Calcium during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of tremendous importance when it comes to your diet. The fact of the matter is that there are important nutrients that you need more of during pregnancy, and calcium is one of them. Getting enough calcium during pregnancy helps your baby to build strong bones, of course. What you may not know is that it also helps your baby’s heart, muscles, and nerves to develop correctly. If you’re not taking in enough calcium, you’re likely to lose some calcium from your own bones. This, of course, has implications for your health long after your pregnancy.

Most experts recommend that you take in around 1,000 mg each day during pregnancy. This is actually the same amount recommended before and after pregnancy, as well. Unfortunately, most women don’t get anywhere near this much in their daily diets.

Here are some good sources of calcium that can be found in everyday foods:

  • Skim-milk yogurt
  • Nonfat fruit yogurt
  • Part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Sardines
  • Skim milk
  • Orange juice with added calcium
  • Tofu
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dry roasted almonds

Foods toward the top of the list tend to provide more calcium, with a serving of those providing nearly 400 mg of calcium each. Those at the bottom of the list are lower, providing around 100 mg of calcium. The list gives you some ideas of the kinds of foods you’ll want to consider adding to your diet.

In addition, if you’re taking a prenatal supplement, you’re probably getting about 200 mg per day from that source. The key here is to keep in mind that the body is usually only able to absorb around 500 mg of calcium at a time, which means that you need to space out your calcium intake throughout the day.

You will want to make sure that you aren’t taking in way more than the recommended amounts of calcium during pregnancy, too. Too much can create a risk of developing kidney stones, or lead to constipation. Try to keep it under 2,000 mg or so a day.

Finally, make sure you include some vitamin D with your calcium, as well. Vitamin D will help your body absorb calcium, and make sure that your body is getting enough during pregnancy.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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