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Understanding the Importance of Calcium for Pregnant Women

Understanding the Importance of Calcium for Pregnant Women

When you are pregnant, one of the first things you should look into is your nutrition. It is twice as important now that you are carrying a developing baby inside you. This is why you may hear many of your family and friends telling you to eat twice as much to cater to the nutrients you and your child need. Though this is not true, mindful eating is more advisable at this time. One of the most important nutrients to consider is calcium. Read on to learn more about the benefits of calcium for pregnant woman.

All You Need to Know About Calcium for Pregnant Women

As many people know, this particular nutrient is an important component of human bone. It accounts for 1% to 2% of total body mass, which is a requirement for a variety of physiological functions. Calcium is stored in teeth and bones serving as reservoirs for such functions.

It is during pregnancy and lactation when calcium intake is more essential than ever to the body. Research reveals that increased calcium intake during critical periods like pregnancy and nursing can help improve maternal bone health. Not only that, but it could also improve the calcium source for the fetus. Thus, showing a direct link to increased bone density and bone length for babies.

Apart from these, calcium supplementation can lower your risk of preeclampsia. This health condition involves an abrupt rise in blood pressure in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Hypertensive conditions are often associated with a significant proportion of maternal deaths. Some also bring a significant risk of preterm birth, causing early neonatal problems and even infant mortality.

Pregnant women who do not consume adequate amounts of calcium, specifically during their third trimester, could also be at greater risk of osteoporosis later on.

Calcium for Pregnant Women: How Can It Benefit Your Baby?

The benefits of calcium for pregnant women also extend to their growing baby. Calcium can also serve as supplementary nutrients vital to healthy growth and development of the musculoskeletal, nervous, and circulatory systems.

  • Strengthening of bones and teeth
  • Developing strong heart, nerves, and muscles
  • Creating a normal heart rhythm
  • Enhancing blood clotting abilities

These are a few of the many reasons why the calcium requirement heightens as pregnancy progresses.

How Much Calcium Do You and Your Baby Need?

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers require at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day. On the other hand, much younger pregnant and lactating women may need more of it. The recommended dosage is a good 1,300 mg per day.

What Are Good Sources of Calcium?

Most people associate calcium with dairy products and on top of the list of their go-to sources of calcium are:

  • Milk (i.e., rice, soy, almond)
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese (i.e., Ricotta, Mozzarella, Cheddar)
  • Ice cream

But there is a wide range of fruits and vegetables that are also good sources of calcium:

  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Cress
  • Kale
  • Green soybeans
  • Bok choy
  • Rhubarb
  • Figs (dried)
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • White beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Red beans

Some people also reach for seafood proteins like salmon, shrimp, and even sardines to obtain the necessary nutrients they need. There are also those who like getting their calcium from fortified food like cereals and oatmeal.

Key Takeaway

Calcium is such a critical component of the growth and development of your baby.

It is important to keep in mind that you are not only nurturing yourself in the process, but more so the child growing inside of you.

Make sure you get yourself all the nutrients you could to have a happy and healthy pregnancy journey.

Learn more about Being Pregnant here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Calcium in Pregnancy and Lactation, https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.nutr.20.1.249 Accessed January 3, 2022

Calcium Supplementation during Pregnancy and Lactation: Effects on the Mother and the Fetus – Michael, Thomas, MD, and Steven N. Weisman, M.D., https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(05)00711-8/fulltext Accessed January 3, 2022

Calcium: A Nutrient in Pregnancy – Ashok Kumar, and Simar Kaur, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561751/ Accessed January 3, 2022

Pregnancy and Nutrition, https://medlineplus.gov/pregnancyandnutrition.html Accessed January 3, 2022

Pregnancy Diet: Focus on These Essential Nutrients, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082 Accessed January 3, 2022

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated Jul 05
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD