Hypertension and Salt Restriction

The best way for any pregnant woman to be assured of meeting her body’s (and her baby’s) need for sodium is to follow the wisdom of her body and salt her food to taste throughout pregnancy. The body’s simplest salt-regulating mechanism, the taste buds, are the most reliable guides to salt intake management.

The low-salt diet doesn’t work because it overlooks the body’s physiologic self-conserving mechanism and brings about the very conditions it was designed to prevent:

  • High blood pressure - when salt is restricted below body requirements, the kidney reacts by releasing a hormone, renin, into the bloodstream. Renin influences other hormones which, in turn, cause the arterioles to constrict. The effect is to raise the blood pressure since the same amount of blood is being pumped with the same force through a smaller opening. The obstetrician worries about high blood pressure since it often accompanies one of the most dangerous pregnancy diseases, toxemiaAs-defined-by-the-1997-Merriam-Webster-M.... By putting the mother on a low-salt diet he can cause hypertension where there was none before.
  • Low protein intake - the low-salt provision sharply reduces the mother’s range of food choices, and makes the permitted foods less palatable. Her appetite wanes, so she will probably eat less than she should. She will then be even more severely malnourished than a first look at the low-salt diet indicates. As her intake of protein falls, her liver becomes less able to manufacture circulating serum proteins, such as albumin, and albumin levels start to fall. As a result, water is lost from her bloodstream in the the area surrounding the cells (interstitial space) and it appears that other substances in the blood, such as iron, are present in adequate levels (true anemia resulting from the diet is masked). Fluid lost from the bloodstream shows up as generalized swelling of tissues (edemaSwelling,-water-retention,-puffiness.-(a...). Edema caused by this fall in albumin levels is abnormal, a sign of the disease of metabolic toxemia.
  • “Excess” weight gain - the edema will increase as long as the woman’s body is malnourished. Her kidneys excrete less water in the urine as they scramble to keep salt and water in the body within normal limits; the reabsorbed water cannot be held in the bloodstream since albumin levels are too low, so it leaks out into the tissues. Result: added swelling and added pounds.

Pages: 1 2 3

Pages: 1 2 3

  • Home Subpages

  • Pages: 1 2 3

    Copyright  1999-2013 Marci J. Abraham (formerly O'Daffer) and/or Thomas Brewer, M. D. - All Rights Reserved
    Logo image and past logo images published with/for Blue Ribbon Baby content Copyright  2007 Marci J. Abraham (formerly O'Daffer) - All Rights Reserved
    Some material may have an earlier copyright date, if it was written by Dr. Brewer prior to the website being published.