Both you and your developing baby need calcium during your pregnancy. Your baby needs the calcium to grow strong bones, teeth, a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles, normal heart rhythm and blood clotting abilities.
You need the additional calcium because your baby is going to be drawing from your calcium in order to grow and develop and if you are not getting enough calcium for yourself, both you and your baby will suffer.
How much calcium do you need?
Until recently, experts advised pregnant women to get 1,200mg of calcium daily. But new research finds that 1,000mg is all you really need during pregnancy because your body can’t absorb much more than that amount. You should still aim for four servings of dairy or other calcium-rich foods a day.
Good food sources of calcium?
Milk, especially skim, and other dairy products are top sources, as are calcium-fortified foods and canned fish.
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt: 414mg
- 8 oz. skim milk: 302mg
- 2 cups cottage cheese: 300mg
- 8 oz. calcium-fortified orange juice: 300mg
- 2 slices calcium-fortified bread: 300mg
- 3 oz. sardines: 300mg
- 1 oz. Gruyere cheese: 283mg
- 3 oz. canned salmon: 211mg
- 1 oz. cheddar cheese: 202mg
- 4 oz. firm tofu: 166mg
- 3 corn tortillas: 150mg
- 1/2 cup boiled turnip greens: 98mg
Should you take a calcium supplement?
If you are going to buy a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin then you need to choose a suppliment which has around 150 to 200mg of calcium. Also ensure that the suppliment you choose has calcium carbonate, as this is the type of calcium which is easiest to absorb.
By placing the suppliment in a glass of vinigar and timing how long it takes for the suppliment to disolve — if it takes longer than 10 minutes to dissolve, the you should look at getting another brand.
Also choose a brand which is lead free. There have been recent studies that “natural” calcium suppliments may contain traces of lead, whch can harm your baby.