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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1979 Apr 1;133(7):781-90.

Calcium metabolism in normal pregnancy: a longitudinal study.


Total and ionic calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, albumin, and immunoreactive parathyroid hormone (iPTH) and calcitonin (iCT) were measured in serum or plasma from 30 women throughout pregnancy (beginning before 12 weeks' gestation) and the puerperium. Total calcium levels declined during gestation, paralleling a progressive fall in albumin concentration, whereas ionic calcium values declined only very slightly. Although iPTH levels in early pregnancy were lower than postpartum values (suggesting that iPTH may decline initially following conception), the major portion of gestation was characterized by progressively increasing concentrations which at term averaged 53% above early pregnancy levels and 33% above puerperal values. Thus, the principal adjustment during pregnancy is "physiologic hyperparathyroidism" which acts to preserve maternal homeostasis by maintaining the concentration of calcium ions in extracellular fluid in the presence of expanding fluid volume, increased renal function, and placental transfer. iCT levels were not affected consistently by pregnancy and exhibited highly variable patterns; half of the subjects demonstrated an increase during the first and second trimesters and then a decline in the third trimester and the remaining half was equally divided between those with no change and those with progressively falling levels.

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