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The Importance Of Fulfilling Calcium Requirements During Pregnancy

Posted: June 6, 2019

When you are pregnant calcium is another mineral which is of utmost importance not just for your growing fetus but for you as well. Calcium has been known to be good for healthy teeth and bones since decades. Let us now understand how it helps the mother and the growing fetus.

How much calcium does the fetus require?

  • During gestation, the fetus requires approximately 30gms of calcium.
  • During the second trimester, the fetus requires 50mg/day of calcium.
  • During the third trimester, the baby requires 250mg of calcium per day.

BENEFITS OF CALCIUM FOR THE FETUS

  • Is crucial for muscle formation
  • Is important for strong dental growth
  • Helps in development of the nervous system.
  • Aids in development of a strong heart.

BENEFITS OF CALCIUM FOR THE ‘TO BE MOMMY’

  • Helps in normal clotting of blood
  • Fortifies the breast milk
  • Helps produce fewer fats, thereby reducing the risk of obesity
  • Aids in proper nervous system functioning
  • Keeps the heart beat normal

As women, our daily calcium requirements are as under:

  • 14-18 years of age : 1300mg i.e 1.3 gms per day
  • 19 years and above, including pregnant women : 1000mg

You need to note that the body is capable of absorbing only 500mg of calcium at a given time. Hence it is best to consume only 500mg at a given time, so if your daily requirement falls under 1000mg then you can have the same in small quantities and not all at once.

What would happen if you do not consume enough calcium during pregnancy?

  • If you do not consume enough calcium then your baby would absorb calcium from your bones, which in turn would reduce your bone density.
  • This kind of absorption would in turn predispose you to osteoporosis, ultimately leading to bone thinning and weak bones.
  • Not consuming calcium can lead to hypertension and premature delivery.
  • It can also lead to hypocalcaemia in preterm and low birth weight babies.
  • There can be an interruption in the secretion of hormones and the process of blood clotting.

The best way to get enough calcium would be possible only via a diet which is rich in calcium.

Food sources of Calcium

While the major sources of calcium come from dairy, there are few other non-dairy based sources of calcium which are a must have in the diet if you are pregnant.

  1. White beans
  2. Spinach
  3. Dried figs
  4. Oranges
  5. Black eyed peas
  6. Almonds
  7. Greek yogurt
  8. Milk
  9. Almond milk
  10. Soymilk
  11. Cottage cheese (paneer)
  12. Low-fat cheese
  13. Chia seeds
  14. Fishes like sardine and salmon’
  15. Amaranth
  16. Tofu
  17. Sesame seeds

Supplements during pregnancy:

Supplements if taken can give you 150mg of calcium if you are not getting enough from the diet. Also, it is important to note that Calcium can be absorbed in the body only if there is enough Vitamin D in the body. Hence Vitamin D is of utmost importance if you need calcium in the body.

Supplemental calcium comes in two forms, calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate can give you maximum amount of calcium, but it takes extra stomach acid in order to get dissolved, hence best taken with a meal. Calcium citrate is easily dissolved and absorbed by the body, hence can be consumed in between meals. However before you go ahead and take any supplement make sure you talk to your gynecologist for best advice.

Image via Pixabay

A Nutritionist, Clinical Dietitian, Speaker, health/fitness blogger, online show host,menu planner, menstrual health

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