Why You Should Monitor Your Sodium Intake When Pregnant
Pregnancy is one of the phases in a woman’s life when maintaining a healthy diet is extremely critical. But to clear things up early on, this isn’t the type of diet that decreases calories and causes you to lose weight. Instead, the expectant mother should fine-tune her eating habits in order to get enough nutrition for her and the baby.
As emphasised by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should focus on getting more calcium (to build bones and teeth), folic acid (to strengthen the brain and spine), iron (to make more blood for oxygen), and protein (to build important organs). Pregnant women need more of these nutrients compared to those who aren’t expecting, since they help in the growth and development of the baby.
Naturally, there are also certain types of food to avoid, such as raw or undercooked food, liver products, soft cheese, unpasteurised milk, fish with Mercury, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and more. Structure the meals to include more whole grains, dairy (yogurt and milk), and lean protein.
Since salt is notorious for being the culprit to several health problems such as high blood pressure, some moms have taken to low-sodium diets as well. This is an understandable decision, given that 1 out of 3 adults have high blood pressure, based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
For expectant mothers, a high sodium intake can cause particular problems. An article on LiveStrong states that while swelling in certain parts of the body is normal when pregnant, too much salt can worsen the situation. It may also impair the baby’s kidney development, and reduce calcium, which we’ve mentioned is needed for the infant’s growth.
Unfortunately, low sodium diets can be detrimental as well and are generally not advisable. As specified in a study presented by Health IQ, only people with high blood pressure should reduce their salt intake. This is because less salt in the body can disrupt hormone levels as well as water consumption of cells.
What’s more alarming is that people with low sodium intake are more likely to experience cardiac problems. For pregnant women, salt is needed in order maintain fluid in the body. This in turn leads to healthily functioning cells.
In terms of the appropriate amount of salt, the recommended daily intake is less than 2,300 milligrams. That’s around one-third of a teaspoon. For pregnant women and those with blood pressure problems, the intake should be 1,500 milligrams, which is roughly one-fourth of a teaspoon. It’s also important to note that no type of salt is better than the other, meaning the choice among sea salt, table salt and kosher salt shouldn’t matter.
If the expectant mother has existing blood pressure issues before pregnancy, her levels should be monitored regularly. Dr. Hrishikesh D. Pai, Secretary General of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India, stressed that “A woman needs to do much more than watching her weight and taking vitamins during pregnancy. There is also a need to carefully monitor vitals especially the blood pressure levels. This is truer of women who have an existing history of high blood pressure, kidney ailments, diabetes, history of preeclampsia during first pregnancy, or those pregnant with multiple fetuses.”
To wrap it up, eating salty food while pregnant is not overly harmful, but there should be a limit as to how much you take in a day. Additionally, the mom must pay regular visits to her gynaecologist for her to know if she’s on the right track.