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Fibre may reduce pre-eclampsia risk

Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet during early pregnancy may lower the risk of pre-eclampsia during later pregnancy.

Fibre may reduce pre-eclampsia risk

Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet during early pregnancy may lower the risk of pre-eclampsia in later pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is a condition associated with high blood pressure, loss of protein in the urine and swelling of the body that occurs during the second half of pregnancy. Also known as toxaemia, it may develop into eclampsia if it is complicated by fits. Previous studies provide evidence for a reduced risk of high blood pressure with diets that are high in fibre. However, relatively few studies have focused on the impact of dietary fibre during early pregnancy on the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. To assess the relationship between mother's dietary fibre intake in early pregnancy and risk of pre-eclampsia, researchers in Sweden asked 1,538 pregnant women to complete a 121-item food frequency questionnaire to assess their dietary intake, three months before and during early pregnancy. It was found that women with the highest amounts of fibre in their diets (21 grams or more per day) during both assessment periods were 72 percent less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than those with the lowest levels (less than 12 grams per day). Also, it was noted that with high fibre intake, the lipid profiles of the women also improved. Those with the highest levels of fibre consumption had average triglyceride levels that were lower and HDL-cholesterol levels that were higher compared with women with the lowest levels of dietary fibre. The findings add to the growing body of evidence that fibre consumption before and during early pregnancy offer health benefits to women.
American Journal of Hypertension
July 2008
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