High blood pressure in late pregnancy can lead to preterm birth, that increases risk of low birth weight and immature lung function in the baby. A large study involving more than 3,500 women, over 9 yrs, in Australia showed that a Mediterranean diet of virgin olive oil, fresh fruit, pulses, fish and small quantities of meat can prevent hypertension during pregnancy.
We have all heard the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Virgin olive oil, red wine, rye bread, fresh fruit, lovely raw salads and meals based on pulses, fish and small quantities of meat form the base of this ancient and healing diet, which is now known to safeguard our heart and mental health. But what if the blessings of Mediterranean diet can extend to pregnancy and well being of the baby?
Why Is It Important To Prevent Hypertension During Pregnancy?
Hypertension during pregnancy is one of the most common disorders in pregnancy that could affect the health of the mother and put the baby’s health at risk as well. Very high blood pressure in late pregnancy can easily be a reason for emergency delivery and preterm birth. Preterm delivery increases the risk of low birth weight and immature lung development of the baby, among other problems.
Sure, there are risk factors that predispose a woman to gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, such as obesity and family history, for which we can do some great custom work for each patient, depending on their background. But think about it. A woman can realistically reduce her risk of having high blood pressure and all the nasties that come with it during pregnancy simply by eating delicious Mediterranean-style meals!
It is always a great thing to see solid scientific evidence about the powerful effects of a healthy diet, although, given the food on which a Mediterranean diet is based, it is hardly a surprise that it comes with so many health benefits. It is well known that consumption of fruits and vegetables is beneficial in preventing gestational hypertension during pregnancy.1 Adequate calcium and magnesium also have such protective effects.
We now have this very interesting, brand new study from Australia, which basically tells us that women who eat a Mediterranean diet before pregnancy have less risk of suffering from hypertensive problems during pregnancy.2 This means that this diet somehow protects pregnant women and their babies from harmful pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and preterm birth. In fact, the more you eat a Mediterranean diet, the more health benefits and protection from gestational hypertension you enjoy!
Unlike many small pilot studies with few participants, this is a large study including a 9-year follow-up of more than 3,500 women in Australia. This is a significant population sample, meaning that this protective effect of the Mediterranean diet is a real one.
This is the kind of advice you get from up-to-date scientific research and evidence. The power of proper nutrition is an incredible holistic tool for long-term health and wellbeing. A healthy pregnancy is your ticket to a good quality of life for the 40 weeks of gestation and a super-healthy baby.
If you are planning for a baby in the near future or are already trying to conceive, do have a look at Mediterranean style kitchen. It is delicious and easy, and science says that it could help you have a great pregnancy and a gorgeous baby.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Schoenaker, Danielle AJM, Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu, and Gita D. Mishra. “The association between dietary factors and gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.” BMC medicine 12.1 (2014): 157.|
|2.||↑||Schoenaker, Danielle AJM, et al. “Prepregnancy dietary patterns and risk of developing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: results from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 102.1 (2015): 94-101.|