Assumption: It is wise to keep processed sugar to a minimum during pregnancy
This Norwegian study concludes that processed sugar (sugar-enhanced beverages were mentioned specifically) can contribute to the condition known as preeclampsia. Sugars found naturally in fruit did not cause the same problems and, in fact, were associated with a decreased risk of preeclampsia.
I am not one to turn down sugary treats when they are offered from time to time, but I can see the wisdom in not keeping them around and indulging daily. 🙂 This study does not mention high fructose corn syrup, but since that is one of the main sugars used in beverages, I can’t help but think this one to particularly stay away from. Several years ago I remember reading some advice (sorry no citation here; will look for a study!) that increased protein consumption could decrease ones chance of preeclampsia. That advice would seem to go along with this in that a high protein/ low sugar diet would be a healthy one. I am pleased to see, however, that fruit was not implicated with processed sugar. The body does handle different kinds of sugars differently and natural sugars like those found in fresh fruit are good for you! (Be sure not to mistake fruit for fruit juice, however. Even 100% fruit juice is the juice of MANY pieces of fruit, which can be too much of a good thing.)
Assumption: There is no known way to prevent preeclampsia.
According to the Preeclampsia Foundation,
Thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from a dangerous condition called preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preeclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby.
There are many theories about the causes of preeclampsia and how to prevent it, but none have been proven. However, there are studies taking place that hope to shed some light on the topic. This is a study that demonstrates that many women who experience preeclampsia have notably low levels of vitamin D.
Lately, doctors have been recommending increased vitamin D for maintaining health in a variety of ways. My mom has been told to increase her vitamin D and my gynecologist recommended a multivitamin with increased vitamin D. My pediatrician is even recommending vitamin D supplements for my infant! It seems that vitamin D is an important nutrient for many facets of health and apparently, pregnancy is one of them. Check your prenatal multivitamin and ask your doctor or midwife about the possibility of increasing your dose of D!