Why do you need calcium during your pregnancy?
Calcium is a must-have nutrient during pregnancy to build and maintain strong bones and teeth for you and your baby. Calcium also allows blood to clot normally, helps muscles and nerves to function and the heart to beat.
Your body also understands the importance of calcium to your growing baby. In fact, if your little one isn’t able to get the amount of calcium he/she needs, your body will take calcium from your bones to pass it to your baby. Having enough calcium in your pregnancy diet thus also matters to your own health; it decreases your risk of osteoporosis later in life.
How much calcium do you and your baby need?
Calcium should be part of your daily meal plans before and during your pregnancy, particularly from your seventh month of pregnancy onwards. It is recommended to consume 1200mg of calcium each day.
Where can you find calcium?
Reaching the recommended levels of calcium is easy when there is a multitude of calcium-rich foods. Don’t worry about calcium deficiency if you are lactose intolerant. You can take lactose-free calcium supplements instead but always talk to your doctor first. In the meantime, eat these foods:
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Soy products, found in soya paneer, soya milk and soybeans
- Vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and French beans
- Nuts, such as almonds, peanut and sunflower seeds
- Eggs and fish such as chura, pala etc
- Krishnaswamy K, Sesikeran B. Dietary Guidelines for Indians –A Manual. National Institute of Nutrition;2011.