Pregnancy introduces a lot of changes to a woman’s body, but it also demands a lot of supplementations to support the life of a fetus growing inside. Vitamins and minerals account for a lot during pregnancy, especially contributing to the steady growth and development of the fetus, especially the organs and the skeleton.
Amidst all the different types of minerals needed during pregnancy, calcium accounts for one of the most important ones. From aiding the development of the skeleton of the baby to other vital physiological functions, calcium does a lot more than we know.
This article will explore everything you need to know about the importance of calcium tablets in pregnancy, dosage, and benefits.
In this Article
- 1 What is the Ideal Calcium Dosage during Pregnancy?
- 2 What is the Role of Calcium during Pregnancy?
- 3 What are the Complications associated with Calcium Supplementation during Pregnancy?
What is the Ideal Calcium Dosage during Pregnancy?
There isn’t a “standard” calcium dosage that one should take throughout their life. So, naturally, the ideal calcium dosage during pregnancy varies as well.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a pregnant woman over the age of 19 should consume 1000 mg of calcium each day.
On the flip side, teen mothers require a little more dosage of calcium each day, accounting for 1,300 mg per day.
Pregnant women get their calcium dosage from supplements, but natural food sources account for the daily calcium needs of the mother too.
What is the Role of Calcium during Pregnancy?
Getting the right calcium tablet dose in pregnancy is crucial, not just for the baby but also for the expecting mother. Typically, calcium is a staple mineral that we need daily, but its importance increases ten-fold during pregnancy.
Benefits for the baby
The primary need for calcium during pregnancy is to help the baby form bones and teeth. A proper dosage of calcium also supports the skeleton development of the fetus. Additionally, calcium is also crucial for the development of other organs and body structures, including:
Benefits for the mother
Since calcium is such a crucial need for your baby throughout the pregnancy, the fetus will extract the available calcium from the mother via the placenta. So, if you aren’t replenishing the body’s calcium reserves, it can inadvertently lead to complications like osteoporosis, weakness, muscle and joint pain, etc.
Most women recover from such complications after the delivery. However, it is still ideal that you get enough calcium each day to support the health of the baby and the mother.
What are the Complications associated with Calcium Supplementation during Pregnancy?
Since pregnancy is such a delicate phase in a woman’s life, focusing on getting the right dosage of calcium is crucial during pregnancy.
You don’t want to get too little or too much calcium because either of these leads to damage to the mother and the baby’s health.
Here’s a comparison table for you to tally:
|Too Little Calcium during Pregnancy||Too Much Calcium during Pregnancy|
|-High blood pressure
-Numbness and tingling sensation in the extremities
-Fetus not getting enough calcium
-Low birth weight
-Heart problems in the fetus
-Risks of bone fractures (severe cases)
-Issues with the absorption of other minerals
-Low calcium levels in baby’s body
Either case of too much and too little calcium is damaging to the health, well-being, and growth of the baby and the mother. Sometimes, taking multiple different prenatal supplements can lead to excess calcium intake, which is not a favorable condition. You don’t want too little calcium because it leads to a lot of birth complications, but you also don’t want too much at the same time.
You can discuss your proper dosage, sources of calcium, and food sources with your OBGYN to curate a well-aligned diet plan that contains the right amount of calcium as needed.
What are the Best Food Sources of Calcium?
When you think of calcium from food sources, the most common source is milk and dairy products. While that is true, not everyone is tolerant of lactose. Hence, you must discuss the best sources of calcium (besides prenatal supplements) with your doctor.
Calcium tablets during pregnancy suffice a part of your daily needs. But, you also need to get them from food sources – Both dairy and non-dairy sources.
|Food sources (Dairy-based)||Calcium content|
|Plain low-fat yogurt||415 mg|
|Plain low-fat milk||275 mg|
|Calcium-fortified orange juice||349 mg|
|Whole-milk mozzarella||222 mg|
|Cheddar cheese||307 mg|
|Whole milk||276 mg|
|Low-fat buttermilk||284 mg|
|Cottage cheese||187 mg|
|Food sources (Non-dairy based)||Calcium content|
|Canned salmon||181 mg|
|Chia seeds||179 mg|
|Bok choy||160 mg|
|Turnip greens||148 mg|
|Black-eyed peas||106 mg|
|Canned sardines||325 mg|
|Soy milk||299 mg|
One factor that’s worth noting with calcium consumption is supplementing it with Vitamin D. The body needs an optimal amount of Vitamin D to absorb the calcium that you get from food sources and supplements. So, include foods like salmon, eggs, tuna, etc., or get it from natural sources like sunlight.
Are Calcium Supplements Safe during Pregnancy?
Calcium supplements are generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, you need to discuss your options and optimal dosage with your doctor.
If your doctor thinks that you aren’t getting an optimal amount from the food sources, they will put you on supplements but with a very closely monitored dosage.
Since supplements impose a risk of calcium toxicity during pregnancy, consuming a minimal amount of supplements and getting most of them from natural and dietary sources is considered ideal – both for the mother and the baby.
Can I get calcium on a vegan diet?
There are several non-dairy and non-animal derived food items that have a good amount of calcium in them, including soy milk, chia seeds, bok choy, black-eyed peas, fortified cereals, etc.
Should I take calcium supplements in the morning?
If you are on a calcium supplement during pregnancy, take it at the same time every day to maintain a routine. If you are taking it with your breakfast in the morning, stick to that schedule.
Should I take calcium supplements if I am lactose intolerant?
If you don’t gel well with dairy products, you can opt for non-dairy food sources for calcium. If that doesn’t meet your daily calcium requirements, you can then switch to supplements as prescribed by your doctor.
Calcium is an extremely important nutrient that expecting mothers and developing babies need to support their growth and development in-utero. If you are confused about the optimal dosage, food sources, and the correct way of taking supplements, we hope this article answers all your questions in detail.