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Calcium for pregnant women

Calcium for pregnant women


According to WHO recommendations, pregnant women should receive 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily. Calcium is involved in many processes occurring in the body – and above all, affects the formation of musculoskeletal tissue, teeth and nervous tissue of the fetus. Calcium during pregnancy should be enough for the baby to develop properly and for the pregnant mother feels good.

Why does a person need calcium?

Calcium is one of the most important minerals involved in metabolic processes in the human body. It performs many functions:

  • Forms the basis of bone tissue and tooth enamel.
  • Participates in the processes of blood coagulation.
  • Ensures correct muscle contractions.
  • Ensures the maintenance of adequate vascular tone.
  • It is a stabilizer of cell membranes, which has an anti-allergic effect.

Calcium is found in the human body in two places: bone tissue and the bloodstream. If calcium is leached from the bones, blood calcium levels rise. If excessive ossification is present, reduced blood calcium can be expected.

Calcium metabolism in the body is regulated by parathyroid hormone (parathyroid hormone), calcitonin (thyroid hormone) and vitamin D.

The norms of calcium content in the blood are strictly regulated. Any deviation from them leads to negative consequences for human health.


Hypocalcemia is called a decrease in total calcium below 1.87 mmol / l and ionized – below 1.07 mmol / l in the blood.

Why do pregnant women have an increased need for calcium?

There are two main reasons for this.

  • The growing fetus needs calcium for the growth of bones and teeth and the formation of the nervous system, heart and muscles. The main need for calcium falls in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Special studies were conducted, according the results found that as the gestational age increases. Decreases in maternal bone density.
  • Due to the increase in blood plasma volume in the expectant mother, the glomerular filtration rate increases, increasing calcium loss in the urine. This phenomenon is called physiological hypercalciuria.

Thus, it becomes clear that the need for calcium during pregnancy is higher, and its loss is greater. The development of hypocalcemia threatens future mothers.

Why do you need calcium during pregnancy?

Calcium is needed by both the child and the expectant mother.

For a child:

  • Calcium is the main building block of the skeleton. It is involved in the formation of bone and muscle tissue, as well as the enamel of the teeth of the fetus.
  • Calcium ensures the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain’s neurons and thus affects the development of the fetal nervous system.

For a pregnant woman, calcium:

  • Ensures the preservation of enamel and dentin of teeth.
  • Affects blood clotting and reduces the risk of developing pathology of the hemostasis system.
  • Supports the contraction of the heart muscle and affects the rhythm of the heart.
  • Participates in the processes of neuromuscular conduction.
  • Maintaining blood pressure- thereby preventing the risk of developing preeclampsia, one of the pregnancy complications.
  • Affects the state of the immune system and skin.

Why is hypocalcemia dangerous?

Chronic lack of calcium inevitably leads to decreased bone density and increased fragility. Because of this, the risk of fractures, which occur more often and grow together worse, and diseases leading to skeletal deformity increases.

Extraosseous manifestations of calcium deficiency are usually manifested by:

  • local cramps (calf muscles, fingers, etc.);
  • abdominal pain and stool disorders by the type of constipation;
  • headaches like migraines;
  • heart rhythm disturbances;
  • tendency to increase blood pressure;
  • Frequent allergic reactions.

What foods contain calcium?

What foods contain calcium?
What foods contain calcium?

The main source of calcium is dairy products. It can be milk, kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk, cottage cheese, cheese, or sour cream. For example, 100-200 mg of calcium can be contained in a slice of cheese, a glass of milk or kefir. If a woman cannot tolerate cow’s milk, you can drink almond, oat or soy milk – depending on preference. Good sources of calcium are fish, legumes, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), broccoli seaweed.

Proper nutrition for a pregnant woman ensures that the child receives calcium from the foods eaten and not from the woman’s body – and she will not suffer from a deficiency of this element. Nature has wisely created a system for providing the fetus during pregnancy – with all the substances necessary for the baby to enter the bloodstream from the mother’s bloodstream. Therefore, a woman must carefully monitor the amount of calcium in food.

The daily set of products for pregnant women should approximately include:

  • 500 ml of milk and dairy products.
  • 50 g of cottage cheese.
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream.
  • 25 g butter.
  • 15 g of cheese.
  • 170 g of meat.
  • 500 g of vegetables and herbs.
  • 300 g fresh fruit.

They should be combined with foods rich in vitamin D – eggs, fatty fish and liver for better absorption.

Coffee and carbonated drinks impair calcium absorption and contribute to its leaching from the body. It is necessary to limit their use, especially in late pregnancy, when the need for vitamins and minerals increases.

IMPORTANT: Foods rich in vitamin D help calcium absorption. Carbonated drinks, coffee, a high-protein diet, and foods rich in phytin (such as semolina) and oxalates (salts of oxalic acid) impair calcium absorption. Calcium absorption in the intestine is also greatly reduced in gastrointestinal tract pathologies.

However, a diet rich in calcium alone is not enough to provide this mineral to the ever-increasing needs of a pregnant woman’s body. All expectant mothers have been prescribed an additional intake of calcium as part of vitamin and mineral complexes.

Vitamin and mineral complexes for the expectant mother

The prescribed preparations should contain vitamins and minerals in dosages suitable for pregnant women. They are 25% higher than the dosage for non-pregnant women of childbearing age.

The doctor may recommend taking multivitamins or prescribing monocomponent agents (for example, only calcium or vitamin D) in the combinations necessary for a particular woman.

In any case, the doctor considers the interaction of vitamins and minerals with each other, so he can select the optimal combinations of substances. Combining calcium and iron in one dose is highly undesirable since calcium significantly impairs iron absorption.

That is why you should not choose vitamins and minerals for pregnant women on your own. It is better to contact a specialist who will take into account all the features of the expectant mother’s body and recommend the best remedy.

Do Pregnant Women Need Calcium Supplements?

A varied, balanced diet rich in dairy products will benefit the expectant mother and baby, but sometimes this is not enough. Increased hair loss, brittle nails, nocturnal leg cramps, deterioration of the skin, and weakness during the day speak of calcium deficiency. If these symptoms appear, you should consult a doctor and take a blood test for calcium content.

A woman and her child suffer from a calcium deficiency, so the doctor may prescribe drugs to replenish it. The dosage of calcium for pregnant women will depend on the period, dietary habits and lifestyle.

Calcium should be taken along with vitamin D – it improves its absorption. Pregnant women’s recommended vitamin D dosage is 800-2000 IU per day. How much exactly – the doctor observing the expectant mother will tell you. The dosage of calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy will depend on the high need for these elements, which only a doctor can assess.

Many expectant mothers are afraid to take calcium as supplements – what if there is too much of it? The medical literature shows no impaired fetal development or pregnancy cases due to increased calcium intake. On the contrary, many studies emphasize that a woman should consume additional amounts of calcium during pregnancy daily – in addition to her usual diet, which will include milk, cheese, fish and other foods rich in this element.