Calcium Needs When Pregnant
According to the Recommended Dietary Allowances set by the US Food and Nutrition Board, the recommended “adequate intake” for calcium for pregnant women is 1300mg per day. This compares with 1000mg per day for women aged between 19-50 years. In other words, an expectant mother needs about 30 percent more calcium.
Benefits and Sources
Calcium is essential for maintaining the bone integrity of a pregnant woman and providing for the skeletal development of the fetus. The best and easiest food sources of calcium include milk, milk products, sardines, and salmon. Women who don’t drink milk or consume dairy products are advised to take a calcium supplement of 600mg per day, or eat plenty of calcium-fortified foods.
Optimum Calcium Intake Needs Vitamin D and Phosphorus
For optimum absorption of the calcium in your food or supplements, you need adequate vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin C. Get vitamin D from canned tuna or salmon, eggs or milk products. Get phosphorus from meat, fish, eggs, milk; also from grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Get vitamin C from fortified breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, peppers.
Milk and other dairy products are the best and most convenient sources of calcium in your diet. Unfortunately, expectant mothers who are lactate-deficient cannot tolerate or digest the lactose (milk sugar) in milk-based foods and must obtain their calcium from non-dairy sources. If you are pregnant and lactose intolerant, you should talk with your doctor/dietitian to determine whether you might need a calcium supplement.