If you’re wondering: what should I eat if I have pre-eclampsia? Worry no more!  In today’s blog, I’m going to update you on the latest evidence on nutrition for pre-eclampsia. 

What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure. Typical dietary strategies for high blood pressure include a low salt diet and a calorie-controlled diet to help optimise weight. However, current guidelines do not recommend these two dietary strategies for pre-eclampsia unless undertaken under the supervision of a health care professional.  Why?  Reducing your salt intake rapidly can cause your fluid levels to drop which can be harmful to your baby. You certainly want to avoid high salt foods like pizza and potato chips, but it’s not recommended to follow a super low salt diet. 

And, rapid weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy as you could starve your baby of nutrition.  Saying that, if you have preeclampsia, it is very important that you monitor your calorie intake to make sure that you’re not gaining excessive weight during your pregnancy, as this could make things worse. 

What should you eat if you have preeclampsia? 

Well, because preeclampsia often causes problems to your circulation, it can reduce the amount of nutrients that your baby is getting.  So, it’s more important than ever to eat a nutrient-rich diet. Include plenty of healthy foods like wholegrains, fish, nuts, legumes, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.  However, there’s three key nutrients that I’d recommend that you focus on….

1. Antioxidants

Research suggests that antioxidant rich foods such as fruits and vegetables are particularly important to reduce oxidative stress caused by preeclampsia, so ensure that you have a variety of different coloured fruit and veg each day, as this is indicative of eating a variety of different antioxidants.

2. Omega 3

As I mentioned earlier, preeclampsia can impact the amount of nutrition that your baby gets, so animal studies have found that preeclampsia can impact your babies brain development compared to babies of mothers who don’t have preeclampsia.  This means that brain-building nutrients such as omega 3 are particularly important if you have preeclampsia.  Fish is one of the best sources of omega 3, so ensure that you’re eating low mercury, omega 3 rich fish two to three times per week during the rest of your pregnancy.

3. Calcium

Research shows that adequate calcium intake is one of the best preventatives for developing preeclampsia, and although I couldn’t find any studies specifically looking at the impact of calcium for women who already have it, it makes sense that it would be helpful for Mums who have preeclampsia to help prevent it from getting any worse.  Although the reasons why calcium is so beneficial are still unclear, it’s thought to be related to relaxing the blood vessels so that they don’t pump blood around your body so quickly. Obviously milk, yoghurt and cheese are some of the best sources of calcium, so aim for two to three serves every day – but just make sure that you avoid cheeses which have a high listeria risk such as feta.

Now, to make things a little easier for you, I’ve developed a free pregnancy meal plan.  Just go to www.melaniemcgrice.com/pregnancy to download it.

And make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel, Nourish with Melanie. Be sure to check out some of my videos such as ‘Is caffeine safe during pregnancy?’ and ‘What to eat when your baby is small for gestational age’.



  1. @Anz.D

    Hello there, I was looking answer for why our unborn baby has died in 8th weeks. I haven’t got one best reason for it. It’s sad , I wife gave a birth for our first daughter with preeclampsia. It been like two years . After two yerars of our first baby , she got pregnancy however, it was so frustrating died in her tommy .

  2. Lynn Rolens

    My daughter had preeclampsia in her first pregnancy. It was so bad that her Libya blew up like two water balloons she almost died. There are very few cases of what happened to her and there was a 90% mortality rate. She is pregnant again and I would like to know what type of diet she should be on this time around

  3. Jackie king

    Hello, what are some nutritionals foods that will be beneficial for women who have had preeclampsia after birth thank you in advance.

    • Anonymous

      I’m interested as well in post preeclampsia diet!

  4. Alex Thomas

    Hi what should a women Who suffered preeclampsia Eat after given birth

    • eve Santa

      Hello can I prevent preeclampsia in a second pregnancy ?

      • Susana

        Yes! I had preclamsia in my first pregnancy but not in my second and third pregnancy!. With a good diet,exercise, meditation 🧘‍♀️ and faith .!

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