On-Site PhD conferral Johanna P.M.M. Willemse
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. L.J.M. Smits
Co-supervisor: Dr. H.C.J. Scheepers
Key words: calcium, pregnancy, nutrition, supplements
"Improving calcium intake during Pregnancy"
Adequate calcium intake (at least 1000 mg/day) can prevent high blood pressure and preeclampsia for pregnant women and prevent low birth weight, poor growth and weak bones for babies. The Expect Study I (2013-2015) showed that calcium intake was too low for almost two-thirds of pregnant women in a Western country where calcium-rich products are readily available and affordable. This study calculated that recommending calcium supplements could result in important health effects and a significant reduction in healthcare costs. This advice was then given by gynaecologists and midwives in Limburg to all pregnant women in the Expect Study II (2017-2018). It was shown that this led to a decrease in the risk of low calcium intake during pregnancy. This was especially true for women at high risk of pre-eclampsia, who may benefit most from improving their calcium intake. By including calcium advice for pregnant women in professional guidelines, awareness among obstetric care providers can be achieved. The Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) recently agreed to include the calcium recommendation during pregnancy in their guidelines.