10 Nov 2022 | 2 min Read
Dr Kavita Shah
Author | 1 Articles
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients which plays a role in the formation of bones and teeth, the conduction of stimulus in the nerves, and the strengthening of the muscles. An adequate amount of calcium intake helps support the formation of bones in the baby and ensures that the baby’s teeth and bones develop on time after birth, hence making calcium an important nutrient during pregnancy as well as during lactation.
A pregnant woman requires 1000mg/day of calcium and lactating woman requires 1200mg/day of calcium. If this requirement isn’t met then the baby will start taking calcium from the mother’s bones leading to weakening and brittle bones (osteoporosis) over time.
To avoid this condition, make sure your include calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, paneer, buttermilk, tofu, curd, drumstick, custard apple (sitaphal), soybean, etc. Additionally, calcium supplements should be taken regularly. Generally, 1g of calcium per day in the form of tablets (500mg in the morning and 500mg at night) is given to pregnant and la ctating moms.
Since the bone formation of the baby starts around 11-13 weeks, a pregnant woman should start taking calcium supplements from the 14th week and continue till her baby is 6 months of age. Mothers who breastfeed beyond 6 months should continue taking till they are breastfeeding.
For calcium to work well in the body vitamin D is required in adequate quantity. Hence enough exposure to day sunlight or vitamin D supplements should be taken to meet that requirement.
Lastly, one important thing to remember is to avoid taking iron supplements along with calcium supplements as it interferes with the absorption of calcium. Always keep a 2-3 hours gap between the two iron and calcium tablets.
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