Preventing Cramps, Headaches, Anxiety and High Blood Pressure
How Important Is Magnesium During Pregnancy?
Magnesium is our powerhouse mineral. It’s at the heart of every cell in the body, helping us to produce vital energy. It also helps to control blood pressure, balance blood sugar, reduce muscle cramps and strengthen bones. It’s no wonder that we can wear out our supplies very quickly! During pregnancy is no exception.
Research has shown that magnesium deficiency is very common in non-pregnant populations, with estimates up to 42% in young adults. To add to that, pregnancy is actually a risk factor for magnesium deficiency, making supplementation of this essential mineral well…essential!
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer when it comes to testing. A blood test, which checks for the magnesium content in blood, accounts for approximately 1% of the body’s total magnesium. The rest is found in bones, muscle and other tissue.
Common signs and symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, headaches, muscle twitches and spasms, general weakness and low mood. Low magnesium in pregnancy can bring an increased risk of conditions that can affect you and your baby’s health significantly, as well as creating a stressful and unpleasant pregnancy and birth experience.
Cramps & Headaches During Pregnancy
Calf muscle cramps in pregnancy are common and can affect sleep quality, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy where the demands for magnesium usually outweighs the supply. It is a stage of continual growth and development, especially for bones and muscle, with the baby more than doubling in size in the first half of the trimester.
Stress & Anxiety in Pregnancy
Pregnancy can bring so much joy and excitement but also quite a bit of worry. Up to one in ten women can experience anxiety and/or depression in pregnancy. Magnesium is one of the body’s great muscle relaxants and helps calm an overactive nervous system, improve your ability to cope with stress, improve the quality of sleep, regulate and improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
The third trimester of pregnancy can bring about a drastic increase in blood pressure and can often be the time when conditions such as pre-eclampsia present themselves. Preeclampsia is pregnancy high blood pressure (hypertension) combined with protein in the urine, and if left untreated can lead to convulsions (eclampsia), posing great risks which are often life threatening. Women with high blood pressure and/or preeclampsia have been shown to have lower levels of magnesium, compared to pregnant women with normal blood pressure.
The good news is that latest research has shown magnesium supplementation of a specific dose and type can reduce the rise in blood pressure, which can commonly occur in the last trimester of pregnancy and can decrease the risk of preeclampsia by 34% when compared to a placebo.
Want to find out how magnesium can help to prevent diabetes and preterm labour? Read my next blog post; Magnesium & Pregnancy Part II