CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS IN PREGNANT WOMEN
Poor maternal and newborn health and nutrition contribute significantly to the burden of disease and mortality. Calcium supplement has the potential to reduce adverse gestational outcomes, in particular by decreasing the risk of hypertension in pregnancy, which is associated with a significant number of maternal mortality and considerable risk of preterm birth. The preterm birth further increases the early and infant mortality.
In supplements, calcium is present in the forms of carbonate, citrate, lactate and gluconate. All these forms generally provide good bioavailability.
The advantages of taking calcium supplements include a reduction in risk (50-78%) of pre-eclampsia and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. A reduction in this complication is associated with lower perinatal morbidity and mortality.
Calcium supplementation is recommended as part of antenatal care in populations with low calcium intake and for prevention of preeclampsia.
Suggested scheme for calcium supplementation in pregnant women
Dosage: 1.5- 2.0g elemental calcium/ day
Frequency: Daily with total daily dosage divided into three doses
(preferably taken at mealtime)
Duration: From 20weeks gestation until end of pregnancy
Target group: All pregnant women, particularly those at higher risk of
Settings: Area with low calcium intake
Calcium sources can be obtained mainly from dairy products.
(Excerpt from WHO guideline: Calcium supplementation in pregnant women. 2013)