Calcium supplementation commencing before or early in pregnancy, for preventing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 09 16; 9:CD011192.CD
The hypertensive disorders of pregnancy include pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, chronic hypertension, and undefined hypertension. Pre-eclampsia is considerably more prevalent in low-income than in high-income countries. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is dietary differences, particularly calcium deficiency. Calcium supplementation in the second half of pregnancy reduces the serious consequences of pre-eclampsia, but has limited effect on the overall risk of pre-eclampsia. It is important to establish whether calcium supplementation before, and in early pregnancy (before 20 weeks' gestation) has added benefit. Such evidence could count towards justification of population-level interventions to improve dietary calcium intake, including fortification of staple foods with calcium, especially in contexts where dietary calcium intake is known to be inadequate. This is an update of a review first published in 2017.
To determine the effect of calcium supplementation, given before or early in pregnancy and for at least the first half of pregnancy, on pre-eclampsia and other hypertensive disorders, maternal morbidity and mortality, and fetal and neonatal outcomes.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Trials Register (31 July 2018), PubMed (13 July 2018), ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP; 31 July 2018), and reference lists of retrieved studies.
Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials (RCT) of calcium supplementation, including women not yet pregnant, or women in early pregnancy. Cluster-RCTs, quasi-RCTs, and trials published as abstracts were eligible, but we did not identify any.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data, and checked them for accuracy. They assessed the quality of the evidence for key outcomes using the GRADE approach.
Calcium versus placeboWe included one study (1355 women), which took place across multiple hospital sites in Argentina, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Most analyses were conducted only on 633 women from this group who were known to have conceived, or on 579 who reached 20 weeks' gestation; the trial was at moderate risk of bias due to high attrition rates pre-conception. Non-pregnant women with previous pre-eclampsia received either calcium 500 mg daily or placebo, from enrolment until 20 weeks' gestation. All participants received calcium 1.5 g daily from 20 weeks until birth.Primary outcomes: calcium supplementation commencing before conception may make little or no difference to the risk of pre-eclampsia (69/296 versus 82/283, risk ratio (RR) 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61 to 1.06; low-quality evidence). For pre-eclampsia or pregnancy loss or stillbirth (or both) at any gestational age, calcium may slightly reduce the risk of this composite outcome, however the 95% CI met the line of no effect (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.00; low-quality evidence). Supplementation may make little or no difference to the severe maternal morbidity and mortality index (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.26; low-quality evidence), pregnancy loss or stillbirth at any gestational age (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.61 to 1,14; low-quality evidence), or caesarean section (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.96 to 1,28; low-quality evidence).Calcium supplementation may make little or no difference to the following secondary outcomes: birthweight < 2500 g (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.30; low-quality evidence), preterm birth < 37 weeks (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.10), early preterm birth < 32 weeks (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.12), and pregnancy loss, stillbirth or neonatal death before discharge (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.10; low-quality evidence), no conception, gestational hypertension, gestational proteinuria, severe gestational hypertension, severe pre-eclampsia, severe pre-eclamptic complications index. There was no clear evidence on whether or not calcium might make a difference to perinatal death, or neonatal intensive care unit admission for > 24h, or both (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.60; low-quality evidence).It is unclear what impact calcium supplementation has on Apgar score < 7 at five minutes (RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.15 to 1.21; very low-quality evidence), stillbirth, early onset pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, placental abruption, intensive care unit admission > 24 hours, maternal death, hospital stay > 7 days from birth, and pregnancy loss before 20 weeks' gestation.