In theory a perfect pregnancy would be stress free and a time for celebration for the parents to be. But in practice many women spend a lot of time and energy worrying about whether they are doing the right thing by their baby with their diet, nutrition and exercise. This article looks at the potential benefits of supplementing with magnesium during pregnancy.
Why take Magnesium During Pregnancy
Pregnant women spend a lot of time suffering from back pain, morning sickness, cramps and hormonal mood swings. There are some indications that there may be benefits in supplementing with magnesium during pregnancy.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for all of us. Many of the essential bodily functions are dependent on the presence of magnesium. The building of teeth and bones, the regulation of blood sugar levels, the control of heart beats and many enzyme reactions need magnesium. Health organisations provide recommended daily intake levels. However, these general recommended amounts of magnesium in the diet are higher for women during pregnancy as the demands of the foetus and the stresses of pregnancy place higher demands on the body.
Specific Benefits of Magnesium Supplementation for Pregnancy
We have written elsewhere about the general benefits of magnesium supplements. However, there are a number that have particular reference to pregnancy which we will discuss here. If you are suffering from any of the issues below and believe that magnesium supplements may help then please first discuss with your doctor before taking any.
– Magnesium and calcium work in harmony to control muscle function. Magnesium helps relax muscles whereas calcium stimulates the muscles to contract. There have been some research studies that have indicated that magnesium may assist in preventing the uterus from contracting prematurely during pregnancy.
– Magnesium may help with muscle cramping. There is some evidence to support the notion that taking magnesium supplements may reduce the severity and intensity of the Charley Horse cramps that too often occur during pregnancy, particularly in the calf muscles. In addition, magnesium may reduce the intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions.
– If you are suffering from constipation during pregnancy then some health professionals may recommend that you consider magnesium.
– Magnesium may be necessary to regulate blood pressure during pregnancy.
– Pain threshold levels may be higher when you take magnesium which can lead to a (marginally) more comfortable birth.
– Magnesium supplementation may reduce the risk of Cerebral Palsy according to research from the UK.
One way of reducing the stresses of pregnancy is to ensure that you eat well and, if necessary, take relevant supplements at the instruction of your doctor or health care professional. Although many women are informed that they may need to take calcium during their pregnancy, fewer are aware that they may need to take magnesium supplements during pregnancy (often taken in conjunction with calcium).
Cautions for taking magnesium during pregnancy
Please check out this article for information on the potential side effects of magnesium. Please note that some of the side effects (such as nausea and diarrhoea) may even be greater during pregnancy.
There are some claims that a deficiency of magnesium during pregnancy may have major implications and there are reports that a severe deficiency may lead to birth defects, infant mortality and pre-eclampsia. However, these are exceptional outcomes and if you have any doubts or concerns, then please raise these at your earliest opportunity with your doctor or physician.
Always discuss your health and nutrition issues with your doctor before you consider taking magnesium supplements as there may be specific reasons why it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances. For example, if you have an iron deficiency and are taking iron tablets, then magnesium/calcium supplements may not be appropriate as calcium, in particular, can interfere with the mechanism of iron absorption.