Is Magnesium Citrate Safe During Pregnancy?

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Are you suffering from constipation during your pregnancy? Do you want to know what laxatives can you safely use while you are expecting? If you said yes, then reading this article may help you know more about the use of magnesium citrate during pregnancy.

What Is Magnesium Citrate?

Magnesium citrate is the salt of magnesium. It is a saline laxative, which increases water content in the small intestine to produce a bowel movement. It is also called an osmotic laxative as it retains water in the stools for easy bowel movements. Magnesium citrate also increases stool’s bulk with the increased water content [1].

Upon intake, magnesium citrate can either be effective within 30 minutes or may take up to three to six hours to show results. Magnesium citrate is also administered to patients before colonoscopy or other surgeries. It is available as Citrate of Magnesia and Citroma.

[ Read: Magnesium Rich Foods during pregnancy ]

Is Magnesium Citrate Safe During Pregnancy?

There are no known risks to pregnant mothers and fetal health due to the use of magnesium citrate. But if you are pregnant, consult your doctor before you use magnesium citrate as its use can produce certain side effects. If your doctor approves its use, you may take magnesium citrate as recommended [2].

Magnesium citrate is FDA-approved. But it falls under category C, which means there are no sufficient human studies available on it yet. Category C also means that in animal studies, magnesium citrate produced adverse effects on fetal health [3]. However, its use may be beneficial during pregnancy and cause minimal or no risks [4].

[ Read: Dehydration During Pregnancy ]

Side Effects Of Magnesium Citrate During Pregnancy

The use of magnesium citrate while pregnant can produce certain side effects.

  • Nausea
  • Mild abdominal cramps
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Electrolyte imbalance [5]

Serious side effects from magnesium citrate use are unlikely but possible. At times, long-term use of the drug can also cause severe side effects.

Severe Side Effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Mood changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stools
  • Severe abdominal pain

You may also experience dehydration due to severe diarrhea. Dehydration may cause dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination and weakness. Dehydration can pose health risks to the fetus. Therefore, even though magnesium citrate is considered safe to use during pregnancy, it may produce side effects that can harm fetal health and cause pregnancy complications.

Also, use magnesium citrate with caution if your doctor has put you on a diet with low sodium content [6].

Magnesium Citrate And Drug Interactions During Pregnancy

Magnesium citrate may interact with some drugs. Therefore, its use must always be under caution. As magnesium citrate is an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, everyone may not be aware of its interactions with drugs. If you are pregnant, refrain from using it without knowing all precautions recommended with its use.

Magnesium citrate may interact with the following drugs:

  • Digoxin (used for heart conditions)
  • Eltrombopag (used for increasing platelet counts)
  • Sodium polystyrene sulfonate (used to lower excess potassium content in the body)
  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline and levofloxacin.
  • Other drug interactions are also possible.

Saline Laxatives During Pregnancy

  • If you are pregnant, use saline laxatives only if your doctor recommends its use as a last resort for your constipation treatment. In any case, use it only once or twice. Saline laxatives like magnesium citrate and others are available as OTC drugs, and there are no known side effects with its use during pregnancy. Therefore, you may assume its use would be all right to use without asking your doctor. But such a thing is not advisable for pregnant and lactating women. If you suffer from kidney problems or bowel disease, saline laxatives may do you more harm than good [7].
  • If you are pregnant and suffer from kidney problems, it is best for you to avoid all kinds of saline laxatives including magnesium citrate [8].
  • During pregnancy, use saline laxatives only after you know the full range of the drug’s benefits and side effects as per your health condition [9].

Constipation And Pregnancy

Constipation is a major problem during pregnancy. Most women experience constipation at some point during their pregnancy. The reasons are increased hormonal changes, and the increased pressure of your growing uterus on your intestines, changes in diet, certain medicines like iron supplements, etc.

[ Read: Constipation During Pregnancy ]

Using Laxatives During Pregnancy

It is tempting to use laxatives to get some relief from persistent constipation problem during pregnancy. But know that some OTC laxatives are better to use during pregnancy than others. For instance, stimulant laxatives like cod liver oil or castor oil are not considered safe to use during pregnancy. Also, laxatives may always not be effective and may produce side effects.

Before you use laxatives during pregnancy, try to use natural ways to find relief from constipation. If you suffer from constipation and planning your pregnancy, you can ask your doctor about solutions beforehand. This way you can be better prepared to tackle constipation during pregnancy.

[ Read: Sodium Citrate During Pregnancy ]

Some helpful measures

  • Include more fiber in your diet. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Keep your water and fluid intake optimum. Lack of water often causes constipation.
  • Continue some physical activity during pregnancy after a consultation with your doctor. Physical movement is beneficial for bowel health. Even moderate walking may be beneficial for your bowel health during pregnancy.
  • Discontinue or reduce the dose of your iron supplements and use food sources for your body’s iron needs.
  • If you suffer from persistent constipation, ask your doctor for laxative recommendations that you can use during pregnancy for long-term. Certain bulk-forming laxatives are considered safe to use.

During pregnancy, persistent constipation may become a nuisance. But practice cautions with your use of any laxative during pregnancy. Even taking magnesium citrate during pregnancy is considered safe, you may not know how it may interact with your medicines or affect your health.

Did you suffer from constipation during your pregnancy? Did you use magnesium citrate or any other laxatives during pregnancy? Please share with our readers your experience with laxative use during pregnancy.

[ Read: Constipation During Pregnancy ]

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