Magnesium Citrate During Pregnancy

6 min read

Written by Devi Tadimalla

Devi Tadimalla

Magnesium Citrate During PregnancyOne of the most typical symptoms that any pregnant woman can experience at any given stage of pregnancy is constipation. It may lead to a decrease in quality of life and sometimes lead to severe health problems like hemorrhoids. Out of many drugs used for the treatment of constipation, magnesium citrate during pregnancy is a commonly prescribed medicine that is also available as an OTC medication. 

Magnesium citrate is a combination of the elemental form of magnesium and citrate salt. Magnesium citrate is also taken as a dietary supplement to increase magnesium levels in the body. Even though it is commonly prescribed in the adult population, taking magnesium citrate during pregnancy comes with different indications, along with constipation. Its side effects, duration, and time of pregnancy play an important role in its risks and efficacy. In this article, we will learn about magnesium citrate, its benefits during pregnancy, and its treatment efficacy.

In This Article

What is Magnesium Citrate?

Magnesium citrate is an agent that relieves constipation. It is an osmotic laxative. It moistens the stool by absorbing water from the intestine through osmosis. This causes pressure buildup within the intestines to expand, increasing bowel movement and stool evacuation. (1) Magnesium citrate is also taken as a supplement by a few women who have hypomagnesemia ( low levels of magnesium in the body) and blood pressure issues.

How Safe Is Magnesium Citrate During Pregnancy?

How Safe Is Magnesium Citrate During Pregnancy_Magnesium citrate is available as an OTC medication ( a prescription).  It is placed under category C in pregnancy drugs by the US FDA, stating that no data on human studies on pregnant women is available. It’s always better to take Magnesium Citrate only on the doctor’s suggestion for treating constipation, even though it is available as an OTC medication, as there may be a few chances of side effects.

Magnesium citrate is prescribed to pregnant women when the benefit of the medicine is greater than the risk of constipation and its effects (2). However, most of the studies infer that low doses and short durations of medicine pose no harm to the mother and fetus (1a). Pregnant women can have 350–360 mg doses per day. Above 500 mg per day is not considered safe. It is available in liquid, tablet, powder, and capsule form. Take it with a big glass of water and hydrate well to compensate for the excessive absorption of water by the drug. (3)

Does Taking Magnesium Citrate Have Any Benefits During Pregnancy?

Magnesium citrate is one of the salt forms of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the major electrolytes, along with sodium, potassium, and calcium. It has several major regulatory functions in the body (4). Normal levels of magnesium are always needed for good digestion, heart health, bone formation, muscle, and nervous system function (4). Magnesium citrate can be beneficial in the treatment of constipation in pregnancy at the suggestion of doctors (1). Supplementation of magnesium citrate with a dose of 300 mg daily orally affects controlling hypertension in the later stages of gestation. A few studies support this claim.

Deficiency of magnesium in the early stages of pregnancy may lead to diastolic hypertension in the later stages of pregnancy(5). Magnesium citrate is given to such patients to control hypertension in the last stage of gestation. A few studies also suggested that taking Magnesium Citrate 365 mg orally during the first 18 weeks of gestation has significantly decreased the threat of preterm labor, and neonates have higher birth weights in a few pregnant women(5). Before using magnesium citrate as a supplement or as a treatment, it is always advised to take it on the recommendation of the doctor, given the side effects and magnesium toxicity if taken in high doses.

Side Effects Of Taking Magnesium Citrate During Pregnancy

Side Effects Of Taking Magnesium Citrate During PregnancyMagnesium citrate has both adverse and common side effects. Few common side effects are well tolerated and generally subside after stopping the medication. But if you observe any allergic reactions such as Hives, swelling of the face, lips, eyes, and other body parts, or difficulty in breathing immediately stop taking the medication and consult the doctor. The following  are the most common side effects of Magnesium citrate(6)

  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Another common side effect is dependence on the medication often for passing the stool. A general feeling is cultivated to take the medicine to pass the stool regularly. The most noted adverse side effects include (6)

  • Absence of bowel movement within 6 hours after taking the medicine;
  • Pain or discomfort while passing the stool, bleeding from the rectal area
  • Continuous watery diarrhea
  • Difficulty or pain while passing urine
  • Hot flushes on the body
  • Dizziness and feeling of passing out
  • Shallow breathing or shortness of breath
  • Thirst or Increase weakness in the muscles

Stop taking the medicine if you observe any of the above side effects and consult the doctor. If Magnesium citrate is used as a supplementation in pregnancy, prolonged use may at times lead to Hypermagnesemia. Moderate to severe  Hypermagnesemia may have effects on cardiac and nervous systems. Mild Hypermagnesemia is well tolerated.

Drug Interactions With Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium Citrate can interact with many drugs. There are few major interactions with certain drugs. Please inform your consulting physician if you’re on the following drugs.(3a)

  • Digoxin (cardiac-related drug)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Sodium Polystyrene sulfonate(used for treating high potassium levels)
  • Few antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline, Achromycin, or the same class of drugs.
  • Other drug interactions are noted.

Physicians also should go through past and present medication to avoid any possible drug interactions. Pregnant women having kidney problems, intestinal obstruction diseases, and Inflammatory bowel disease should restrict the use of Magnesium citrate completely.

Constipation and Pregnancy 

Constipation and Pregnancy Constipation is one of the most common experiences a woman will have during any time in her Pregnancy. The changes in physiology, anatomical changes, and hormonal changes are to be blamed for. Even though medications are quite efficient in the treatment of constipation the first line choice of treatment is always lifestyle recommendations. Adding required fiber to the diet through lots of leafy vegetables and drinking required amounts of water are the first line of treatment of choice. If despite doing these modifications on a day-to-day basis fails, then comes the use of laxatives to treat constipation as a second-line choice of treatment. Laxatives are of many kinds such as bulk-forming agents like psyllium, stool softeners like docusate sodium(Dulcolax), osmotic laxatives like Magnesium citrate, lubricants such as mineral oils, stimulants such as bisacodyl and senna. All the constipation-relieving medication comes with common and adverse side effects.(1a)

Magnesium citrate has maximum absorption in the body and is considered safe in pregnant women and the fetus. Pregnant women can use this medication only with the doctor’s recommendation even though available as OTC. When used in recommended doses can treat constipation effectively. Mild side effects are well tolerated. In case of adverse side effects, it is always advised to consult doctors. Pregnant women having Kidney problems, heart issues, inflammatory bowel diseases, and known hypertension should refrain from using Magnesium citrate during pregnancy. It has major drug interactions with certain cardiac medicines, antibiotics, and absorption of vitamins and minerals that need to be considered while using the medication. Prolonged use may cause drug dependence for passing the stool and in a few cases may lead to magnesium toxicity after unwanted prolonged use as a supplement.


1 . What Type Of Magnesium Is Safe For Pregnancy?

Though many forms of magnesium are available, Magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate has more absorption in the body making it a better choice in pregnancy.

2. Does Magnesium Citrate Stop Labor?

Some studies say when given magnesium in sulfate form can delay premature labor and contractions.


  1. Treating constipation during pregnancy –
  2. Magnesium citrate Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings –
  3. Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium –
  4. Magnesium: The Forgotten Electrolyte—A Review on Hypomagnesemia –
  5. Magnesium salts in pregnancy –
  6. Magnesium citrate Side Effects –
Devi Tadimalla,Masters in Pharmacy (specialised in Pharmacy Practice), Bachelors in Pharmacy

Proficient in Medical writing, manuscript writing on clinical research, health information , Food and nutrition.Read more.

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