NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pregnant women who take calcium supplements reduce their risk of developing preeclampsia, sometimes called toxemia of pregnancy, according to a new study. However, calcium supplementation has no effect on the risk of preterm birth or stillbirth.
Dr. G. J. Hofmeyr, of the University of the Witwatersrand/University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 12 clinical trials, involving over 15,500 women, that compared at least 1 gram of calcium daily during pregnancy with an inactive "placebo" supplement.
First off, this is a study. 12 clinical trials, 15,500 women, placebos; fantastic. The gist of this study is that calcium taken during pregnancy can prevent some complications (preeclampsia and blood pressure issues, namely). The authors of the study almost write off the results. Basically, by the time most women in rural areas are ready to get doctor’s care during pregnancy, the time for extra calcium has passed. It seems like the best thing someone pregnant or looking to get pregnant can do is eat a balanced diet and avoid lead paint, alcohol, drugs, physical trauma, microwaves, X-rays, radiation in general, and stress-related activity. A lot of people probably get pregnant by some combination of these ill-advised activities. Oh well.