Taking magnesium during pregnancy can have multiple benefits. Read on to learn how this supplement can help.

 

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Supplementing with just one important mineral (on top of your prenatal daily packets) may increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Let’s break down what magnesium is and how it works. 

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods including nuts, seeds, grains, greens, and beans and is necessary for a healthy, functioning body. Magnesium is important for maintaining a normal blood pressure, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and much more. About half of the magnesium in an adult body is found in the bones and the other half is in soft tissues

What pregnancy ailments can magnesium help remedy?

A 2017 randomized control trial found that supplementing magnesium while pregnant may help reduce some pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, low preterm weight, and low birthweight and may reduce the risk of stillbirth. Specifically, this study showed that:

  • Magnesium supplementation shows to be especially beneficial during pregnancy as women are a high risk group for magnesium deficiency. Other high risk groups include individuals with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence, and older adults.
  • Magnesium supplementation shows better pregnancy outcomes by reducing the risk of stillbirth, fetal growth restrictions, and preeclampsia.
  • Some magnesium compounds such as magnesium sulfate are especially effective at preventing preeclampsia.
  • In the trial, the group that received a 300mg effervescent magnesium tablet once a day for one month showed the best pregnancy outcomes and experienced reduced pregnancy complications. 

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Other benefits of magnesium supplementation during pregnancy

Not only is magnesium great for bone, muscle, cardiovascular health, and pregnancy outcomes, there are other benefits associated with magnesium supplementation.

  • Boosts mood: Magnesium acts as a coenzyme that helps to convert tryptophan to serotonin, a mood boosting neurotransmitter. While there is some conflicting data, research supports the notion that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for boosting mental health and helping to prevent postpartum depression and anxiety
  • Helps with sleep: Magnesium’s NMDA antagonist activity along with its GABA receptor work to provide the body with a relaxant effect, helping you to de-stress and get a good night’s sleep.  Find more ways to relieve stress during pregnancy 
  • Supports bone health: Magnesium is helpful for bone structure development, important for mom and the growing baby.
  • Helps with cramping: Some research shows that magnesium supplementation may be helpful for leg cramps in pregnant women, although more research is needed to confirm these claims. 
  • Aids in hydration: Magnesium’s chemical properties make it an essential mineral for hydration. Potassium is a must for hydration, and without magnesium stores, our body would be unable to hold on to potassium as needed.

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Upper limits of magnesium

According to the NIH, the upper limits for magnesium are:

  • Birth to 12 months: no dosage established
  • 1-3 years: 65mg
  • 4-8 years: 110mg
  • 9-18 years (includes pregnant and lactating females): 350mg
  • 19+ years (includes pregnant and lactating females): 350mg

Medication interactions

It is important to note that some medicines may interact poorly with magnesium. Some examples include:

  • Oral bisphosphonates
  • Various antibiotics
  • Loop diuretics
  • Proton pump inhibitors

For specifics on medication interactions, consult with your doctor. 

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Take-aways

  • Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that is essential for many bodily functions including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and blood pressure homeostasis.
  • Supplementing with magnesium shows many benefits during pregnancy including a reduced risk of preeclampsia, stillbirth, low birth weight, and fetal growth restriction. 
  • Magnesium supplementation also aids in sleep, supports bone health, helps with muscle cramping, and has mood boosting properties.
  • There are upper limits for magnesium supplementation, so make sure to stay at or below healthy limits if you do decide to take a magnesium supplement.
  • Some groups are at a higher risk for magnesium deficiency.

 

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