The preeclampsia diet plan has been formulated to help control and manage the condition in such patients during pregnancy and to satisfy their dietary needs.

This high protein, low carb, and low sodium diet forms an important part of preeclampsia treatment. No management is complete without the doctor advising you on the restrictions on what to eat and what to avoid.

Why is the preeclampsia diet important?

The diet does not cure preeclampsia because we know that the only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby at the earliest when it is safe for both the mother and the baby.

The importance of preeclampsia dietary intervention and restriction lies in the fact that it will prevent a mild case from becoming severe and a severe case from precipitating complications. It can also significantly contribute to preventing preeclampsia in high-risk patients.

It should be adhered to religiously by such patients whether the preeclampsia is mild or severe. This precaution is necessary because a mild case can turn severe and most of all, the complications can be dangerous and even fatal for the mother and the baby.

It is an established fact that preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity worldwide.

Low intake of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, is associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia.

In addition, high triglyceride levels, obesity, consumption of high calories, and a low ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 are also possible risk factors.

For pregnant women who are overweight, the diet will also help to tackle your weight issue by restricting the calorie intake.

Preeclampsia diet: Dietary intervention and restrictions

This diet is not a replacement for your prenatal supplements but an add-on. So, take your vitamin supplements as advised.

The dietary treatment advises all women to take calcium and vitamin D supplements from the 8th to 16th gestational weeks and thereafter, extensive nutritional management until delivery. Following the preeclampsia diet, along with its treatment will substantially reduce the risk of preeclampsia complications.

Is salt intake the order of the day? Yes, it is. In an established case of preeclampsia with increased blood pressure, restricting salt intake is advisable as it is in all cases of hypertension. Women planning a pregnancy and associated with high-risk factors should also avoid excess salt intake,

The following nutrients all form important constituents of your preeclampsia diet

Fluid intake

Adequate fluid intake is necessary. Water contributes to an increase in blood supply and in maintaining an adequate amount of amniotic fluid.

Water is vital and helps nutrition reach the body cells, it aids digestion, removes toxins from the body, and maintains healthy body temperature. Drink about 8 to 10 12-ounce glasses every day. It has tremendous all round benefits.

Salt restriction

Experts advise salt restriction in an established case of preeclampsia due to the presence of hypertension.

But, according to the WHO guidelines:

“Restriction in dietary salt intake during pregnancy with the aim of preventing the development of pre-eclampsia and its complications is not recommended”.

However, the guidelines further add that they considered the avoidance of excessive dietary salt intake as a healthy dietary practice.

Proteins and complex carbohydrates

The diet basically incorporates high protein and complex carbohydrate foods and plans all-around nutrition.

Proteinuria is a cardinal sign of preeclampsia. Proteinuria is the passing of protein through the urine. It is not due to the excess of proteins in the mother but, on the contrary, proteinuria depletes the mother of proteins. This can lead to protein deficiency in the pregnant mother. But the fetus requires proteins for its growth.

But the fetus requires proteins for its growth. The body mechanism ensures this supply to the fetus by breaking down the mother’s tissues to provide protein to the growing fetus.

The daily requirement of protein for a pregnant woman is 80 to 100 grams per day.

  • The best foods to obtain this protein requirement are vegetarian sources such as whey protein, beans, peas, nuts, whole milk, dairy products and cheese, wheat grass, and aloe vera juice.
  • Non-vegetarian sources of proteins include eggs, fish like salmon, and meat.

Besides filling up the protein deficiency, these foods will also provide other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Fish are also a great source of omega fatty acids. Other sources of proteins and omega-fatty acids include pumpkin seeds and flax.

About choosing your fish

  • Pregnant women should choose deep sea fish and incorporate the same once a week in their diet. Certain fish contain high amounts of mercury and you should avoid them. These include  King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna.
  • Avoid lake water fish because of the high level of contamination.
  • Fish grown on farms are fed antibiotics prophylactically and should be avoided for fear of developing antibiotic resistance and allergies.


You can ensure an adequate magnesium supply by taking magnesium supplements and Epsom salt baths. These baths enable the absorption of magnesium through the skin.

Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate. In water, this breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. When you soak in warm water mixed with Epsom salts, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin into your body.

Though this theory has not been proven, cases have shown increased magnesium levels in the blood after regular Epsom salt baths.


Calcium is another important nutrient and can be taken through calcium supplements and calcium-rich foods. You require at least one gram of calcium every day during pregnancy to keep a check on your preeclampsia condition.

However, according to the new WHO guidelines, in populations with low dietary calcium intake, daily calcium supplementation of 1.5 g – 2.0 g oral elemental calcium is recommended for pregnant women to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.

Calcium-rich foods include most types of greens, citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, figs, vegetables like turnips, and broccoli.

Vitamin D

Studies show that women with vitamin D deficiency are potential candidates for preeclampsia. You can avoid vitamin D deficiency by eating vitamin D-rich foods, getting adequate sunlight exposure, and taking vitamin D supplements.

Incorporate the following vitamin D-rich foods in your diet:

  • fortified milk or soya milk,
  • fatty fish like salmon and herring,
  • cheese, and
  • yogurt.


Increased intake of potassium will also help to level off the increased blood pressure. Foods rich in potassium include banana, potato peels, mint, chicory, and dandelion leaves.

Vitamins C and E

Antioxidant vitamins, primarily vitamins C and E, also help to reduce the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. Make sure you incorporate foods that are rich in these vitamins into your diet.

  • High vitamin C foods include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, oranges, tomatoes, green peas, and papayas.
  • Food sources of vitamin E include almonds, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, and plant oils.


According to a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG), selenium (a trace mineral) deficiency is one of the common nutritional causes of preeclampsia in pregnancy.

Women who are at risk for preeclampsia should, therefore, maintain an adequate intake of selenium. Food sources include Brazil nuts, eggs, cereals, tuna, etc.

How you can prevent preeclampsia?

Preventing preeclampsia cannot be overstressed. It is not difficult and just needs some disciplined lifestyle on the part of the mother. It can save on the complications that preeclampsia can have on your growing fetus.