Washington: Calcium intake has no effect on preventing premature birth or low infant birth weight, a review of its potential benefits suggests.

Experts agree that during pregnancy, a mother's diet and nutritional status contribute significantly to the health and well-being of her offspring. Yet, the effects of supplementation with calcium have remained unclear.

A review led by researcher Pranom Buppasiri, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Thailand's Khon Kaen University, shows that calcium supplementation has no effect on preventing preterm birth or low infant birth weight and no effect on bone density in pregnant women.

Pranom notes, however, that previous reviews have shown that calcium supplementation does help in the prevention of preeclampsia, the journal The Cochrane Library reports.

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition marked by hypertension and protein in the urine that can develop into serious complications for the mother and baby.

The definitive treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby, often resulting in preterm and/or low birth weight babies. More than 16,000 women participated in the 21 studies included in the review.

(Agencies)