Calcium in Your Pregnancy Diet

Calcium in Your Pregnancy Diet


Are You Getting Enough Calcium During Pregnancy?

What do we know about calcium for pregnant women? Are radio and TV right insisting that pregnant women should take it in the form of pills? Does every woman need to take it during pregnancy and why? You might be very anxious after you’ve heard your friend saying: "I had problems with teeth after the birth! That means I lacked calcium during pregnancy, because nobody told me to take it! " We will answer this and other related questions.

Calcium accounts for 2 % of body weight. It forms bone tissue and enzymes, is actively involved in the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction. Calcium is an important component of blood coagulation. This element is present in the human body in the greatest quantity. Out of the total "stock" of calcium (1-1,5 kg for an adult, about 20 g per kg of body weight) approximately 98-99 % accounts for bones and cartilages. New bone cells form to replace the old ones, therefore you need constantly replenish stocks of this element.

Calcium for Pregnant Women: Why is it Necessary to take Calcium in Pregnancy?

Calcium in Your Diet During Pregnancy

Women between 19 and 50 yo should take 1000 mg of calcium daily, while women under 18 yo – 1300 mg of calcium per day. During pregnancy and lactation, this number increases to attain 1500 mg per day. The growing fetus needs calcium for both the growth of bones and teeth and the formation of the CNS, heart and muscles. It is difficult to overestimate the role of calcium in regulating heart rhythm and blood coagulation.

Calcium is essential for the development of all the baby’s tissues, including nerve cells, internal organs, skeleton, eyes, ears, skin, hair and nails. Studies have shown that about 250-300 mg of calcium per day is delivered to the fetus through placenta.

Increased circulation of calcium in the future mom’s body as well as calcium excretion with urine are normal for pregnant women with adequate nutrition. These processes raise the need for calcium during pregnancy. Usually additional calcium is provided by increased absorption from food due to pregnancy hormones.

What to Eat During Pregnancy

Milk and dairy products contain lots of calcium (especially low-fat ones). Some vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, celery, parsley, fruit and berries also contain good quantities of this element. For example, gooseberry, redcurrant, strawberries, cherries contain lots of calcium. Animal and fish cartilages also contains calcium (don’t forget about aspic!)

Some foods, such as cereals, sorrel, currant, gooseberry, spinach slow down calcium absorption. These products contain phytic or oxalic acid that interacting with calcium form insoluble salts: oxalates and phytates, thus hindering calcium absorption. Therefore, take into account the products’ compatibility. Excessive consumption of foods containing caffeine such as cola, coffee, tea also may impede calcium metabolism. Thus, don’t overuse of them, especially during pregnancy.

Among the diseases that impede normal calcium absorption are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract: stomach ulcer and stone disease, chronic colitis – inflammation of the large intestine accompanied by diarrhea, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation). As for endocrine diseases, it’s worth mentioning diabetes mellitus, hyperparathyroidism (parathyroid disease), thyrotoxicosis (thyroid disease), as well as bronchial asthma and other diseases requiring intake of glucocorticoids – hormonal drugs replacing hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands.

How Much Calcium During Pregnancy

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