Treating High Cholesterol During Pregnancy
Recently, studies have shown that pregnant women who have high blood
cholesterol are at risk of developing
pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening
condition where the pregnant woman’s
blood pressure becomes dangerously high
that is directly correlated to pregnancy and high cholesterol. These
cholesterol side effects if not brought under control can lead to seizures
that will endanger the life of the mother and the unborn
During pregnancy, most doctors recommend that only
exercise be used to control cholesterol.
This is generally okay, because
pregnant women are usually young, and high cholesterol leads to problems in
middle age and old age (so no immediate problems ought to arise)
pregnant for only a relatively short period of time (though it seems forever
at the time), and the long-term risk of
heart disease if cholesterol is not
controlled for 9 or 10 months is felt to be relatively minimal (though this
has not been studied). According to current thinking, it's due to the effect of elevated levels of
estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone on your liver. They'll go back down
after delivery, and they'll go back down even faster with
Try to follow the steps indicated for a healthy cholesterol
Since pregnancy requires you to consume more
calories and avoid certain
foods, it is important to seek the advice of a nutrition expert before trying
to treat your high cholesterol through your diet.
Introduce more fiber into your diet. Both soluble and insoluble fiber have
been shown to help reduce cholesterol in most patients and can be found in
foods that are appropriate for a
pregnant woman's diet, such as fruits,
vegetables and whole grains such as oatmeal.
Check with your doctor whether a reduction in the amount of
fat you eat is
advisable during your pregnancy. Your nutritionist may advise you to consume a
certain amount of fat each day for the neurological health of your baby but
might instruct you to seek out healthier sources for it such as the
monounsaturated fats found in olive oil or avocados.
Discuss exercise options with your doctor. Women who stay active early in
pregnancy may have lower cholesterol than those who take it easy, new research
suggests. If you have been exercising consistently before your pregnancy, you
should be able to continue exercising throughout most of your pregnancy.
However, your doctor may advise you against engaging in high-impact aerobics,
which may put too much stress on your heart.
Try to workout on low-impact cardio machines such as elliptical
treadmills and stationary bikes. These machines allow you to increase your
heart rate to an acceptable level without putting additional strain on your
joints or back. Remember, that physical activity helps lower cholesterol
levels whether it involves everyday activities like vacuuming, stair climbing,
lawn mowing or gardening or a structured
exercise routine. Exercise helps
lower cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of HDL cholesterol (the good
kind) in your blood while reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol (the bad,
Treat yourself to lots of
water after exercising and throughout the day. By
avoiding sugary or caffeinated beverages, you can keep your triglycerides down
during pregnancy--an important factor in maintaining a low cholesterol level.
Accept that most doctors do not worry too much about high cholesterol in
pregnant women. Most do not believe that 9 months of untreated high
cholesterol presents a high risk to the overall health of their pregnant
In brief, pregnant women are advised to reduce cholesterol
side effects by eating healthy, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water,
and avoiding alcohol and tobacco smoking, including second hand smoke.
Warning: Pregnant women should watch their cholesterol health
during pregnancy to help avoid the progression of atherosclerosis in their
children later in their lives. Women who are dealing with cholesterol
disease during their pregnancy are not able to take medication during the
gestation period. If they develop hypercholesterolemia – an abnormally high
concentration of cholesterol in the blood stream – the side effects of the
condition will affect the child more than the mother. The fetus could develop
fat patches in the artery walls and they turn into atherosclerotic lesions
during childhood. If not treated, these lesions could cause death.