Pre-eclampsia is considerably more prevalent in low- than high-income countries. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is dietary differences, particularly calcium deficiency. Calcium supplementation in the second half of pregnancy reduces the serious consequences of pre-eclampsia and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for women with low dietary calcium intake, but has limited effect on the overall risk of pre-eclampsia. It is important to establish whether calcium supplementation before and in early pregnancy has added benefit. Such evidence would be justification for population-level fortification of staple foods with calcium.
To determine the effect of calcium supplementation or food fortification with calcium, commenced before or early in pregnancy and continued at least until mid-pregnancy, on pre-eclampsia and other hypertensive disorders, maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as fetal and neonatal outcomes.