When clients ask me what they can do to prepare for their birth, one of the recommendations on the top of my list is to suggest that they make sure they are getting adequate magnesium. Reality is that most people are deficient in magnesium today for many reasons from diet and lifestyle choices to the quality of the food that is available to us. Fortunately, it's really easy to get more magnesium into our cells and it's a mineral that we can safely supplement since excess magnesium is easily eliminated through the urine and digestive tract. Too much magnesium acts as a laxative. Read labels and consult your doctor or midwife about magnesium supplementation.
Why does magnesium matter?
1. Decreased pain
Magnesium deficiency is linked to excess muscle cramping. Getting enough magnesium regulates muscle contractions and helps muscles relax. Experiencing leg cramps in pregnancy? Getting sufficient magnesium can help. My fertility clients report a decrease or elimination of menstrual cramps after increasing their magnesium intake and It also seems to decrease the pain of labour. Clients who supplement tend not to feel the beginning or end of their contractions compared to what is picked up on contraction monitors, meaning contractions feel shorter and milder and breaks feel longer.
2. Feel more calm
Many people don't know that magnesium deficiency can show up as anxiety and irritability. Not having enough can make it difficult to cope with things like irritating sounds, stress or even people. Magnesium helps us to feel more calm and relaxed. Getting enough magnesium means we are more able to cope.
3. Feel lighter and more optimistic
Pregnancy is a time of huge transition. Hormone levels are fluctuating and life is changing quickly. Increased stress contributes to magnesium loss. Evidence has shown that magnesium has beneficial effects for people experiencing depression. Getting adequate magnesium during pregnancy and postpartum can help the nervous and endocrine systems reducing the risk of pregnancy and postpartum depression.
4. More energy
Not getting enough magnesium can leave you feeling fatigued. Magnesium before bed contributes to a more restful sleep, it helps remedy insomnia and boosts energy levels. Restless leg syndrome is common in pregnancy and often a sign of magnesium deficiency. The uncomfortable leg sensations are a frequent cause of disrupted or lost sleep.
5. Muscle strength
Your uterus is an amazing muscle with a very important job in pregnancy and childbirth. Muscles need magnesium to work properly. Magnesium helps muscles contract and relax smoothly.
6. Blood sugar regulation
Magnesium helps promote healthy insulin production and studies have shown that magnesium supplementation improves glucose metabolism in pregnancy.
7. Reduced swelling and edema
Magnesium deficiency can cause water retention during pregnancy, especially in the legs and feet.
8. Decreased breast tenderness