Magnesium helps to build and repair tissues during pregnancy and works to regulate your blood sugar levels. It can also help reduce leg cramps. During pregnancy, your need for magnesium increases.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, in her book The Magnesium Miracle reminds us that women were given Epsom Salt Baths (which are magnesium) to relieve pregnancy symptoms for generations and says:
"Always check with your obstetrician…before adding any supplement, but know
that magnesium has a long history of safety for both mother and child."
Magnesium is a mineral that your body needs to form bone, protein and fatty acids. It relaxes your muscles and helps your blood to clot appropriately. Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral required to regulate body temperature, nucleic acid, and protein synthesis with an important role in maintaining nerve and muscle cell electrical potentials. It may reduce fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia as well as increase birth weight.
Magnesium Deficiency During Pregnancy
It's hard to meet your magnesium requirement with a healthy, varied diet because the soil is depleted of most Magnesium stores. Yes, magnesium is included in some prenatal vitamin supplements but it’s not enough to make up for a true deficiency. You are likely falling short of your nutritional requirements if your diet isn't great or you haven't been able to eat much. It’s likely that you’ll need to supplement your diet.
An untreated Magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia, poor growth and infant mortality. Magnesium deficiency signs include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, muscle twitching, poor memory, irregular heartbeat, and weakness. These are all exaggerated during pregnancy because you’re eating for two!
As your first step, you’ll increase the amount of foods that have magnesium in your diet. Vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains all have magnesium and if you are not eating many of these- then you SHOULD start.
Earlier signs of Magnesium deficiency start with common pregnancy problems including:
The most obvious and severe symptom of deficiency of magnesium in pregnancy is Pre-eclampsia. About 7% of pregnant women end up diagnosed with eclampsia or preeclampsia. The symptoms of swelling in the legs, fatigue and sometimes dangerously high blood pressure can range from a mild annoyance to a deadly problem that forces you to have an emergency induced labor, a ruptured placenta or even a stroke!
While women with the early form of this problem just 'get watched' by the medical profession, the women whose symptoms are severe enough to go to the hospital will immediately get an infusion of magnesium to bring the blood pressure down and relax the uterus.
How Much Is Enough?
The Recommended Daily Allowance of magnesium is 300 mg per day for women. But most women only get about 100 mg per day and most prenatal multivitamins only have about 100 mg in them.
There is no upper level for magnesium obtained through your diet, but it is possible to get too much magnesium from supplements. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, you should not get more than 350 mg a day of magnesium from supplements during pregnancy. Too much can cause cramps, diarrhea and toxicity. The best thing is that your body has its own filter. If you have too much Magnesium in your body, you naturally excrete it through your blood or urine.
Magnesium’s Impact on Pregnancy
Research suggests that getting adequate magnesium during pregnancy can help prevent the uterus from contracting prematurely. Magnesium also helps build strong teeth and bones in your baby.
Because Magnesium has a good effect on muscles, it can help to prevent premature contractions by relaxing the muscles of the womb. Scientists have investigated the effect of giving magnesium during pregnancy and found that women taking magnesium had less chance of having low birthweight and premature babies, and their babies had better Apgar score. Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquillizer’, so it can be invaluable if you are suffering from tension and/or stress. It’s also a good basic treatment for insomnia.
Magnesium supplementation has been used safely in hospitals for decades to treat toxemia and pre-term labor. Tens of thousands of hospitals use it regularly with virtually ZERO reports of harm to the mother or the baby.
Magnesium is magnificent for soon-to-be mommies. Dive in!