Calcium Doesn't Prevent Gestational Hypertension


ORLANDO, FLA. — Data have been conflicting on the role of calcium in gestational hypertension, but findings from a recent longitudinal study suggest it does not help prevent the condition, Yi Ning, M.D., of Harvard University, Boston, and colleagues reported in a poster at an international conference on women, heart disease, and stroke.

In the study, mean total calcium intake in 1,686 women was 1,310 mg/day in the first trimester, with most of that (85%) coming from foods. Gestational hypertension occurred in 118 of the women, and preeclampsia occurred in 61.

Adjustments were made for numerous variables, including maternal age, prepregnancy body mass index, race and ethnicity, income, parity, and smoking, as well as first measured systolic blood pressure and history of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. No significant associations were found between the development of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia and the first-trimester intake of calcium.

The investigators also looked at intake of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids, and found no associations with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. The same was true for second-trimester intake of the nutrients.

Participants completed food frequency questionnaires in both their first and second trimesters, and gestational hypertension and preeclampsia were identified using outpatient blood pressure and urine protein measurements, as well as delivery hospitalization diagnoses.

The findings support those of several other studies showing that calcium does not prevent gestational hypertension, according to Dr. Ning.

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