I have seen a few women just this week, who have experienced pre-eclampsia or eclampsia during their pregnancies.  I thought it might be time to write about it in an effort to help women not fall into this largely avoidable scenario.

Pre-eclampsia affects 5-7% of all pregnant women and has been reported to cause over 76,000 deaths world-wide every year.

The warning symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:
•    Protein in urine
•    Sudden weight gain
•    Headaches, dizziness or fainting
•    High or elevated blood pressure
•    Excessive edema or swelling
•    Ringing in the ears

Pre-eclampsia can put the mother at risk of hypertension, stroke, coma, and death and can compromise blood flow to the uterus, which can result in growth problems before the baby is born. Pre-eclampsia is more likely to occur from the middle of the pregnancy to toward the end of the pregnancy; so it is important to have your urine and blood pressure checked 2 times per month if you have any of the above symptoms. Weekly urine and blood pressure checks closer to the end of your pregnancy will aid in prevention during this higher risk time.
Pre-eclampsia develops when there is a drastic fluid shift in your body from your vessels to your tissue. The most effective way to keep the fluid in the vessels and not in your tissue is to consume a diet high in protein. The development of pre-eclampsia can be managed by changing one’s diet immediately.

Thomas Brewer, MD wrote a book called Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy: A Disease of Malnutrition (1982, Keats publishers) in which he describes his approach to reducing pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. By implementing a high protein diet, he was able to reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia in charity hospitals from 40-50% to 0%.  The high protein diet is defined as “protein at every meal or snack throughout the day and at 1 gram per kilogram of weight.”  So if you weigh 160 pounds in pregnancy, then you would need 80 grams of protein per day.  For a pregnant woman, the recommendation is typically between 80-100 grams of protein per day.

Good sources of protein include:
whey protein, hemp protein, beans, peas, nuts, nut oils and butters, seeds and their oils, organic whole raw milk from grass fed cows or goats, organic vegetarian eggs from free range chickens, wild Alaskan salmon, organic whole milk dairy products & cheese, brewers yeast, wheat germ, wheat grass, aloe vera juice and of course organic animal meat.

The following list of foods with their protein content will help you plan your meals and snacks so you can reach at least 80 grams of protein per day.


•    Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
•    Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
•    Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce
•    Chicken breast, 3.5 oz – 30 grams protein
•    Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
•    Drumstick – 11 grams
•    Wing – 6 grams
•    Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams
•    Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
•    Tuna, 6 oz can – 40 grams of protein
•    Pork chop, average – 22 grams protein
•    Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
•    Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
•    Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
•    Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
•    Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6 grams
Eggs and Dairy
•    Egg, large – 6 grams protein
•    Milk, 1 cup – 8 grams
•    Cottage cheese, ½ cup – 15 grams
•    Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
•    Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
•    Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
•    Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz
Beans (including soy)
•    Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
•    Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
•    Soy milk, 1 cup – 6 -10 grams
•    Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
•    Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
•    Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams
Nuts and Seeds
•    Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein
•    Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
•    Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
•    Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
•    Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
•    Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
•    Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
•    Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

This list can also be found at:   http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/highproteinfood.htm

If you have further questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call our office to set up an appointment for a consultation. 303.449-3777