Calcium supplementation during pregnancy and lactation: effects on the mother and the fetus

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Apr;194(4):937-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2005.05.032.

Abstract

Calcium consumption is essential for bone development and maintenance throughout life, yet more than one half of the female population in the United States does not consume the recommended amount of calcium. Calcium intake is especially crucial during pregnancy and lactation because of the potential adverse effect on maternal bone health if maternal calcium stores are depleted. There is often a transient lowered bone mineral density and increased rate of bone resorption, with the greatest consequence during the third trimester and throughout lactation. Studies indicate that calcium consumption should be encouraged, especially during pregnancy and lactation, to replace maternal skeletal calcium stores that are depleted during these periods. Because the fetus in utero and the neonate through breast-feeding are dependent on maternal sources for the total calcium load, adequate maternal calcium intake also can affect fetal bone health positively. Proper calcium consumption can be attained through the diet by the consumption of dairy products or leafy greens (such as kale), the consumption of fortified foods, or by supplementation with widely available calcium-containing supplement products. Because many women experience heartburn during pregnancy, calcium-based antacids are ideal for providing heartburn relief, and they offer a calcium supplement to ensure maternal and fetal bone health, without the danger of adverse effects on the neonate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy

Substances

  • Calcium, Dietary