Know about the Gestational Hypertension Diet

gestational hypertension diet

Hypertension is a silent killer disease that has become common among all age groups. Untimely food, junk food, less exercise, bad habit, stress at the office and work, improper rest, all these can contribute to hypertension. Hypertension is common during the gestational period and is known as Gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Gestational hypertension diet can help to control high blood pressure.

Gestational hypertension is a condition characterized with high blood pressure during pregnancy. Gestational hypertension may lead to a series of conditions called preeclampsia that is referred to as toxemia. Hypertension during pregnancy affects around 6-8% of pregnant women.

Following are the common types of gestational hypertension:

  • Chronic Hypertension can affect women with high blood pressure (above 140/90) before pregnancy, early in pregnancy (before 20 weeks) or continue to have it after delivery.
  • Gestational Hypertension can develop after week 20 in pregnancy and gets back to normal after delivery.
  • Both the chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension can lead to the severe condition of Preeclampsia after week 20 of pregnancy. Symptoms may include high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This can cause serious complications for both mother and baby if not treated instantly.

Proper diet will ensure the growth of the baby and may prevent progression of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH).

Calcium is often found in dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. It plays an important role in the body, by helping to form and maintain bones and teeth as well as helps the heart to maintain a normal beat. Calcium helps the body in blood clotting, sending and receiving nerve signals and releasing hormones. A pregnant woman needs at least 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day to develop the baby’s bones and maintain her own body’s functions.

Sodium-restricted diet is not that effective while treating or preventing mild pregnancy-induced hypertension. If you are experiencing edema, limiting salt intake to 2 grams per day may help to reduce swelling.

During gestational hypertension, women should consume carbohydrates that consist of 50 percent to 65 percent of total calories, 71 grams of protein per day or 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. Remaining 20 percent to 30 percent of your daily calories should consist of fat.

Women are more susceptible to food-borne illness, during pregnancy. Avoid foods that are suspected to be contaminated with Listeria, such as soft cheeses including brie, feta and Mexican soft cheese and deli meats. Listeria is a bacteria that may cause fetal death or premature labor. Pregnant woman should avoid raw or under-cooked eggs, meat, poultry and fish to prevent salmonella. They should not consume fish which are high in mercury, like shark, swordfish and mackerel. Mercury can harm the baby’s developing nervous system. Unpasteurized juices and raw sprouts can also develop food-borne illness.

Dietary Guidelines for gestational hypertension:

  • Small and frequent meals.
  • Avoid fasting or missing any meal.
  • Include a variety of foods to get all the nutrients.
  • Preferable to use low fat or skimmed milk (0.3% fat).
  • Include plenty of green leafy vegetables.
  • Fruits like oranges, sweet limes, watermelon, musk melon, pears, guavas, figs, apples and plums can be consumed.
  • Eat and drink at least 4 servings of calcium rich foods like dairy products like milk, paneer, curd, soya milk, whole pulses, whole cereals, green leafy vegetables.
  • Eat at least one source of vitamin A like carrots, egg, pumpkins, spinach, green leafy vegetables.
  • Iron rich green leafy vegetables, rice flakes, cauliflower, amaranth, mint, soy bean, roasted bengal gram, moth beans, cowpea, ragi malt etc., to be included in the diet.
  • Snack time eat whole grams like channa, lobia, moong, rajmah either boiled, steamed or sprouted.
  • Drink Plenty of water.
  • Non-vegetarians should include a boiled egg.
  • Consume potassium rich foods like ragi, wheat, bengal gram, cow pea, moong, peas, redgram. colocasia, coconut meal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, musambi, apricots, cherries, musk melon etc.

By Premji