Calcium, magnesium, and zinc supplementation and perinatal outcome

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The overall importance of nutrition to favorable perinatal outcome is only beginning to be fully appreciated. Although nutritional status can be linked to such things as socioeconomic class and education, it is nutrition directly that exerts a biologic effect. This review has attempted to look at three elements and their relationship to maternal and fetal outcome. At the present time, there does not seem to be a role for routine magnesium supplementation during pregnancy. Magnesium deficiency, as an isolated nutritional deficiency, is rare, and the evidence is, at best, weak that magnesium supplementation reduces the risk of poor perinatal outcome. Zinc deficiency is also a very rare isolated nutritional finding. Our ability to measure zinc accurately, be it in leukocytes or serum, is improving, but the routine use of zinc supplements during pregnancy cannot be recommended at this time. It may be that zinc will be a useful diagnostic marker, rather than a therapeutic intervention. There is substantial evidence that the average American diet does not contain sufficient calcium. An expansive literature continues to grow in the areas of calcium and colon cancer, calcium and breast cancer, calcium and hypertension, and calcium and osteoporosis. Is it possible that our susceptibilities to these problems begin in utero? Obviously, the answer is unknown. What is known is that supplemental calcium to some degree is needed in the diets of most Americans and in about two thirds of pregnant women. Calcium supplementation seems to affect blood pressure favorably and, pending confirmation with larger trials, may significantly reduce prematurity and preeclampsia risk, thus improving perinatal outcome for a large number of our high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalClinical obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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