Generally, foods that are rich in fiber are also considered as foods which are a rich source of magnesium. Magnesium acts as a helper molecule in about 600 biochemical reactions. They’re usually found in leafy greens, nuts, legumes, vegetables and whole grain foods. Some of the functions of magnesium are in the production of DNA, blood pressure, bone formation, nerve function and protein synthesis. They also help in the absorption of vitamin C and D.
Talking about magnesium during pregnancy, it decreases the chances of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, pre-mature labor, growth restriction, hypertension and placental dysfunction.
Why is Magnesium needed during Pregnancy?
Just as your body needs magnesium to carry out the essential processes, your baby’s developing body needs magnesium as well. During your pregnancy, with the other vital processes, magnesium also helps in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Additionally, it prevents premature labor and pregnancy complications which could prove to be harmful for both, the mother and the baby.
Benefits of Magnesium during Pregnancy:
Along with acting as a helper molecule in carrying out various vital processes, magnesium has many benefits during pregnancy to the mother and the child. We will discuss some of the benefits of magnesium during pregnancy.
Having heart burns and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common among pregnant women and is usually caused due to the pressure by the growing baby. As the baby causes pressure, there is an acid reflux, these can be coped by using antacid supplements that contain magnesium. Hence, magnesium helps in pregnancy related nausea and GI spasms. People with excessive loss of fluids from the body or people who suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease should consume additional amounts of magnesium to maintain adequate levels.
During pregnancy, you carry a lot of body weight and that means stress on your legs. Carrying your own weight and your baby’s weight can ultimately result in you having leg cramps frequently which can be quite uncomfortable and might disturb your sleep throughout the night. Having proper amounts of magnesium can you reduce the frequency and the intensity of these leg cramps.
Pregnancy can make you feeling sleepy. In fact, the reason may be that carrying all the weight makes you tired and exhausted. You should also sleep as much as you can and rest before the arrival of your little one but this can be difficult for those who have a poor sleep cycle or suffer from insomnia. Magnesium is said to improve sleep quality and extend sleep duration. This would help you have a good night’s rest.
Gestational diabetes can be characterized by insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. This can potentially impact pregnancies negatively. As magnesium plays a vital role in insulin signaling pathways, its consumption or supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity.
High blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine during pregnancy is referred as preeclampsia. Consumption and adequate levels of magnesium in the body decrease preeclampsia as it lowers blood pressure. This is especially beneficial for women who are deficient in magnesium and are advised to take oral supplements.
Alongside leg cramps and insomnia, magnesium also helps in other pregnancy discomforts such as headaches and constipation if taken in a daily diet. clinical trials show that a daily magnesium supplement of 248 mg can help cope with depression and anxiety among pregnant women. the study was conducted on both, pregnant and non-pregnant women which showed that is beneficial for both, during pregnancy and postpartum. As the supplements are proved to be safe, it is safe to say that you can take it during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding.
Magnesium supports bone growth and during pregnancy, magnesium supports the baby’s bone growth as well as teeth growth. Hence, magnesium is essential for both the mother and the baby.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency:
There are several sign and symptoms that may indicate that you’re suffering from magnesium deficiency of which a few are as following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Depression or anxiety
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
When is Magnesium not Beneficial during Pregnancy:
Although magnesium supplements provide many benefits, it may not be very beneficial for women who consume antacids regularly during pregnancy in order to ease heartburns or GI discomforts. Additionally, magnesium is a major ingredient in antacids and too much consumption can lead to abdominal cramps, diarrhea or even toxicity. It is recommended that these supplements be taken in safe doses so they’re effective in a positive way.
Some medicines can interact poorly with magnesium, which may be as follows:
- Loop diuretics
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Oral bisphosphonates
If you take any sort of medications and you’re pregnant, you should inform your doctor and consult them before taking supplements for possible medication interactions.
Magnesium Rich Foods:
It is better to take magnesium rich foods rather than consuming supplements as natural sources are always considered the best. These sources are rich in other nutrients as well that is essential for you and your baby. Some magnesium rich foods are as follows:
- Pumpkin seeds – 1 ounce = 156mg
- Chia seeds – 1 ounce = 111mg
- Edamame – 1 ounce = 50mg
- Roasted almonds – 1 ounce = 80mg
- Salmon – 3 ounces = 26mg
- Baked potato – 13.5 ounces = 43mg
- Boiled spinach – ½ cup = 78mg
- Cooked black beans – ½ cup = 60mg
- Cooked brown rice – ½ cup = 42mg
- Avocado – ½ cup = 22mg
- Peanut butter – 2 tablespoons = 49mg
- Wheat cereal biscuits – 2 large = 61mg
- Banana – medium sized = 32mg
The suggested dosage of magnesium intake for different age groups including for pregnant women are as follows:
- 1-3 years = 65 mg
- 4-8 years = 110 mg
- 9-18 years = 350 mg
- 18 above and pregnant as well as lactating women = 350 mg
Diet and Prenatal Vitamins
if you have a healthy diet or if you have a diet suggested by a prenatal dietician, you don’t have to take any supplements as they won’t be helpful at all, you should take magnesium supplements only when you’re deficient. Pre-natal vitamins also consist of magnesium so along with other vitamins, magnesium is also included.
Keep in mind that zinc has the ability to interfere in magnesium absorption and hence should not be taken in combination but separately. If any confusion, you should talk to your doctor and ask if you can take any additional vitamins and how should you take it.
Magnesium is essential for the normal body functioning such as blood pressure homeostasis and protein synthesis. Taking magnesium supplements is beneficial as it can avoid many pregnancy complications however, too much doses can lead to toxicity.
Magnesium is also helpful in providing quality sleep, extend sleep time, support bone growth and ease muscle cramps. If taking supplements, they should be taken in healthy limits or it is better to take healthier paths by consuming magnesium rich foods as they are rich in other nutrients. If taken in proper amounts, you may not need to take extra supplements.