The levels of many essential minerals decrease during pregnancy if un-supplemented, including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and possibly chromium and iodine. Sub-optimal intake of minerals from preconception through pregnancy increases the risk of many pregnancy complications and infant health problems. In the U.S., dietary intake of minerals is often below the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), especially for iodine and magnesium, and 28% of women develop iron deficiency anemia during their third trimester. The goal of this paper is to propose evidence-based recommendations for the optimal level of prenatal supplementation for each mineral for most women in the United States. Overall, the evidence suggests that optimal mineral supplementation can significantly reduce a wide range of pregnancy complications (including anemia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, hyperthyroidism, miscarriage, and pre-eclampsia) and infant health problems (including anemia, asthma/wheeze, autism, cerebral palsy, hypothyroidism, intellectual disability, low birth weight, neural tube defects, preterm birth, rickets, and wheeze). An evaluation of 180 commercial prenatal supplements found that they varied widely in mineral content, often contained only a subset of essential minerals, and the levels were often below our recommendations. Therefore, there is a need to establish recommendations on the optimal level of mineral supplementation during pregnancy.
Keywords: calcium; chromium; iron; magnesium; minerals; pregnancy; selenium; supplements.