Geophagia, nutrition and health of women with pregnancy-induced hypertension
Background: Calcium is a major nutrient implicated in pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Aside dietary sources, geophagia has been reported to provide calcium needed to prevent PIH. These soils are shown to contain significant amount of heavy metals which have been associated with hypertension.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between geophagia and PIH, assess the dietary intakes and health of participants.
Methods: This study was a case-control involving 30 women with PIH and 70 normotensive pregnant women.
Results: Geophagia was not significantly associated with PIH. Women with PIH practicing geophagia recorded significantly low levels of haemoglobin, calcium and ferritin. Hypertensives recorded impaired fasting blood glucose (5.77±1.71mmol/L, p=0.051), higher levels of urea (3.60±1.29 mmol/L, p=0.000) and creatinine (382.67±11.66 µmol/L, p=0.000). Percentage intakes of macronutrients for normotensives were within the Adequate Macronutrient Distribution Range and PIH group recorded higher intakes of carbohydrate (72.75±16.16 %), lower protein (9.77±5.61 %) and fat (17.15±11.99%). Dietary calcium intakes in both groups were lower than recommended (< 1,000 mg/day).
Conclusion: In this study, geophagia during pregnancy is not directly associated with PIH but is detrimental to maternal health. The pregnant women in this study had considerably low intakes of energy and nutrients. There is a need for measures to ensure adequate maternal nutrition for a positive health and pregnancy outcomes.
Keywords: Nutrition, pregnancy-induced hypertension, health, geophagia, supplementation, calcium, ferritin.