Pre eclampsia pregnancy

The results of a study reported in 1997 in the British MedicalJournal suggest that women who take calcium supplements in pregnancy have children with lower blood pressures. Researchers measured the blood pressures of almost 600 children of women who had previously been involved in a double-blind trial of the effects of calcium on blood pressure during pregnancy. The results showed that, overall, systolic blood pressure was lower in the calcium group, particularly among overweight children.

Pre eclampsia pregnancyUse of calcium supplements during pregnancy may lower a woman's risk of pre-eclampsia, a disorder which occurs in one in every 20 pregnant women. Symptoms of pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure, headache, protein in the urine, blurred vision and anxiety. It can lead to eclampsia, a seizure disorder which can cause complications with pregnancy, and even death. There is some evidence that abnormalities in calcium metabolism are involved in pre-eclampsia. Many pregnant women do not consume enough calcium to ensure optimal blood pressure regulation, and the results of several clinical trials have suggested that calcium supplements reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia.

A 1996 analysis of clinical trials which looked at the effects of calcium intake on pre-eclampsia and pregnancy outcomes in 2500 women found that those who consumed 1500 to 2000 mg of calcium supplements per day were 70 per cent less likely to suffer from high blood pressure in pregnancy.

However, in a study published in 1997 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that calcium supplements did not prevent pre- eclampsia. The study, the largest ever done on the subject, involved 4589 healthy, first-time mothers. Half of the subjects received 2000 mg of calcium per day and the other half received a placebo. The researchers then assessed the incidence of high blood pressure and protein excretion in the urine. No significant differences in the groups were found. Supplements did not reduce other complications associated with childbirth or increase the incidence of kidney stones. The results of this study still leave open the possibility that calcium supplements may be useful as the women included in the study were already consuming higher than average levels of calcium than is typical even before they took the supplements. Women at high risk of pre-eclampsia were also not included in the investigation.

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