Pregnancy is a time when moms-to-be must be really meticulous about their calcium intake. Deficiency of calcium during pregnancy can lead to developmental issues in your unborn baby. Your baby would get its dose of calcium (approximately 200-250mg/day during your third trimester) from the food and supplements you take. In case you don’t take the necessary dosage of calcium, your fetus would absorb it from your bones. This would decrease your bone density to a great extent and might even lead to osteoporosis.
The good news, however, is that your body would be able to sense the need for more calcium during pregnancy and would produce more of Vitamin D that is required to absorb calcium from your food. Pregnant women on an average would require around 1g of calcium every day.
• Helps in the formation and development of teeth and bones of your unborn baby
• It is also essential for heart health
• Fortifies and augments your breast milk
• Calcium during pregnancy lowers the risk of obesity by minimizing the production of body fat
• Improves nerve functioning of your baby and yourself
• Aids blood clotting
• Helps in the muscle formation of your unborn baby
• Lowers the risk of preeclampsia. According to a research, daily intake of calcium helps in regulating blood pressure levels and minimizes the risk of high BP which is a major contributing factor for preeclampsia.
Here are some food sources that can compensate for your daily requirement of calcium during pregnancy.
Spinach contains not only 120mg of calcium per serving but also a variety of other nutrients like folic acid, beta-carotene, and iron that are essential for you during pregnancy.
It is said that around 8 ounces of whole milk contains around 290mg of calcium and the same quantity of skimmed milk would give you around 302mg of calcium. One serving of any variety (fruit, plain, frozen, or low-fat) yoghurt would give you around 250-400mg of calcium and a regular serving of cheese would give you around 140-275mg of calcium.
Salmon is known to be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids along with calcium. One serving of salmon can give you around 200mg of calcium. Seafood like crab and fishes like Katla, Pran, and Rohu also give you around 300-500mg of calcium per serving (100g). So if you are a non-vegetarian, ensure that you include these in some form in your diet.
Ragi or finger millet and Horsegram are also rich sources of calcium. On an average, 30g of Horsegram and ragi would give you 110g and 80g of calcium respectively.
If you are vegan or are lactose intolerant, you need to find yourself alternate sources of calcium. Soy and soy-related products would be able to give you just that. Calcium-fortified soy milk, tofu, and other soy products would fulfil around 40mg-300mg of your daily calcium requirement.
If you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you would not need additional supplements for your calcium needs. However, as your requirements are at the higher end during pregnancy, your doctor would definitely advise a calcium supplement for you during the later part of your pregnancy. In case you are lactose intolerant and can’t consume dairy, you need to ensure that you are substituting it with other calcium-rich sources on an everyday basis.