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Magnesium in pregnancy: when it makes sense

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 205 views

Everyone needs magnesium. However, pregnancy increases the need for this vital mineral, albeit only slightly. However, pregnant women usually get enough magnesium through a balanced diet. In the case of problems during pregnancy such as calf cramps, premature labor or preeclampsia (“pregnancy poisoning”), however, the administration of magnesium supplements makes sense. Read everything you need to know about magnesium and pregnancy here!

Why do we need magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that we need to get from food on a regular basis. It performs numerous tasks in the human body. For example, magnesium influences a large number of metabolically active enzymes and is involved in the transmission of stimuli from nerve to muscle cells. Furthermore, magnesium stabilizes the bones and contributes to the function of cardiac and vascular muscle cells.

A lack of magnesium therefore leads, for example, to muscle cramps (such as nocturnal calf cramps) and seizures caused by nerves. Listlessness, dizziness as well as alternating constipation and diarrhea can be further signs of an insufficient magnesium concentration in the body. Heart palpitations or cardiac arrhythmias are sometimes based on a lack of magnesium.

Pregnancy: need for magnesium

Pregnancy slightly increases the need for magnesium. Pregnant women should take in around 310 milligrams of magnesium per day. For non-pregnant women between the ages of 25 and 51, the recommended daily amount is 300 milligrams.

This ten milligram difference can be easily covered through nutrition. As a rule, magnesium supplements can therefore be dispensed with.

Which foods contain magnesium?

A balanced and varied diet provides us with the daily amount of magnesium we need. Foods that are particularly rich in magnesium are:

  • fruit (like bananas, raspberries )
  • Vegetables (all green vegetables as well as carrots, potatoes)
  • Whole grains (like bread, oatmeal, muesli)
  • Milk and milk products such as cheese and yoghurt
  • Legumes (like beans, peas, lentils)
  • nuts and sunflower seeds
  • soy products
  • meat

In summer, the body loses important minerals such as magnesium and calcium through sweat . Drinks can then not only fill up the necessary water reserves, but also replace the lost minerals. Tap and mineral water do a good job here. The amount of magnesium contained is stated on the labels of the mineral water bottles.

Pregnancy with complications  

Sometimes, for medical reasons, the additional intake of magnesium during pregnancy is advisable. The doctor treating you will prescribe magnesium supplements in the event of certain complications or a proven deficiency in the pregnant woman. Such complications can be:

Calf cramps: If pregnant women often suffer from (nocturnal) calf cramps, there may be a magnesium deficiency . Dietary supplements or prescription drugs with magnesium relieve the symptoms.

Preterm labor is different from normal labor. They occur over a long period of time and at short intervals. If the calculated due date is still too far away, pregnant women should see a doctor as soon as possible! Otherwise, the child may be born prematurely. Magnesium supplements and plenty of rest and relaxation are often prescribed to combat preterm labour.

Preeclampsia (” pregnancy poisoning  ) is characterized, among other things, by high blood pressure , accumulation of water in the tissue (edema) and proteinuria (increased excretion of proteins in the urine). Severe preeclampsia threatens premature birth , malnutrition or the death of the unborn child. Neurological disorders and seizures can occur in the pregnant woman herself. This life-threatening complication of preeclampsia is called eclampsia. To prevent seizures, affected women are given magnesium infusions.

Pregnancy: Magnesium as a precaution?

Some experts recommend that every woman take magnesium during pregnancy. This should, for example, prevent child growth disorders or preeclampsia and increase birth weight. However, scientific studies deny magnesium this good effect.  


A healthy and varied diet covers the daily need for magnesium. Pregnancy also usually does not require any additional magnesium supplements. If you still want to take magnesium during pregnancy, you should discuss this with your doctor first.

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