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talk to me about salt in pregnant women's diets

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I remember that I was told that I should not limit salt in my diet during pregnancy, that doing so would not affect my blood pressure. Of course, I didn't have high blood pressure in my pregnancy.

A friend at work was put on bed rest during her first pregnancy for pre-eclampsia and said that eating high sodium food made her blood pressure shoot up.

So which is it? Is it good to limit salt or is it good to eat salt to taste? I know that Dr. Brewer says "salt to taste." are there other dietary factors that might affect this?

post #2 of 6
I've seen some research studies that basically suggest there is a small percentage of people who are sensitive to sodium intake. For those people, eating a lot of salt would maybe affect their blood pressure. For the rest of us, we could eat salt until the cows came home and it wouldn't affect us.

I would say, don't limit your sodium intake. Eat salt to your taste. If you're discovered to have high blood pressure, then discuss with your care provider if you should limit your sodium intake accordingly.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
(I am not pregnant at the moment.)
post #4 of 6
Totally. Reducing salt in pregnancy is not a good idea, since the extra blood volume we gain in preg needs sodium.

However, eat Ramen Noodles (read: way more salt than most anyone needs in their diet) and you may see a rise in bp.

Salt to taste is the rule of thumb. So is extra protein.

Bedrest for high blood pressure has been shown to be of little value, and in fact might make it worse. (Unless the bp is labile blood pressure, which means that it goes down when a woman is on her side or lying down)
post #5 of 6
I would be curious what her protein intake was like, speaking of Dr Brewer! I actually saw a film of him speaking about dietary issue in pregnant women from the early 70's just a week or two ago. He referenced a study done in the UK in which several thousand pregnant women were divided into two groups and one used salt freely while the other was on a very, very low salt diet. The low salt group had double the infant mortality of the salt group. But as Jan said, there is a small segment of the population that is very sensitive to sodium and I guess caring for them in pregnancy is probably kind of tricky. Brewer does still answer questions when people contact him, so if your friend gets pregnant again, or plans to she could try him.
post #6 of 6
I think that most people who are super sensitive to sodium will naturally limit their salt intake. I'm one of those people, and without anyone ever telling me to I started to severly restrict my salt intake somewhere around puberty. I think it's one of the reasons I crave pickles and olives when I'm pregnant; normally I take in ridiculously low amounts of sodium. It was never an issue during pregnancy for me. In fact, the only time it ever came up was when I was put on Lithium. Sodium and Lithium are very closely related and the way your body metabolizes one has a lot to do with the other. I had to work extra hard to get enough salt in my diet while I was taking lithium, because my natural inclination is to restrict my salt intake and at the time I wasn't much for paying attention to what I was craving and why.
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