How To Get More Calcium During Pregnancy

Dietary Sources Of Calcium

How Much Calcium During Pregnancy | CloudMom

Youre probably aware that the best sources of calcium are milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. But what if youre vegan, lactose intolerant or an adherent of the paleo diet?

Good news: you can get sufficient calcium from green leafy veggies, molasses, baked beans, nuts and nut butters, oranges, figs, apricots, tofu made with calcium sulphate and sardines with the bones.

In Case Of Inadequate Calcium Intake The Foetus Will Take What It Needs From The Mother This Can Lead To Osteoporosis Or Cavities

Studies suggest that women lose about 3 to 6% of their bone mass during pregnancy. However, this lost bone is replaced within a few months after pregnancy and the bone density returns to normal. Some women even experience an increase in bone density!

No link has been found between osteoporosis and calcium loss during pregnancy. Researchers explain that the low postpartum bone mass observed among some women cannot be attributed to an inadequate diet or to foetal calcium needs but to:

  • Pre-pregnancy low bone density
  • Medications like heparin, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids
  • Certain diseases.

And no, your baby wont take calcium from your teeth. The cavities observed by new mothers are often due to an increased consumption of sweets, changes in oral hygiene and vomiting.

Make Smoothies Your Friend

Smoothies are a convenient breakfast or snack option. Use ingredients you have on hand, such as yogurt, milk, any combination of fruit and even vegetables, such as fresh spinach. Jessica also likes to add flax seed for the crunch, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. She makes smoothies in the morning with help from her kids, who are more likely to eat it when theyve had a hand in making it.

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Vitamin D In Pregnancy

You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount between September and March.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to summer sunlight .

It’s not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs, but if you’re in the sun take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you start to turn red or burn.

Vitamin D is also in some foods, including:

  • oily fish
  • eggs
  • red meat

Vitamin D is added to some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. The amounts added to these products can vary and might only be small.

Because vitamin D is only found in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it is difficult to get enough from foods alone.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

You can get vitamin supplements containing vitamin D free of charge if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

Why Are Iron And Calcium Important During Pregnancy

Calcium During Pregnancy: How to Get Enough

Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin â that’s the substance in your red blood cells that helps carry oxygen to your organs and tissues. When you’re pregnant, your body produces more blood to supply oxygen to your baby, which is why you’ll need to double your iron intake. If you don’t get enough iron, or you’re already low on iron, you could develop iron deficiency anemia, which will not only make you feel more tired in pregnancy, but also, in severe cases, can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and postpartum depression.

Getting enough calcium helps keep your teeth and bones healthy, and helps your baby develop strong teeth and bones, too. What’s more, calcium keeps your circulatory, nervous, and muscular systems running normally.

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Where To Get Pregnancy Supplements

You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.

If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .

You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme.

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How Much Calcium Do I Need

During your pregnancy, the recommended daily intake is the same as it is prior to pregnancy: 1000mg a day for women aged 19 to 50 years and 1300mg a day for adolescents or those aged over 51. Most women dont get nearly enough of this important mineral. Aim for 2-3 servings of dairy products or calcium-rich foods a day. Pregnant adolescents should aim for 3-4 servings of dairy products a day. See below for some suggestions.

Vegetarian And Vegan Diets

How to Get Enough Calcium When You’re Pregnant: Best Foods & More!

Vegetarian and vegan diets can be very healthy. But if you choose to follow one, you’ll need to understand a little about nutrition to be sure youre getting all the vitamins that your body needs. Getting the right nutrition is even more important when youre pregnant.

There are different types of vegetarian diets. How much calcium you get and how much of it you absorb depends on what you eat. If you follow a lacto-ova vegetarian diet, you can have eggs, milk, and cheese. So, on this plan, you should be able to get enough calcium each day.

It may be more challenging to meet the daily recommendation for calcium if you follow a strict vegan or plant-based diet.

On a vegan diet, you do not consume any milk or dairy products. Plus, some plants interfere with how well your body absorbs calcium. That doesnt mean you cant get enough calcium in your diet if youre a veganit just means you have to know the right foods to choose from.

Vegan sources of calcium include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Navy beans
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tahini
  • Raisins

Commonly fortified products include:

  • Tofu, firm, with calcium sulfate
  • Soy milk
  • Rice milk

If you are having trouble getting the calcium you need through your diet alone, you should talk to your doctor about a vegetarian or vegan calcium supplement.

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What If Youre A Pregnant Teenager

Then youll need to get about 800mg of calcium daily.

Why the difference? Well, after testing the forearm of adolescent mothers, researchers found that their bone density decreased by as much as 10% during pregnancy and lactation. This was not observed in women above 18.

The scientists speculate that, since a teen mother is still building her total bone mass, the growing baby may be competing with her for calcium to develop his own skeleton. An inadequate intake could thus prevent the young mother from achieving her optimal bone density this may render her more vulnerable to osteoporosis later on.

So if youre under 18, increase your dietary intake of calcium to compensate for the decline in bone density.

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How To Get The Calcium You Need During Pregnancy

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, 99% of which is found in your bones and teeth after all, its main purpose is to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. The remaining 1% of your calcium is used for blood vessel dilation and constriction, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion.

During pregnancy, calcium stores in the expecting parent’s body are the main source of the nutrient for the fetus. A baby’s bones grow the most rapidly in the third trimester, and during this time an estimated 200-250 mg is transferred to the fetus per day. But heres where the calcium story gets really interesting: The Dietary Reference Intake , which is the amount you need to consume on a daily basis, is the same for pregnant people and non-pregnant people with ovaries despite the extra demand on a pregnant person’s body.

