Importance of calcium during pregnancy

Calcium during pregnancy

During pregnancy, baby needs calcium for developing strong bones and teeth. Consuming the right quantities of calcium during pregnancy also helps your baby grow a healthy heart with a normal heart rhythm. It also helps in developing blood clotting abilities along with strong muscles and nerves.

Consuming adequate quantities of calcium during pregnancy reduces your risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. If the body does not get enough calcium then the baby will draw calcium from the mother’s bones which can later affect the mother’s health.

Food sources of calcium

Milk and other dairy products are great sources of calcium. Other sources include canned fish and calcium-fortified cereal, juice, soy, and bread. Check the label as not all foods are fortified.

Listed below are some of the best food sources of Calcium that can form part of your daily diet:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 42 g part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 250 ml low-fat fruit yogurt
  • 250 ml calcium-fortified soy milk
  • 177 ml calcium-fortified orange juice
  • 85 g canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid
  • 250 ml non-fat milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (1 percent milk fat)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soft-serve frozen yogurt1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • One slice white bread
  • 250 ml whole milk

Calcium requirement and supplements

Prenatal vitamin will provide you with 150 mg of calcium at a time. You can separately take calcium supplement if you are not getting enough of calcium from your diet. But always keep in mind that the body can absorb up to 500 mg of calcium at a time. You require vitamin D to ensure proper absorption of calcium. So, make sure you are getting your daily dose of vitamin D.

Supplemental Calcium comes in two different forms: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate provides maximum quantities of calcium but requires extra stomach acid for absorption. Hence, calcium carbonate supplements are best consumed with a meal. Calcium citrate on the other hand is easily absorbed by the body as it does not require stomach acid. It can be taken between meals and when you are taking medicines to reduce heartburn.

Make sure you don’t take too much calcium. Your total daily consumption from all sources combined must not exceed 2500 mg (or 3000 mg if you are younger than 18). Consuming too much calcium during pregnancy may cause constipation, kidney stones and hinder with your body’s capability to absorb iron and zinc from foods.