Know Your Calcium Needs during Pregnancy

Pregnant woman drinking milk

During pregnancy, the foetus gets his required nutrients from the mother. This process continues until birth when the baby is breastfed. Among the important nutrients that the baby needs is calcium which is essential for his optimal skeletal development.

Age Daily Calcium Requirement
Females aged 14-18 years
(includes during pregnancy and lactation)
1300 mg / day
Females aged 19-50 years
(includes during pregnancy and lactation)
1000 mg / day

(Reference: www.iom.edu)

Studies have found that during pregnancy and lactation, the mother’s body adjusts to the calcium requirements of the foetus without the need to increase the mother’s intake. You will have to make sure, however, that you are getting the adequate amount of daily calcium to reduce risks of calcium deficiency.

The data on the daily calcium requirement is based on the recommendation of the US RDA. You may come across higher amounts for required intake (approximately 1,200 to 1,500 mg/day), so make sure to talk to your doctor regarding your specific requirement.

What If I Don’t Get Enough Calcium?

As mentioned, the baby in your womb is getting his nutrients from you. If you do not have enough calcium supply during pregnancy, the calcium needed for his development will be taken from the stored calcium in your bones, which can lead to excessive bone loss if not replaced. Adequate intake will help with the rebuilding of new bones and ensure that your bone density returns to normal levels after breastfeeding.

Should I Consider Taking Supplements?

As there is no crucial need to increase your calcium intake during pregnancy, maintaining a healthy diet can already help ensure that you are getting the right nutrients. From breakfast to dinner, you can get calcium from various food sources:

Food Source / Serving Size Calcium Content
Whole milk, skim milk, soy milk – 240 ml 300 mg
Cheese – 28 grams 195 mg (higher content for harder cheeses)
Ice cream or frozen yoghurt – 113 grams 100 mg
Beans – ½ cup cooked 60 to 80 mg
Dark, leafy green vegetables – ½ cup cooked 50 to 135 mg

(Source: www.uptodate.com)

calcium source

There are also calcium-fortified products available in the grocery, but you first need to make sure that these food items are healthy and safe for you and your baby.

In addition to this, you can take supplements to ensure that you are getting enough calcium every day. It is recommended that you first discuss concerns regarding calcium intake with your doctor, and the possible options for meeting those needs.

 

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