If singer Nivea‘s recent interviews have shown anything, it’s that she has overcome a lot in her 36 years on this planet. She’s been married, divorced, had kids (her oldest is 13), fallen in and out of love and in and out of the spotlight, and also dealt with addiction and some serious health struggles. One incident that you might not have known about was that when Nivea had her first child, daughter Navy with ex-husband Terius “The-Dream” Nash, she had a stroke. She said it was because of the remedy she used to deal with some intense sickness and nausea during pregnancy.
“I had a stroke after I had Navy, because I was literally eating salt out of my purse,” she said in an interview with WPGC 95.5‘s Poet. “I didn’t know about the fluid retention and how you could swell your brain and actually cause your brain to scrape your skull, which is an actual headache, not what we call a headache — that’s just tension. So I went through that. Thank God nothing was wrong, no damage or anything like that, but what a scare, right? But it’s like wow, I survived that? That’s amazing! With nothing happening as an effect. That was scary, but I learned that you can’t eat salt [laughs]. Shaking salt in the palm of your hand.”
“I was so sick that I was tired of being nauseous and throwing up,” she added. “And you know salt curbs nausea so I literally had a salt shaker in my purse, shaking it in my hand, eating it. But I got through that and I couldn’t breastfeed for a month, but I breastfed all of my children for a little while, as long as I could. I’ve learned a lot, child.”
And while she blames her consumption of table salt for the medical emergency, it’s more common than people think for women to be susceptible to strokes during pregnancy. According to a study from 2011, it was found that during pregnancy and postpartum, there is an increased risk of stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage. Causes that are unique to this time in a woman’s life include preeclampsia and eclampsia, as well as an amniotic fluid embolus (or clot), postpartum angiopathy (constriction of blood vessels) and postpartum cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle).
Unfortunately, Black women, and those over 35, tend to be the most at risk for a stroke during this time. But whether you’re pregnant or not, there are ways to curb the issues that are associated with a stroke. That includes not smoking, being active, trying to maintain a healthy weight, and as we can learn from Nivea, eating a diet low in sodium, as well as low in fat, but high in fiber.
You can see what she had to say about her very scary experience at the 8:00 mark: