During my first pregnancy, I was flagged as at risk for preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys.
When I became pregnant with my second daughter, I wanted to do everything possible to reduce my preeclampsia chances. After being scared into a c-section during my first pregnancy, I was determined to have a VBAC with baby number two. Lowering my blood pressure—and my risk for preeclampsia—became a huge focus.
I shared my goal with my OBGYN and she said that one of the best places to start was with diet. (Side note—the foods listed below were recommended to me by my doctor, based on my vitals and medical history. Please always consult your own medical professional before making any changes. I’m not a medical professional.)
These 10 superfoods became staples in my pregnancy diet, helped keep my vitals in check, and (I believe) helped contribute to me having a healthy VBAC delivery.
10 Foods to Help Fight Preeclampsia During Pregnancy
Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your diet—during pregnancy and always. You can read about how I’m not a medical professional here.
Beets are known for their ability to turn your hands bright pink—and for quickly lowering blood pressure. Blend them into a smoothie, roast them, steam them…just make sure they are a part of your preeclampsia diet. They can go to work lowering your blood pressure within a matter of hours.
A true superfood whether you’re pregnant or not, spinach can help reduce your preeclampsia risk thanks to all of that wonderful folate that it contains. It can also help reduce the chances of birth defects or preterm labor, so sneak this powerhouse green into your pregnancy diet every chance you get!
3. Acorn Squash
A diet that’s high in both potassium and fiber is believed to reduce the chances of preeclampsia. Many harvest vegetables, such as acorn squash, come packed with both, making them a stellar addition to a healthy pregnancy diet.
Watermelon should be a staple in every pregnancy diet. Not only can it help relieve morning sickness and heartburn, but it can help reduce chances of pre-eclampsia, too, thanks to the lycopene it contains.
Having a pregnancy diet that is rich in both Vitamins C and E is believed to help reduce the risk of preeclampsia. One delicious way to get a nice boost of Vitamin C? Strawberries. Or any berry, really. Work these guys into smoothies, salads, and snack times throughout pregnancy.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Magnesium is such an important mineral during pregnancy, and one that can truly be considered a preeclampsia-fighting powerhouse. In fact, during hospital care, magnesium sulfate is often used to prevent seizures and reduce hypertension in preeclamptic women. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best suppliers of magnesium, so make sure you snack on them regularly.
If you’ve never tried this versatile legume, pregnancy is the perfect time! Enjoy some lentils in curries or Indian dishes—and soak up all that zinc they contain. It’s known to help reduce chances of preeclampsia and preterm labor.
Not into lentils and still looking for a way to up your zinc intake? Oats are for you, love. They also are great for reducing acid reflux during the later months of pregnancy, so try to sneak them in on a regular basis.
9. Turmeric Powder
A little yellow spice with a load of health goodness, turmeric powder is very much a secret weapon when it comes to reducing the chances of preeclampsia during pregnancy. It is known to help purify blood, improve circulation, and regulate blood flow. You’ll want to check with your doctor about how much turmeric is safe during pregnancy, and steer clear of turmeric supplements.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Ah, sweet potatoes, you nutritional little things, you. One of the best foods to eat as a part of a reducing-preeclampsia-risk diet. The star nutrient? It’s hard to choose because there are so many, but Vitamin B probably takes the cake when it comes to preeclampsia, thanks to it’s ability to help support healthy blood and blood pressure.
Did you eat any foods during pregnancy to reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia? Let me know in the comments!