Natasha Dunn

Did you know around 1 in 20 pregnancies are affected by pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is a multisystem disorder that involves a sudden increase in blood pressure (hypertension), leading to swelling and an increased output of proteins from the placenta that is released into the mother’s circulation.

Pre-eclampsia can be fatal to mum and bub if not treated and monitored and it usually presents after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia can cause stillborn, intrauterine growth retardation and abortion.


Nutritional Needs for You as a Pregnant Mother

Identifying the role of nutrition during pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.

  • A study by Bej, P et al, 2014 found women with a higher calorie intake and lower protein intake during their pregnancy were associated with the development of preeclampsia.
  • Bej, P et al, 2014 found women eating fruit, iron and calcium had no increase of preeclampsia during their pregnancy.
  • Nej, P et al, 2014 found women with a calorie intake greater than 2,175kcal per day were at a risk of developing preeclampsia.


What Should I Eat to Help Avoid Pre-eclampsia?

  • Increase proteins and good fats in your diet by reducing starchy foods and increasing eggs, meat, poultry, fish and dairy.
  • Bej, P et al, 2018 found that a low intake of linoleic acid and calcium during the third trimester reduced the incidence of preeclampsia.
  • Increase your dietary iron intake by including into your diet chicken liver, oysters, beef, sardines, clams, wild salmon, and silver beet
  • If your diet is low in calcium (less than 1,000mg per day for women 50 and under) or you suffer renal disease, an autoimmune disease or diabetes it is recommended that you take calcium supplements during your pregnancy. Many obstetricians recommend 600mg per day for women.
  • Make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet during pregnancy by consuming foods rich in calcium such as collard spinach, turnip greens, bok choy, fermented Soy (tempeh, miso), sesame seeds, yogurt, cheese, milk, sardines​
  • Make sure that you are getting adequate magnesium intake in your diet; pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, flaxseeds, lima beans, spinach, raspberries, barley, rye, oats, brown rice, tuna, and scallops


If you feel you need more guidance on diet or supplementation during your pregnancy please book a consultation with one of our friendly nutritionists today.



  • Bej, P, Chhabra, P., Sharma, A, K., Guleria, K, Role of nutrition in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia cases, a case control study. “Indian Journal of Community Health”, 233-236
  • Schoenaker, D., Soedamah-Muthu, S, S., and Mishra, G, D., 2014. The association between dietary factors and gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.  “BMC medicine”, 157.


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