Key Takeaways on the Role of Calcium in Pregnancy:
- Daily recommended serving for pregnant women is 1,000 mg of calcium per day
- If you do not consume enough calcium in your diet while pregnant your body will take what your baby needs
- The third trimester is when the baby’s bone health peaks and 250 mg to 350 mg of calcium is transferred daily from mother to baby
Calcium Supports Full-Term Labor and Delivery
During pregnancy, it’s crucial that you maintain adequate levels of calcium to support a remarkable series of physiologic changes. While pregnant, supplementing with calcium isn’t just to make sure that the baby is getting proper nutrients for their development, it’s also to make sure that the mother is getting the calcium needed to support all her biological changes. When you’re eating for two, you’re eating to support your health and your baby’s development. To do both, you need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from your diet – including calcium in pregnancy to build your baby’s teeth and bones, as well as develop their circulatory, muscular, and nervous system - the same systems you need calcium to support.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an intake of 1.5-2.0 grams of elemental calcium per day from 20 weeks’ gestation until the end of pregnancy. Elemental calcium is calcium that is actually used by the body. The WHO also recommends dividing the totally daily serving amount into three equal servings taken with meals throughout the day to ensure maximum absorption. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy supports healthy gestational changes including maintaining healthy blood pressure and supporting healthy, smooth muscle contractions.
How Much Calcium Does a Pregnant Woman Need?
Research shows that taking greater than 1000mg daily is a safe option to maintain healthy blood pressure during pregnancy. In addition, calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of preterm delivery in women with low calcium intakes and reduce uterine smooth muscle contractility, supporting full-term labor and delivery.
If you’re ready to start a family, incorporating calcium into your daily eating habits should be a nutritional foundation. Like many adults, consuming dairy products may be a challenge. Not to worry, there is a great variety of plant-based food choices that provide higher amounts of calcium. For example, enjoy a salad with a base of green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and/or broccoli. Add some white beans, dried figs, sliced oranges or sliced kiwi, and top with a sprinkle of cheese for a delicious, calcium-packed lunch. You can also get calcium in liquid forms through fortified drinks such as orange juice, soy milk, or almond milk, or add some blackberries and enjoy a calcium rich smoothie.
Pregnancy Calcium Supplement
The most consistent way to ensure that you are receiving the daily recommended amount of calcium in addition to your meal plan is to supplement. Viactiv calcium chews are often considered a pregnancy calcium supplement because they deliver 650mg of calcium and 500IU of vitamin D3 in each serving. That’s the same amount of calcium in 2 glasses of milk in just one calcium chew, on top of all the benefits of vitamin D3. In addition to Viactiv calcium chews, did you know Viactiv has an omega-3 supplement as well? Omega-3s are another great supplement for pregnancy.
WHO Recommendation: Calcium Supplementation During Pregnancy for The Prevention of Pre-Eclampsia and Its Complications | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
37 Calcium-Rich Foods Beyond a Glass of Milk | Prevention
Calcium Supplementation During Pregnancy for Preventing Hypertensive Disorders and Related Problems | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Calcium Supplementation During Pregnancy May Reduce Preterm Delivery in High-Risk Populations | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
How Much Calcium Do You Need During Pregnancy | WhatToExpect.com
Last Updated On: February 1, 2022
First Published On: December 3, 2022