While there’s unfortunately no way to fully prevent this disorder from developing or cure it once it’s been diagnosed, there are several things you can do to lower your risk. Research shows that the following natural remedies and lifestyle changes give you the greatest chance of having a healthy pregnancy and delivery free from preeclampsia.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Researchers and doctors both stress that it’s important to get yourself prepared for pregnancy by reaching a healthy body weight, eating a nutrient-dense diet and working on getting into good physical shape prior to conceiving. Staying within a healthy weight range, meaning maintaining a body mass index (BMI) that is within the “normal range” of 19–25, or below 30, can greatly lower your chance for pregnancy complications. Ongoing obesity and yo-yo dieting can be harmful to hormone levels, your metabolism and can worsen inflammation, which is why it’s associated with an increased PE risk.
2. Get Regular Exercise
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy include reduced inflammation, help reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and even defense against the effects of stress. Exercising in a moderate, appropriate way is associated with a healthy pregnancy, lower rate of infertility and reduced pregnancy complications.
3. Eat a Healing Diet to Reduce Blood Pressure Levels
Doctors recommend you focus on eating plenty of vitamins, minerals and high-antioxidant foods prior to pregnancy to get your body ready to support another life. It’s also a good idea to consume less salt and eat plenty of potassium-rich foods to fight high blood pressure prior to becoming pregnant. Having a history of high blood pressure or other heart problems before pregnancy raises the risks for PE and HELLP syndrome. (4)
Focus on including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are important superfoods for a healthy pregnancy. Eat a variety of colorful, fresh foods, which supply high amounts of electrolytes, including potassium — leafy greens of all kinds, avocados, sweet potatoes and bananas are great choices.
Cut back or eliminate packaged goods, high-sugar snacks, artificial additives and fried foods. Since PE can cause high protein concentrations in the urine, doctors recommend adjusting your diet prior to becoming pregnant to lower the amount of protein you eat, sticking to a healthy range of about 15 percent to 25 percent of total calories coming from protein foods. (5)
4. Prevent Dehydration and Fatigue
To stay hydrated and balance levels of sodium in your diet, drink enough water daily (at least eight glasses of water a day) and limit caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Make sure to get enough sleep (at least seven to eight hours a night, or even more when pregnant) and build relaxing breaks into your day to reduce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Looking for some easy natural stress relievers to incorporate into your day? Try stretching to soothe yourself or laying down and elevating your feet to give your mind and body a quick rest.
5. Keep Up with Doctor Visits
Visit your doctor as soon as you can after learning you’re pregnant to check for any risk factors that can make you susceptible to PE, such as whether or not anyone in your family has had HELLP syndrome, preeclampsia or other hypertensive disorders in the past. The earlier you learn about existing conditions, the better chance you have off preventing complications.
Throughout your pregnancy, keep up with regular prenatal visits and have your blood pressure and urine monitored. If you notice any sudden changes in how you’re feeling or have an inclination that something isn’t right, talk to a professional about any potential warning signs right away.