A reader asked about my experience with toxemia of pregnancy. So, here goes:
First of all, I should say that our first two children were four-pound, C-section babies due to the toxemia. When I became pregnant the third time, I educated myself about the malady plus worked with midwives to ensure a healthy pregnancy and to deliver a nine-pound baby at home.
In the latter weeks of the third pregnancy, I discovered that red meat made my blood pressure rise (midwives checked almost every day), so I ate mostly fish, chicken and nuts for protein (in addition to veggies, fruits and grains). Looking back, I think a Mediterranean-type diet would have been best for me throughout the pregnancies (and life!). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011
I’m not a doctor or a scientist, and my menopausal memory isn’t always reliable, but I remember consuming more salt with baby #3 (as opposed to a nurse’s advice with #1 to cut salt out of my diet)—because greater blood volume during pregnancy requires more salt. This Website validates that theory: http://www.moondragon.org/obgyn/pregnancy/toxemia.html “Extra salt is required during pregnancy to help with the expanding blood volume that is needed to support the pregnancy. Without adequate salt, preeclampsia may result.”
This Website disagrees: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/preeclampsia.html
In addition to my obstetrician’s advice, which was to rest on my left side (to take the weight of the baby off major blood vessels) and to eat peanut butter sandwiches (for protein), I solicited input from other medical professionals, including a naturopathic doctor, who gave me great diet and supplement advice. I also drank lots of water and raspberry leaf tea (http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Pregnancy_Problems.htm) but avoided caffeine and alcoholic beverages. And I exercised regularly to help with digestion, circulation and a host of other aspects of pregnancy. http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-best-kinds-of-exercise-for-pregnancy_7880.bc
The Internet did not exist when I was having babies. What little information I gained about preeclampsia came through the local medical library, midwives, books, articles and phone calls to experts on the topic. But women today have incredible resources at their fingertips. Research, research, research! And put into practice what you learn. Becky