Magnesium Deficiency in Pregnancy | Symptoms and Treatment

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy can lead to serious health risks for both the mother and the baby, including restricted fetal growth, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and pre-eclampsia.

Magnesium is one of the important macroelements involved in the regulation of several vital functions in the human body. It is known that its level declines during pregnancy.

Magnesium deficiency is usually associated with certain medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and neurological and cardiovascular events.

Pregnancy brings with it increased magnesium demands due to the combination of fetal needs, altered tissue distribution, and increased renal output of magnesium.

This article will discuss magnesium's important role during pregnancy and the normal daily needs for it. It will also show the causes and symptoms of magnesium deficiency in pregnancy and the risks resulting from this deficiency.

It will also suggest some procedures to treat magnesium deficiency in pregnancy and natural supplements for magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy

The role of magnesium in pregnancy

From the creation and release of cellular energy to the synthesis of neurotransmitters crucial to our central nervous system, magnesium is engaged in a vast array of activities due to its role as a co-factor for over 300 enzymes.

Further, magnesium helps regulate essential functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, coagulation, and muscle contractions, due to its balancing effect on calcium.

Magnesium is important for the pregnant body's vital functions and for the development and health of the fetus. Magnesium helps babies build strong teeth and bones.

Pregnant women rely on magnesium to help keep their uteruses calm because it regulates muscular contractions. In addition, asthenia, sleeplessness, and irritability are common pregnancy symptoms that may be helped by making sure the body gets enough magnesium.

Last but not least, magnesium protects cardiovascular health in pregnant women and aids in fetal development by regulating blood pressure levels via interventions in glucose metabolism.

In addition, research strongly suggests that getting an adequate quantity of magnesium during pregnancy can help prevent preterm labor and other pregnancy complications.

The use of magnesium supplements during pregnancy has the potential to increase the baby's weight at delivery and alleviate pre-eclampsia-related fetal growth restriction.

Pregnant women of different ages need different amounts of magnesium daily. A pregnant woman aged 18 and under needs 400 mg; women aged 19 to 30 need 350 mg; and women aged 31 to 50 need 320 mg.

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy

Symptoms and possible risks of magnesium deficiency in pregnancy

Depending on their eating choices, amount of morning sickness, and pre-pregnancy health, some women may be experiencing a magnesium deficiency during pregnancy.

The early signs of magnesium deficiency in pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, muscle twitching, poor memory, an irregular heartbeat, and weakness.

Imbalances of other electrolytes, such as potassium or calcium, sometimes accompany severe magnesium deficiency in pregnancy. Tetany (sometimes caused by low blood calcium), heart arrhythmia, bone instability, and renal stone development are all symptoms of a severe magnesium deficiency.

It seems that the symptoms of magnesium deficiency in pregnancy are very comparable to typical pregnancy complaints. Changes in hormone levels are the most common cause of pregnancy symptoms. But it's easy to neglect essential nourishment while you're pregnant due to all the demands on your time and energy.

Inadequate magnesium consumption during pregnancy may have long-term effects on both the offspring and the mother. Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy may lead to inadequate fetal growth, resulting in a smaller-than-expected baby. These implications can cause developmental delays and susceptibility to infections. 

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy could also impact the child’s neurodevelopment, neurological functions, cognitive abilities, and behavior.

In addition, inadequate magnesium supplementation during pregnancy could affect the child’s bone health and increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy is also associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia, which can have long-term impacts on a mother's cardiovascular health.

Besides, magnesium deficiency increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in the mother later in life and may also affect the mother’s bone health.

Reasons for magnesium deficiency in pregnancy

Several reasons can lead to magnesium deficiency in pregnancy. These can be as follows:

- Magnesium is essential for fetal growth and development and maternal tissues, and it is also in increased demand during pregnancy.

- Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy can also occur due to altered tissue distribution. Some magnesium shifts from the bloodstream to the placenta and fetal tissues, leading to lower serum magnesium levels.

- During pregnancy, the renal output of magnesium increases, so it is lost in urine.

- Inadequate dietary intake of magnesium can contribute to deficiency.

- Certain pregnancy-related conditions may result in magnesium deficiency during pregnancy:

  • Gestational diabetes.

  • Preterm labor.

  • Preeclampsia.

  • Intrauterine growth restriction.

- Sometimes, magnesium measurements need to be more accurate. This is due to the different distribution levels of magnesium in different tissues. Most magnesium exists intracellularly, making serum levels unreliable.

Therefore, it is important to advise pregnant women to boost their magnesium intake, either via food or supplements, to prevent the causes of magnesium deficiency in pregnancy. It is also crucial to check magnesium levels regularly when pregnant.

Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy

What is the best treatment for magnesium during pregnancy?

Medical prescription

Supplemental magnesium intake is recommended for pregnant women to prevent the causes mentioned above of magnesium deficiency. Pregnant women may receive magnesium supplements orally or via transdermal application.

Magnesium supplementation during pregnancy can be beneficial, especially if dietary intake is insufficient. 

It is imperative to seek the advice of a healthcare professional before incorporating any supplement into one's daily regimen. They possess the ability to provide guidance regarding the most suitable dosage and ensure that it is tailored to your specific requirements.

Dietary source

Magnesium is an important mineral for many different processes in the body. To keep yourself in tip-top shape, you must eat meals that are high in magnesium. Magnesium may be found in the following foods:

Nuts and seeds

Many nuts and seeds contain a suitable amount of magnesium and offer good supplements for magnesium deficiency in pregnancy. Here are some of the most common nuts and seeds and their net magnesium contents:

- Roasted almonds ⇒ 80 mg of magnesium/28.35 g.

- Roasted cashews ⇒ 72 mg of magnesium/28.35 g.

- Whole flaxseed ⇒ 40 mg of magnesium per tablespoon.

- Dry roasted peanuts: ⇒ 49 mg of magnesium/28.35 g.

- Hulled and roasted pumpkin seeds ⇒ 150 mg of magnesium/28.35 g.

- Chia seeds ⇒ 111 mg of magnesium/28.35 g.


Adding cooked legumes to dietary routines can help treat magnesium deficiency in pregnancy.

- Boiled black beans⇒ each ½ cup contains 60 mg of magnesium.

- Cooked and prepared edamame⇒ each ½ cup contains 50 mg of magnesium.

- Cooked lima beans⇒ each ½ cup contains 40 mg of magnesium.

Fiber-rich whole grain

Fiber-rich whole grains can provide a good choice for magnesium deficiency in pregnancy treatment.

- Cooked quinoa⇒ each ½ cup provides 60 mg of magnesium.

- Plain and unfrosted shredded wheat⇒ Each cup provides 56 mg of magnesium.

Low-fat dairy products

One cup of nonfat milk provides 24 to 27 mg of magnesium.

So, a varied diet with a mix of these magnesium-rich foods can help maintain daily magnesium needs and treat magnesium deficiency in pregnancy. Incorporating these foods can support the daily magnesium intake.


Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy can result in significant health complications for the mother and the infant. Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, restricted fetal growth, and intrauterine growth restriction are among the potential complications.

Magnesium regulates vital bodily processes, including blood pressure, heart rate, muscle contractions, and coagulation. Magnesium is necessary for pregnant women to maintain a tranquil uterus and enhance fetal development.

During pregnancy, it is vital to ensure adequate magnesium intake.

Read more about:

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms During Pregnancy

Folic Acid Deficiency in Pregnancy

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