Pregnant women: Increase fiber, Decrease risk of preeclampsia

Fiber… it doesn’t just help you out in the bathroom department. Consuming enough fiber can also help pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy, according to

Between three and seven percent of all pregnant women can face a dangerous condition called preeclampsia. “It consists of high blood pressure developing and then often the baby will be affected, be growth restricted and then the mother actually can get very ill from the disease and need early delivery,” said Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr. Tanya Sorensen.

Researchers took a look at 1,500 women and found that women who had normal recommended amounts of fiber – -around 20 to 30 grams per day — had lower risks of preeclampsia by 70% compared to women with lower fiber intake.

Good sources of fiber include whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals, and all manner of beans.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake, from the Harvard School of Public Health:

  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.

  • Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.

  • Choose whole grain cereals for breakfast.

  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.

  • Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.

  • Experiment with international dishes (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and legumes as part of the main meal (as in Indian dahls) or in salads (for example, tabbouleh).

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