Preventing the Recurrence of Pre-Eclampsia:
How to Really Nourish Your Body to Prepare for Pregnancy
Pre- Eclampsia - A little background The cause of pre-eclampsia is not well understood. The latest and greatest scientific understanding suggests that pre-eclampsia starts during implantation of the placenta, and is a result of incomplete re-formation of the spiral arteries. Basically, the magical little embryo's implantation process should change mom's uterine arteries from "maternal" and "spiral-shaped" to "fetal" and "widened" to create beautiful wide pools of blood to bathe the placenta with all the blood and oxygen the brand spanking new placental organ and baby need. In pre-eclampsia, the still-tight and still- maternal arteries result in a constricted supply of blood to the placenta. This causes signals to be sent to various of mom's systems (her kidney's blood pressure regulating mechanism; her blood vessels ability to constrict and relax; her liver's ability to process hormones) that make it easier for the placenta to get what it needs but throws mom's body off its normal pregnancy rhythms and guides. Pre-Eclampsia is usually first spotted as a high blood pressure, but the real culprit is a poorly perfused placenta. Midwives for years have helped pregnant moms prevent or stop pre-eclampsia in pregnancy by encouraging mom to increase her protein intake, which generates more blood, which helps the liver, kidneys and placenta do their fine and very important work. This additional increase in protein, if started late in pregnancy though, may be too little too late. Best to start with a rich blood supply and fully integrated implantation right from the start!
Pre-Eclampsia in a Previous Pregnancy
Women who've had pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy are more likely than women who have not had it, to have it arise again.
Therefore, if you have had pre-eclampsia, and plan to have another baby, you would want to assure:
1) that your uterine bed is healthy, vibrant and will excellently integrate the new placenta and baby and 2) that your liver, which, along with filtering our blood, and transforming the proteins that we eat into albumin, which helps a pregnant woman build her blood supply and feed her baby, is as robust and happy and blood-rich as possible.
Therefore- here are the steps I recommend to create a healthy placental implantation, robust blood supply and happy liver for your normal, happy healthy pregnancy:
1) Build your uterine lining and make your uterus "smart" and toned.
* Herbs * that are excellent at toning the uterus are Red Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, and Nettle. You can often find these herbs in Pregnancy Tea! :) You are safe to drink these herbs as a tea throughout your pregnant and non-pregnant time. (Cheaper and possibly more effective but far less convenient would be to order the herbs yourself - Mountain Rose Herbs is a good source- and make the tea in bulk.) Herbalists say it takes 3 months of consistent use of these herbs to really make a difference. Start easy, enjoy your tea with a little honey and a moment to yourself, and use it as a gentle meditation for your beautiful little uterus who is so amazing that she makes people!
These herbs help your uterus grow a fluffy healthy bed, strong arteries and veins, and make it "smart." By smart, we mean, when implantation begins, the hormones, chemical signals, and endothelial lining of the uterus all work in harmony to encourage the chemically appropriate and really incredibly brilliant reception of your healthy fertilized little eggie into a rich, appropriately- transforming uterus so that implantation is complete, maternal vessels become wide open pools for your little placenta, and your blood supply amply reaches your baby-cocoon.
* Greens* It's simple. Green veggies or green powders in smoothies. I like Garden of Life's green powder, 1 scoop in a smoothie, a few times a week. (I also eat a lot of green leafy veggies with a lot of bacon and garlic, but that's just me.) This will help with cellular health, oxygenation of tissues for a rich placental bed, and cells that know how to work together to promote your little baby really taking root nicely in there.
2) Robust blood supply* You COULD use a blood builder like Mega Foods Blood Builder, which works GREAT, or you could eat leafy greens or you could eat beets, red meat - basically "red" foods (red chard...) - Generally, what I'm saying is: think about what foods and water you are taking in that could be building your blood. Maybe you know of other foods? Maybe you want to look it up and find which foods build your blood that appeal to YOU. But build your blood. Rich, robust blood will nourish your uterus, and set you up for a rich blood supply in pregnancy.
3) Support your liver (This is not a campaign). "Support your Liver!" Hahah!
Any time our emotional stresses are taking a toll on our heart, mind or body, they will affect our livers. The liver processes 500+ hormones and many of our daily stresses, along with filtering our blood, and even transforming the proteins that we eat into albumin, which helps a pregnant woman build her blood supply and feed her baby. With over 500 metabolic functions, the liver clears the blood of hormones, and returns "clean" blood to the circulation. The Liver also metabolizes toxic byproducts of digestion and environment. In other words: it's a powerhouse of detoxifying function! In pregnancy, the liver has to process 50% more blood, and lots more hormones. So it has to be strong and rich. If you've ever had any drug or alcohol issues, in particular, you want to nourish your liver particularly well before and during your pregnancy. With that in mind, here are some ways you can nourish your liver and keep it "toned." By "toned" we mean that the liver knows what to do and has the health to do what it knows to do. As all good livers do of course!
Here are a few ways you can support your liver gently and effectively. You might want to start with just 1 idea at first and if you've kept it up for a week or two, add another. You're just showing a little bit of liver stress. No need to overdo it. :) Milk thistle? Dandelion? You can also go to Sprouts or local health food store, pick one supplement up, hold it, and ask your system if that's the one it needs. :)
Liver Support Here are some general recommendations to provide support for the liver:
Choline is part of a B-vitamin complex that supports and heals the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. Foods rich in choline include lecithin, egg yolk, liver, brewer’s yeast, and wheat germ. A daily supplement of choline can be taken along with a B-complex vitamin. Start with a lower dose, say 200mg, and work up slowly to at least 500 mg daily.
Spring dandelion root tincture is a foremost liver tonic that can be safely used even throughout pregnancy. Start with a dropperful, once or twice daily.
Milk Thistle tincture, one-half dropperful, 3 times daily, consistently, will stimulate the regeneration of liver cells, and protect the liver from damage.
Increase intake of unrefined oil, fresh lemon juice, beets, and dark greens. These gently support the liver.
Avoid the following foods or limit them greatly: saturated fats, simple carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, fruit juice, honey, etc.), oxidized fatty acids (fried oils), and animal products.
The information in this Blog Post comes from Understanding Diagnostic Testing in the Childbearing Year, by Anne Frye. Also helpful: The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy by Shonda Parker, p 243- 244
Enjoy, My Friend! :)