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Deborah Sakua Sackey
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana



Calcium is a major nutrient implicated in pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Aside dietary source of calcium, geophagia has been reported to provide calcium needed to prevent PIH. These soils are shown to also contain significant amount of heavy metals which have been associated with hypertension. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between geophagia and PIH, and assess the dietary intakes and health outcomes in participants. This study was a case-control involving 30 women with PIH and 70 normotensive pregnant women. 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). Geophagia and energy drink intake was not significantly associated with PIH. Coffee intake significantly increased the risk of PIH (OR, 4.10; 95% CI 2.10-8.00; p=0.004) while food supplementation during pregnancy significantly reduced the risk of PIH (OR, 0.33; 95% CI 0.17-0.61; p=0.017). Hypertensives recorded impaired fasting blood glucose (5.77±1.71 mmol/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). There was no significant difference in serum calcium and ferritin levels in both groups. PIH women practicing geophagia recorded significantly low levels of haemoglobin, haematocrit and ferritin levels. The total population of pregnant women under this study has considerably low intakes of energy and nutrients. There is the need for measures to ensure adequate maternal nutrition for a positive health and pregnancy outcome. Key words: Nutrition, Pregnancy-induced hypertension, geophagia, supplementation, calcium

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