Abalos E, Merialdi M, Wojdyla D, Carroli G, Campodónico L, Yao S-E, Gonzalez R, Deter R, Villar J, Van Look P. Effects of calcium supplementation on fetal growth in mothers with deficient calcium intake: a randomised controlled trial. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010; 24: 53–62.
Calcium supplementation in mothers with low calcium intake has been of interest recently because of its association with optimal fetal growth and improved pre-eclampsia-related outcomes. While the effects of calcium supplementation have demonstrated benefits in prolonging gestation and subsequently improving birthweight, no specific studies have identified the longitudinal effects of supplementation on fetal growth in utero. Data were analysed in the context of the World Health Organization trial of calcium supplementation in calcium-deficient women. Five hundred and ten healthy, primiparous pregnant Argentinean women were randomised (at <20 weeks gestation) to either placebo (n = 230) or calcium supplements (1500 mg calcium/day in 3 divided doses; n = 231). Growth parameters in utero were assessed with serial ultrasound scans. Birthweight, length, head, abdominal and thigh circumferences were recorded at delivery.
No differences were found in fetal biometric measurements recorded at 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks gestation between fetuses of women who were supplemented with calcium and those who were not. Similarly, neonatal characteristics and anthropometric measurements recorded at delivery were comparable in both groups. We conclude that calcium supplementation of 1500 mg calcium/day in pregnant women with low calcium intake does not appear to impact on fetal somatic or skeletal growth.