Written by Pradeep
During the nine months of pregnancy cholesterol generally tends to rise with your trimesters, but it is not a life threatening situation. High cholesterol during pregnancy is quite common and is often left untreated as cholesterol has certain other important jobs as well. Cholesterol helps in making the hormones progesterone and estrogen and it’s needless to say that they are the most important hormones throughout the pregnancy. Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for preparing the uterus by thickening the uterine walls for the benefit of your baby. Progesterone especially helps the placenta to function properly throughout the pregnancy. Also, cholesterol plays a major part in brain development of your growing baby. That’s why medicines are not advisable in most of the cases.
As a matter of fact, it is. As the baby starts developing he also begins to develop his own amount of cholesterol and thus increasing the total amount of cholesterol inside mother’s body. Moreover, raised cholesterol levels return to normal in round about four to five weeks after pregnancy. Cholesterol levels between 120 and 190 mg/dl, are usually considered normal, but in pregnancy they can be well over 200 mg/dl.
Though high cholesterol is not a cause for concern during pregnancy, if left uncontrolled, it may increase the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and even preterm birth. Hypertension during pregnancy resulting in pre-eclampsia can be a life threatening situation which, when not treated on time can give rise to seizures which is a dangerous situation for both mother and baby. Increased cholesterol levels can also be dangerous for women who have Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), FH is a genetic disorder caused by a defect on chromosome 19, in this condition body is unable to remove LDL (bad cholesterol) from the blood. Due to Familial Hypercholesterolemia their baseline cholesterol level is much higher and being pregnant contributes to more increased amount.
Nothing in particular will be noticeable, and your life will run smoothly. However, if the levels go beyond the maximum limits and stay the same for a long time, you can be at a risk of some serious complications like a heart attack, or a stroke. This can happen when the cholesterol builds up in your arteries.
A regular blood test can help your doctor to know your cholesterol levels. If you are diagnosed with higher cholesterol levels over 240 mg/dl, additional tests may be done.
Since cholesterol during pregnancy is required to carry some additional important work, medications to control the same are not generally recommended. Diet changes and exercise routines are generally adopted to control cholesterol during pregnancy. Switching to a healthy, well balanced diet steering clear of fried and fatty foods are the best adopted treatments. However, if your cholesterol levels are found to be high post the baby’s birth, medications may be prescribed and you will be advised to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats.
Below are 5 very simple and efficient ways will help to control high level of cholesterol during pregnancy:
\Keeping yourself well-hydrated with water all through the day is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels up and cholesterol levels down. Dehydration can make your body acidic, and thus increase the levels of LDL cholesterol. Religious intake of water will help to eliminate the toxins from your body and thus cleanse it. This will result in lower levels of cholesterol since the waste goes out from the body. However, make sure you have water and other healthy, hydrating drinks, and avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soft drinks which can increase your triglycerides
Eat healthy and watch what you are eating. It’s understandable that you will have some craving for food containing high fat, but it’s important to plan your diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables and high in fibers. Fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fiber, which can act like a sponge to absorb cholesterol that is being cleared out by your liver and thus helping the body to eliminate cholesterol. Whole grains are another excellent food to lower high cholesterol as they contain soluble fiber. Foods containing psyllium are also rich in soluble fiber
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats which can help you to control your cholesterol levels in a healthy way. Among all types of nuts, walnut can be a very good option for snacks as along with unsaturated fats, they are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which aid your baby’s brain development. However, nuts are full of calories, so try having just a handful of same and do not go overboard!
Regular mild and safe exercise can be beneficial in controlling your cholesterol level as it is helpful in raising HDL cholesterol, famous as good cholesterol. A brisk walk is the most recommendable exercise for pregnant women. You can also aim for small activities like 5 or 10 minutes’ walk during the daytime. Staying active throughout your pregnancy will play a vital role in combating high cholesterol levels in pregnancy
Feeling stressed is quite common in pregnancy, but being constantly in stress can have serious effects on you and your baby. Our body produces more energy due to stress, which in turn affect liver and it starts producing and secreting increased amount of cholesterol particularly Bad LDL cholesterol. So try to stay happy and positive throughout your pregnancy as your baby can also feel the emotions which you go through in day to day life
In a nutshell, we have suggested five strategies to lower your cholesterol levels. They center around adopting healthy eating habits, knowing properly what could truly be harmful, exercising regularly and by staying stress free throughout during pregnancy. Being pregnant is a joyful and exhilarating experience and we hope you enjoy it without any worries.