Pb is released from bone stores during pregnancy, which constitutes a period of increased bone resorption. A high Na intake has been found to be negatively associated with Ca and adversely associated with bone metabolism. It is possible that a high Na intake during pregnancy increases the blood Pb concentration; however, no previous study has reported on the relationship between Na intake and blood Pb concentration. We thus have investigated this relationship between Na intake and blood Pb concentrations, and examined whether this relationship differs with Ca intake in pregnant Korean women. Blood Pb concentrations were analysed in 1090 pregnant women at mid-pregnancy. Dietary intakes during mid-pregnancy were estimated by a 24 h recall method covering the use of dietary supplements. Blood Pb concentrations in whole-blood samples were analysed using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Multiple regression analysis performed after adjustment for covariates revealed that maternal Na intake was positively associated with blood Pb concentration during pregnancy, but only when Ca intake was below the estimated average requirement for pregnant Korean women (P= 0·001). The findings of the present study suggest that blood Pb concentration during pregnancy could be minimised by dietary recommendations that include decreased Na and increased Ca intakes.