Calcium supplements during pregnancy: what should I take?

by Aug 18, 2020Blog

 

Calcium is an important nutrient during pregnancy, and if you’re not getting enough from your diet, you may need a supplement. In this blog, we’ll discuss calcium supplements during pregnancy: how to know whether or not you need one, which type to take and what dose. 

Calcium during pregnancy

Calcium is an essential nutrient during pregnancy. Your baby needs calcium to grow strong bones and teeth, to grow a healthy heart, nerves and muscles, and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood clotting abilities. 

Although your calcium requirements don’t increase during pregnancy, they stay at your normal levels depending upon your age… so 1300 milligrams per day for women under the age of 18, and 1000 milligrams per day for the rest of us, many women that I see don’t get enough calcium in their diet.

In addition to meeting the needs of your developing baby, calcium is important to prevent a condition called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy condition characterised by high blood pressure. It can be very dangerous for you or your baby. Women with low calcium intakes of less than 600 milligrams per day have an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia, so it’s another reason why you may need to double check your calcium intake.

There’s one more reason too… research has found a relationship between low calcium levels and increased frequency and intensity of muscle cramps during pregnancy. 

Calcium supplements during pregnancy

Before I recommend the best type of calcium supplements to look for, I want to make it clear to you that you are FAR better off meeting your calcium requirements through food if you can.

Calcium supplements can be contaminated with lead. One report from the U.S. identified that of eight of 23 nationally available calcium carbonate products contained small amounts of lead. Now, we are talking about tiny amounts, but food is a safer option. More practically, the calcium from food is also absorbed more easily than the calcium from supplements. The best sources of dietary calcium are the small, edible bones found in fish such as sardines, dairy products and seeds such as sesame seeds. If you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough, I’d recommend that you keep a food diary for a couple of days and add up your calcium intake, or make an appointment to see a prenatal dietitian.

Now, if you do need a calcium supplement, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure that you don’t take more than 500 milligrams of calcium at one time as large doses won’t be absorbed
  • Don’t take calcium supplements at the same time as your pregnancy multivitamin as it can impact the absorption of other nutrients such as iron
  • Calcium citrate is the best type of calcium supplement as it is more easily absorbed, but it is more expensive
  • If you have calcium carbonate supplements, make sure that you take them with food
  • Absorption from calcium-fortified beverages varies and is generally less than calcium absorbed from milk

 

If you have any further questions, feel free to post in the comments box below.  And, if you haven’t yet downloaded my free pregnancy meal plan, you can do so by going to www.melaniemcgrice.com/pregnancy

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Join the waiting list for Melanie’s next free live online seminar

Want to know how to give your baby a head start in life?  Join the wait list to register for Melanie’s next online seminar.

Join the waiting list for Melanie’s next free live online seminar

 

Want to know how to give your baby a head start in life?  Join the wait list to register for Melanie’s next online seminar.

 

How to boost your fertility by 69% with 5 simple dietary changes

3 easy pregnancy diet tweaks to give your baby a head start in life (that work even if you have morning sickness)

Melanie's Online Programs
Melanie McGrice in the kitchen

Get nutritious recipes

straight into your inbox!

Send your details now to receive Melanie’s recipes designed around a range of dietary needs including improved fertility, weight loss, general heath and wellbeing through improved nutrition. Receive the recipes specific to your needs.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

As seen in

ABC, The Advertiser, Womens Weekly
NW Magazine, Health & Fitness, Good Health
Huffington Post, Choice, Fox 101.9
SBS, Channel 7, Sydney Morning Herald
Herald Sun, Nine MSN, Channel 9
Channel 10, 3AW, Kidspot

Share this page

                  

Suite 1004, Level 10
1 Queens Road,
Melbourne Victoria 3004

                  

Loading...

Pin It on Pinterest