Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Factors affecting the implementation of calcium supplementation strategies during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia: a mixed-methods systematic review

Cormick, Gabriela; Moraa, Hellen; Zahroh, Rana Islamiah; Allotey, John; Rocha, Thaís; Peña-Rosas, Juan Pablo; Qureshi, Zahida P; Hofmeyr, G Justus; Mistry, Hema; Smits, Luc; Vogel, Joshua Peter; Palacios, Alfredo; Gwako, George N; Abalos, Edgardo; Larbi, Koiwah Koi; Carroli, Guillermo; Riley, Richard; Snell, Kym IE; Thorson, Anna; Young, Taryn; Betran, Ana Pilar; Thangaratinam, Shakila; Bohren, Meghan A


Gabriela Cormick

Hellen Moraa

Rana Islamiah Zahroh

John Allotey

Thaís Rocha

Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas

Zahida P Qureshi

G Justus Hofmeyr

Hema Mistry

Luc Smits

Joshua Peter Vogel

Alfredo Palacios

George N Gwako

Edgardo Abalos

Koiwah Koi Larbi

Guillermo Carroli

Richard Riley

Kym IE Snell

Anna Thorson

Taryn Young

Ana Pilar Betran

Shakila Thangaratinam

Meghan A Bohren


Objectives: Daily calcium supplements are recommended for pregnant women from 20 weeks’ gestation to prevent pre-eclampsia in populations with low dietary calcium intake. We aimed to improve understanding of barriers and facilitators for calcium supplement intake during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia.

Design: Mixed-method systematic review, with confidence assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations-Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research approach.

Data sources: MEDLINE and EMBASE (via Ovid), CINAHL and Global Health (via EBSCO) and grey literature databases were searched up to 17 September 2022.

Eligibility criteria: We included primary qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies reporting implementation or use of calcium supplements during pregnancy, excluding calcium fortification and non-primary studies. No restrictions were imposed on settings, language or publication date.

Data extraction and synthesis: Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We analysed the qualitative data using thematic synthesis, and quantitative findings were thematically mapped to qualitative findings. We then mapped the results to behavioural change frameworks to identify barriers and facilitators.

Results: Eighteen reports from nine studies were included in this review. Women reported barriers to consuming calcium supplements included limited knowledge about calcium supplements and pre-eclampsia, fears and experiences of side effects, varying preferences for tablets, dosing, working schedules, being away from home and taking other supplements. Receiving information regarding pre-eclampsia and safety of calcium supplement use from reliable sources, alternative dosing options, supplement reminders, early antenatal care, free supplements and support from families and communities were reported as facilitators. Healthcare providers felt that consistent messaging about benefits and risks of calcium, training, and ensuring adequate staffing and calcium supply is available would be able to help them in promoting calcium.

Conclusion: Relevant stakeholders should consider the identified barriers and facilitators when formulating interventions and policies on calcium supplement use. These review findings can inform implementation to ensure effective and equitable provision and scale-up of calcium interventions.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42021239143.


Cormick, G., Moraa, H., Zahroh, R. I., Allotey, J., Rocha, T., Peña-Rosas, J. P., …Bohren, M. A. (2023). Factors affecting the implementation of calcium supplementation strategies during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia: a mixed-methods systematic review. BMJ Open, 13(12), Article e070677.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 29, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2023
Publication Date Dec 1, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2024
Journal BMJ Open
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 12
Article Number e070677
Keywords OBSTETRICS, Hypertension, PUBLIC HEALTH