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Diet Options for Hypertension during Pregnancy

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 7/28/2009

Hypertension during pregnancy is not a rare occurrence for pregnant women. However, blood pressure levels can become elevated enough to raise a woman’s risk of developing further complications. Hypertension can be maintained by making changes to the diet.

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    Hypertension is a common condition for pregnant woman to experience the further along they progress into their pregnancy. However, hypertension during pregnancy can begin to cause health problems if a woman’s blood pressure becomes elevated too much. Often, when this occurs a woman can help treat the condition by making a few simple lifestyle changes to their diet. If changes are not made and this condition is left untreated, poor fetal growth and other serious complications can occur.

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    Foods to Avoid

    Pregnant women with hypertension should avoid eating foods that are high in sodium. These foods can increase a pregnant woman’s blood pressure. Foods that are high in sodium are many of the processed foods available. Snack items, many lunch meats, and canned foods often contain high levels of sodium. Extra salt should not be added to any foods. These foods should be avoided to lower blood pressure.

    Saturated fats that are found in many foods should be avoided when treating hypertension. Many cheeses, butter, and many meats contain saturated fats. Saturated fats can also be found in processed foods and many snack foods.

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    Foods to Eat

    Eating certain foods can help lower blood pressure levels. Foods that contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium are great to eat in order to lower blood pressure levels. Whole grains, dried beans, and nuts are good foods to eat in order to treat hypertension during pregnancy. Fully cooked poultry that is either grilled or baked is the best meat to eat when suffering from this condition.

    Dairy products are good sources of calcium and magnesium. Only low or non fat dairy products should be consumed in order to lower blood pressure levels. Three servings of dairy products should be eaten a day to help lower blood pressure levels.

    It is recommended women with this condition should eat 8 to 10 servings of fruit or vegetables a day. Bananas are great sources of potassium, which can be used to treat this medical condition.

    Sometimes changes in diet may not be enough to treat this condition; bed rest, medications and other treatments may be needed along with dietary changes.

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    References

    “High Blood Pressure” April 27, 2007 www.webmd.com

    “Chronic Hypertension during Pregnancy” 2008 www.babycenter.com