A recent study in The American Journal of Hypertension caught my eye. It showed that if people increase their fiber intake in early pregnancy they can cut their chances of a serious pregnancy complication by two-thirds. Preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine, affects about 8% of pregnant women* towards the end of their pregnancy. Most with mild preeclampsia deliver their babies without any problems but if it is left untreated it can threaten the life of both the parent and the baby.
At The Yinova Center, we treat patients with preeclampsia using acupuncture in conjunction with the conventional medical treatment prescribed by their Doctors.
Our patients have found acupuncture to be helpful in reducing blood pressure and relieving other symptoms such as headaches and water retention. You can read about research into acupuncture and pregnancy hypertension here.
Clearly, however, it would be better if they did not develop preeclampsia in the first place and this study seems to give helpful advice. In the study, Dr. Chunfang Qiu, of the Swedish Medical Center, in Seattle, looked at 1,538 women’s* diets before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy. He found that women* whose diets were rich in grains, fruit, and vegetables (more than 21.2g of fiber a day) – were two-thirds less likely to develop the condition than those who ate less than 11.9g of fiber.
His suggestion, based on his research, is that women* increase their fiber intake by 5g a day, in early pregnancy, which is the equivalent of eating two extra slices of wholegrain bread.
Other ways of adding 5g or more of fiber include eating 2 apples, 1/2 a cup of beans, 3tbsp of bran, 3/4 cup broccoli, 1/2 a cup of chickpeas, 1/2 cup corn, 3 dried figs, a cup of greens, 1/2 cup lentils, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup whole wheat pasta, or a baked yam with the skin on.
* Language used in the study referenced.