Calcium is an important nutrient for women throughout life. However, during pregnancy it becomes especially important that you make sure you get enough. When you’re pregnant, your developing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth; to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet when you’re pregnant, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may impair your own health later on.
You need to be consuming about 1,000 mg. of calcium per day and many women don’t come close to getting this amount from diet alone.
Milk and other dairy products are top sources, as are canned fish and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal, juice, soy and rice beverages, and bread. Not all brands are fortified, so check the labels.
- 1 cup nonfat fruit yogurt: 345 mg
- 3 ounces sardines (drained solids with bone): 324 mg
- 8 ounces skim milk: 301 mg
- 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 300 mg
- 1/2 cup firm tofu made with calcium sulfate: 253 mg
- 1 ounce cheddar cheese: 204 mg
- 3 ounces canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid: 181 mg
- 1/2 cup cooked spinach: 136 mg
- 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese: 125 mg
- 1 ounce (about 23 whole) dry roasted almonds: 75 mg
If you’re taking a prenatal vitamin, it’s probably providing at least 150 to 200 mg of calcium. You could try a separate calcium supplement, but keep in mind that your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time. So you may need to take your supplemental calcium in smaller doses, several times a day. However, make sure to read up on your supplements. They are not all created equal.
Formulated by leading OB/GYN, Amos Grunebaum, PregnancyPlus Cal-Mag made by Fairhaven Health delivers an ideal supplemental amount of calcium and magnesium, along with Vitamin D3, for trying-to-conceive, pregnant, and nursing women. Calcium is well-known for its importance in maintaining and promoting bone health, but calcium is not able to do its job without the help of magnesium and vitamin D: magnesium helps transport calcium into the bones and vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium.
PregnancyPlus Cal-Mag provides 50% of the Daily Value of both calcium and magnesium, to help ensure that your total dietary intake of these key nutrients is sufficient to maintain bone health before and during pregnancy, and during lactation. In addition, PregnancyPlus Cal-Mag was carefully designed to ensure efficient absorption of both calcium and magnesium. While this product contains calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide (two commonly used forms of calcium and magnesium in dietary supplements), PregnancyPlus Cal-Mag also contains calcium citrate and magnesium citrate. Because calcium and magnesium are best absorbed in an acidic environment, the citrate (an acid) forms of these minerals can enhance absorption, especially in people with low stomach acid production.
I have previously shared that I am not a big fan of taking pills but knowing the importance of these nutrients, I am pretty diligent about taking my supplements at least during pregnancy. I have a hard time swallowing super large “horse pills” but these come in a manageable size and are capsules that go down easy. They are also very gentle on the stomach. Unfortunately I don’t always remember to take my pills at the same time I am eating. I have never had a problem when I take these pills of getting an upset stomach.