Foods that can help lower blood pressure during pregnancy
While pregnancy brings in a lot of excitement, it also brings a basket of complications. Not every woman breezes her way through the 9 months. Apart from gestational diabetes, where a normally healthy lady might find her blood sugar level spiking, hypertension is another issue that needs attention. In this case, you might find your blood pressure level during pregnancy shooting up. This is known to affect 1 in 10 mothers. It’s a more serious concern for mothers who already have chronic high blood pressure.
Gestational hypertension can have the following effects on pregnancy:
- Preeclampsia: This is a state characterized by swelling, mostly in the face, hands, and feet. It is accompanied by pain in the upper abdomen, abnormal kidney or liver functions, vision changes, fluid in the lungs, or a terrible headache.
- Inadequate growth of foetus: Increased pressure of blood, as it flows through the vessels, might restrict the transfer of nutrients from the mother to the baby, via the placenta. The outcome might be an underdeveloped or malnourished foetus.
- Preterm delivery: When the placenta, which is the connection between the mother and the baby, is unable to transmit nutrients and oxygen, the gynaecologist may recommend delivering the baby early, to prevent further complications.
- Forced C-section: Women with hypertension may not be able to deliver the normal way and might have to go for a caesarean birth.
Foods for lower blood pressure during pregnancy:
To prevent the above-mentioned complications and have a normal, healthy pregnancy, it is important to regulate your blood pressure. It goes without saying that the right foods can go a long way in ensuring normal pregnancy. Also, a blood pressure diet will have a lasting impact throughout your life.
Following are some ways in which you can maintain normal blood pressure:
- Cut down on the salt: The sodium in salt is one of the foremost contributors to increased blood pressure, and reducing its intake can affect your health positively. While your cravings may want you to gorge on pickles and papads, you need to remember that such foods have a high amount of salt. Any non-sweet packaged food for that matter is high in salt, and the best you can do is read the food labels before buying, or reduce their intake. While cooking meals at home, you can use spices or add herbs, so you don’t have to entirely rely on salt for taste. It’s also a good idea to cut down on the sauces and ketchups during the pregnancy phase.
- Increase the potassium in your diet: When the sodium in your blood goes up, you end up with gestational hypertension, and to normalize the levels, you must bank on potassium-rich foods. Bananas are one of the finest examples of this, and so are oranges, raisins, and dates. It is recommended to eat five servings of fruit during pregnancy, every day, to keep all hurdles at bay.
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fish: Studies show that these two food groups help to moderate blood pressure during pregnancy. Hence, increase your consumption of cucumbers, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables like spinach. Also, eat fishes low in mercury, like pomfret, singhara, hilsa, rawas, shrimp and tilapia.
- Load up on fibre: Fibre not only helps reduce weight, which influences blood pressure, but also helps control hypertension. Fibre is also essential throughout pregnancy, due to its ability to tackle constipation. Apart from fresh fruits and vegetables, you can get fibre from whole grains.
- Quit smoking and alcohol intake: Both smoking and alcohol can negatively impact your pregnancy in many ways, one of which is by increasing your blood pressure. For the sake of your baby and yourself, it is best to let go of these two habits.
Balance your diet
While your doctor may put you on medication in case of hypertension, by following a healthy, nutritious diet, you can avoid reaching such a state where you need medicines at all. So, work towards managing your blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes.