10 ways magnesium does wonders for you and your yet-to-be-born baby
Giving birth should be a time for celebration for most women, but for many it is a time of great anxiety— Will the baby be alright? Am I eating fine? How painful will be the labor? Will an epidural taken during labor impact the baby? So on and so forth.
Not only is pregnancy a state of great stress, for some women it can also a time of great discomfort—morning sickness, nausea, leg cramps and mood swings are common. One good way of keeping these symptoms in check is to maintain good nutrition and have adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals like magnesium throughout your pregnancy.
Your doctor will probably put you on a prenatal multivitamin and might recommend other supplements as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. A mineral that is of great importance in pregnancy is magnesium.
Magnesium during Pregnancy
Magnesium is involved in many essential bodily functions. Magnesium helps build strong bones and teeth, regulates insulin and blood-sugar levels, and helps certain enzymes function properly. It also controls cholesterol and irregular heart beats.
The healthy growth and development of the fetus depends on a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. During pregnancy your body has increased need for magnesium. The RDA is between 350 and 360 mg of magnesium daily for pregnant women, as compared to the 310 to 320 mg recommended for non-pregnant or nursing women.
Physical and emotional stress during pregnancy also increases magnesium requirements, which means that pregnant women who do not intake sufficient amount of magnesium are at a risk of becoming magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can lead to many serious consequences for you and your baby. A severe deficiency of magnesium during pregnancy could lead to preeclampsia, birth defects, infant mortality and pre-mature labor.
Miracles of Magnesium in Pregnancy
Getting enough magnesium during your pregnancy will make you feel healthier and help you cope better with discomforts related to increased hormonal activity. Here are some ways in which magnesium is good for you and your baby during your pregnancy:
- Helps build and repair body tissue: Magnesium is important for the health of your child as it builds strong bones and teeth and regulates insulin and blood-sugar levels. Certain enzymes also function better in the presence of magnesium.
- Maintains good cardiovascular health: Magnesium is recognized for its ability to control cholesterol and irregular heartbeats.
- Works well with calcium: A good balance (1:2) of magnesium and calcium is important because these two minerals work extremely well together. Magnesium relaxes muscles, while calcium stimulates muscles to contract. Research suggests that proper levels of magnesium during pregnancy can help keep the uterus from contracting until week 35.
- Decreases risk of osteoporosis: Taking adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium during pregnancy can actually decrease your risk of osteoporosis later in life.
- Natural tranquilizer: Magnesium is invaluable if you are suffering from stress. It also helps in case of insomnia. Take it as a separate supplement (apart from what is contained in your multivitamin) for best effect. If you need help with sleeping, take it about an hour before going to bed.
- Reduces cramping: Magnesium can help reduce the cramping that is so common in pregnancy, decrease the intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions and also help with constipation.
- Prepares your body for delivery: Magnesium optimizes blood pressure levels during pregnancy and increases your pain tolerance threshold, making for a more comfortable delivery.
Research on Positive role of Magnesium in Pregnancy
- Fewer Leg Cramps: A Swedish study that concluded in 1996 found that oral magnesium supplementation is a valuable therapeutic tool in the treatment of pregnancy-related leg cramps. Conducted on 73 women with pregnancy-related leg cramps, the study found that serum magnesium levels in patients who suffered severe leg cramps were at or below the lower reference limit,  as is also often the case with healthy pregnant patients. The control group who were put on oral supplementation showed decreased leg cramp distress.
- Reduced Risk of Cerebral Palsy: According to 2009 new Cochrane review by leading researchers from Australia, giving pregnant mothers magnesium sulphate when they are at risk of preterm birth can help protect their babies from cerebral palsy 
- Protection from Perinatal Hypoxia: In an August 2007 study published in British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, researchers examined the effect of magnesium supplementation and the development of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) or Perinatal hypoxia in babies. HIE is the reduction of oxygen supply to tissues and the brain due to inadequate blood flow and has symptoms like decelerated fetal heart rate, low Apgar Scores, meconium aspiration pneumonia and stillbirths. Incidence of Perinatal hypoxia during birth was lessened in the women who took the magnesium supplements when pregnant. 
Adding Magnesium to your Pre-natal Diet
If you are pregnant, or are planning to have a child soon, make sure there is plenty of magnesium in your diet. Add plenty of magnesium rich foods to your diet. If for any reason you're worried that you may not be getting enough magnesium in your diet, then make sure that you take a magnesium supplement. Specific prenatal vitamins will include magnesium, but probably in very low doses, so it may make more sense to take a stand-alone supplement like MAG365, that is formulated to also work for nursing and pregnant mothers. MAG365 comes as a powder that creates a highly absorbable liquid.
Another effective alternative is Magnesium Rub or Magnesium Gel. Magnesium Rub is a sea water concentrate, with the sodium removed, and when applied directly to your skin, it absorbs much the same way magnesium sulphate or Epsom salt does (transdermal). Apply a little of the Magnesium Rub on your hand and rub directly to the skin for maximum benefit. This is especially beneficial when you rub it directly into an area that suffers from cramping, such as your calves.
The information in this article is meant for information purposes only and is not prescriptive. We recommended that you consult with your doctor before you introduce magnesium in your diet, especially if you have a severe kidney or heart disease or are taking hypoglycemic drugs. If you do take a magnesium supplement then be aware that it can inhibit the absorption of iron, so shouldn't be taken within two hours of an iron supplement.
- The effect of oral magnesium substitution on pregnancy-induced leg cramps.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7631676
- Dahle LO, Berg G, Hammar M, Hurtig M, Larsson L., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University Hospital, Sweden.
- Doyle et al. Magnesium sulphate for women at risk of preterm birth for neuroprotection of the fetus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Reviews, 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004661 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004661.pub3