All adults with ovaries are advised by the National Institutes of Health to get 1,000 mg per day of calcium the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the same for pregnant people and during lactation . The DRI for calcium only increases to 1,200 mg post-menopause.

Can I Get Enough Iron And Calcium From Diet Alone In Pregnancy

Midlife Mothers Getting Calcium Through Diet ...

Not all dietary sources of iron are created equal. Heme iron, which is found in animal foods like red meat and poultry, is more easily absorbed by the body. If you’re getting your iron from vegetable sources only, you may not be absorbing enough iron. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you’re at risk of an iron deficiency in pregnancy. You can increase the absorption of iron from vegetable sources by combining it with a vitamin C pill or eating it with fruit, like oranges or strawberries. Low iron during pregnancy has been associated with unusual, non-food cravings for things like ice or dirt. If you experience these cravings, make an appointment with your doctor.

Calcium is easier to get from a balanced diet, even if you’re vegetarian. Just be aware that calcium, when consumed together with iron sources or supplements, can interfere with iron absorption. For example, if you choose to drink orange juice for its vitamin C content to boost the absorption of plant-based iron, then make sure it has not been fortified with calcium, or just make sure you’re getting your calcium and iron at different times during the day.

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What You Need To Know About Taking Iron And Calcium Supplements

If a supplement is recommended for you, your healthcare provider will recommend the best way to take it.

Your provider may suggest taking iron supplements on an empty stomach and with juice or a vitamin C tablet. Black stools are a good sign the iron is being absorbed.

Carefully follow your doctor’s instructions about the amount of iron you should take. If you miss a dose, do not take double to make up for it, as it is possible to overdose on iron. There is nothing to worry about if you follow your doctor’s instructions.

You might experience some side effects when taking iron supplements, such as:

Less common symptoms may also include:

  • Darkened urine

  • Heartburn

  • Stained teeth.

When it comes to calcium supplements, it really depends on the type you’re prescribed â some can be taken with food, others without, so ask your doctor for advice. Also, some prescribed calcium can interfere with other medicines, so check with your doctor or pharmacist if this may affect you.

Getting the right amount of iron and calcium during pregnancy is important and your healthcare provider will help you make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you and your baby need. Eating healthily will also help you to keep your pregnancy weight gain on track. For even more information about staying healthy, read up on putting together a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy.

  • See all sources

Do I Need Supplements

Even if you’re maintaining a balanced diet, you may still be missing some key nutrients, like iron, calcium, or folic acid. Your healthcare provider will be able to test whether any nutrients are lacking and may advise you to take a prenatal vitamin to boost your levels.

If you’re taking a prenatal vitamin, that should give you a portion of the recommended daily amount of iron. However, if your blood work shows you’re iron deficient, your healthcare provider may recommend a separate iron supplement.

With calcium, you may be able to get enough from dietary sources. If you have problems digesting dairy products, you can either increase your calcium intake from other foods, or talk to your doctor about calcium supplements.

Keep in mind, not all foods are safe for moms-to-be. Read our article to learn more about what foods to avoid eating while you’re pregnant.

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Calcium Supplements: Do You Need Them

Maybe, maybe not it all depends on whether you were calcium deficient prior to pregnancy and if youre having trouble meeting your RNI with food alone. Before popping calcium pills, make sure to talk to your GP first and have a dietitian review your current diet.

An excessive calcium intake can harm your baby: some babies fail to thrive, while others suffer from various symptoms ranging from mild constipation, muscle weakness to severe seizures. According to studies, excess calcium intake can also hinder the absorption of other minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc which are also essential for both mother and child.

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Should You Take Calcium Supplements During Pregnancy

Calcium supplements are generally considered safe for moms-to-be, however, too much calcium from supplements can cause unpleasant side effects like gas or constipation. A calcium-containing prenatal, in combination with sufficient food sources of calcium throughout the day, will usually offer enough of the mineral to support both you and your baby during pregnancy.

If you think your consumption might be low or if youre vegan or lactose intolerant, pay extra attention to plant sources of calcium such as dark leafy greens, tofu and nuts and ask your practitioner if you should consider a supplement. Your healthcare provider may also recommend a calcium supplement if you have inadequate intake and are at risk for developing preeclampsia. If you’re also taking supplemental iron, keep in mind that you should not take calcium at the same time, since it can interfere with iron absorption .

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

What If You Do Not Take Sufficient Amount Of Calcium

Here are a few problems you could face due to calcium deficiency in pregnancy:

  • Your baby will absorb its quota of calcium from your bones. This, in turn, decreases your bone density.
  • Absorption of calcium from your bones will put you at the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis leads to bone thinning, which results in weak and brittle bones.
  • Hypertension during pregnancy and premature delivery.
  • An interruption in the process of blood clots and hormone secretion.
  • Hypocalcaemia in low birth weight and preterm babies .

The best way to maintain the required levels of calcium is to have foods rich in calcium. So, what kind of food will give you sufficient calcium supply? Keep reading to know more.

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How Much Calcium During Pregnancy

Calcium is a vital building block for your baby’s bones and teeth, and also helps preserve your bone strength. Women younger than 19 need 1,300 milligrams each day those 19 and older need 1,000 mg daily.

Each of the following is equal to one serving of calcium. Try to eat four servings every day.

– 1 cup milk or yogurt

– 1 1/2 ounces hard cheese

– 1 1/2 to 2 ounces cottage cheese

– 1 1/2 cups cooked, fresh green vegetables

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