Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of death in pregnant women and newborn babies worldwide. Preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks) is often caused by high blood pressure and is the leading cause of newborn deaths, particularly in low-income countries.
The review of 13 trials, involving 15,730 women, found that calcium supplementation during pregnancy is a safe and relatively cheap means of reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia in women at increased risk, and women from communities with low dietary calcium. Women were also less likely to die or have serious problems due to pre-eclampsia. Babies were less likely to be born preterm. No adverse effects have been found but further research is needed into the ideal dosage for supplementation.
Hofmeyr GJ, Lawrie TA, Atallah ÁN, Duley L: Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems.