Potassium homeostasis in pregnancy

J Reprod Med. 1987 Jul;32(7):517-22.


We selectively reviewed potassium (K) metabolism during human gestation, focusing on the influence of progesterone on renal K excretion. Approximately 300 mEq of K is gained during pregnancy. Two-thirds of it are in the products of conception, but little is known about renal K handling during gestation. We have suggested that progesterone may play a role in preventing the kaliuresis that normally occurs when aldosterone levels are elevated and substantial quantities of sodium are presented to distal nephron sites. In addition, we hypothesize that subtle K secretory problems, such as those known to occur in sickle cell disease, may be aggravated during gestation, probably due to elevated circulating levels of progesterone.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / metabolism
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / metabolism*
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / physiology*


  • Progesterone
  • Potassium