Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication. With preeclampsia, you might have high blood pressure, high levels of protein in urine that indicate kidney damage (proteinuria), or other signs of organ damage. There are lots of ways to manage, treat or help reduce your risks, including the choices you make when it comes to food. The first step is talking to a trusted healthcare provider. Together, you can choose which foods and supplements may be the best fit for you. This will be based on details such as your diet, allergies, health, and personal preferences.
The options below outline some dietary changes that you can explore. You can mix and match based on what feels best for you. It may help to review this information before you speak with your healthcare provider. That way, you can feel prepared to address all your needs.
Add more calcium-rich food to your diet
Calcium-rich foods can be very effective in helping reduce your risk of preeclampsia, and there are plenty to choose from! Here’s a list to get you started:
- Dairy products: Cheese, milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Fruits and vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, dark leafy greens, and dried figs
- Nuts: Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- Fish: Sardines, canned salmon, and oysters
Add calcium supplements to your diet
Studies suggest that all pregnant people should take 1 gram of calcium supplementation per day from 20 weeks gestation to delivery. Those who are more at risk will want to take 1-2 grams a day during their whole pregnancy.
Add other foods and supplements to your diet
It’s always great to understand the wide range of options you have. Here are some of the other foods and supplements that help reduce your risk of preeclampsia:
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- Fatty acids
- Vitamin D
Avoid food/diets known to increase risk
While some foods reduce your risk, others may do the opposite. Try to avoid:
- High-fat diets
- High-sugar diets
- Salt-rich diets
- Red meat
- Processed meat
- Fried potatoes
The bottom line
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, some foods may be more effective at reducing your risk than others. Remember, there are lots of options out there. If one doesn’t work, you can always try something else!
- Preeclampsia: What you need to know
- Being your own health care advocate
- Exercise and reducing your risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia
- Smart ways to work calcium into your diet
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- Perry, Abigail. “Dietary factors that affect the risk of pre-eclampsia.” National Library of Medicine. 5(1): 118-133. Web. June 2022.