Calcium is a mineral everyone needs, including pregnant women. Calcium helps bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. Women need calcium to prevent diseases like osteoporosis, and pregnant women especially need the mineral in order for the baby’s bones to grow and develop. A pregnant woman also needs the mineral for milk production during pregnancy and breast feeding.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is one of the essential minerals found all over the body. It strengthens bones, assists with blood clotting, helps with muscle function and breaks down fat. Calcium also provides much-needed energy. A lack of calcium affects not only your bones and teeth, but your overall health.
During pregnancy, the developing baby drains the mother of many resources, including calcium. Your baby needs as much calcium as possible for proper growth and development of bones, muscles and blood clotting abilities. For these essential needs to be met, the baby starts pulling the calcium from your body. You run the risk of poor teeth and brittle bones.
The recommended intake of calcium per day is 1,000 milligrams for women ages 18 to 50. It’s important to have enough before you get pregnant, during pregnancy and afterward. Check with your doctor if you want to know if you need more calcium or supplements to reach this daily goal.
Eating foods that rich in calcium is vital to good health during pregnancy. Eating the right amount of servings per day helps eliminate poor health, increases energy and promotes strong bones and teeth. Some foods, like cheese, are naturally enriched. Read the nutrition labels and ask a nutritionist if you’re not sure. Here is a list of foods that are high in calcium:
- Cheese of any kind
- Low-fat milk
- Orange, grapefruit or enriched natural fruit juice
- Cottage cheese
- Turnip greens
- Ice cream
- Canned tuna and salmon with bones
- Calcium enriched breads, grains and cereal
If you’re eating the recommended 2 to 3 servings provided by the FDA, then you should be getting enough calcium. Consuming three servings a day of dairy foods is also recommended by the FDA for pregnant women. If you’re unable to eat the right amount of calcium-rich foods, then ask your doctor for professional advice.
Are My Prenatal Vitamins Enough?
Prenatal vitamins provide around 150 to 200 milligrams of calcium. Unless you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, it’s recommended that pregnant women not take any other supplements without professional advice. Between eating a proper diet and taking your prenatal vitamins on a daily basis, you should be getting enough calcium each day.
Can You Take Too Much?
Be wary of taking extra calcium supplements without the consent of your doctor. You can have too much in your body. This increases your risk of constipation, low iron and kidney stones. Your body can only use about 500 milligrams at a time. Adding too much can make you sick.