and baby. Early symptoms of eclampsia include severe headaches, flashing lights, nausea, vomiting and pain in the abdomen. In extreme cases, the mother may experience fits, convulsions and, more rarely, go into a coma and die.
Who is at Risk? smokers women carrying more than one baby those who currently have high blood pressure or who have a family history of high blood pressure women over 40 women who suffer from migraines those with blood group AB those with impaired liver or kidney function obese women diabetics first-time mothers second-time – or more – mothers with a new partner (Your risk will the same as it was in your first pregnancy.) women exposed to high levels of toxins such as lead (common in some water supplies and in heavily polluted areas), which increases free radical production