Calcium Requirements for Pregnant Women

Young couple in loveMaintaining an adequate intake of calcium is important to prevent or reduce bone loss. Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) suggests that an average diet should include 3 to 5 serves of calcium rich food every day, which translates to a total daily calcium intake of between 1,000 and 1,300 mg per day. The highest daily requirements are recommended for teenagers, women over 50, and men over 70.

Pregnant women need to fulfill their own body’s calcium requirements, as well as those of their developing baby, in order to build strong teeth and bones; develop blood-clotting abilities and a normal heart rhythm; and grow a healthy heart, muscles, and nerves. If your calcium intake during pregnancy is insufficient, your baby will obtain it from your bones, which may affect your health later on.

Recommended Daily Intake of Calcium for Women

To ensure that women are consuming the appropriate amount of calcium throughout their pregnancy, the Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium is set at 1,200 mg (milligrams) per day for both pregnant and lactating women over age 24. Calcium is also important after pregnancy as it helps to prevent bone loss later on in life. The recommended daily calcium intake for women under age 24 is 1,200 – 1,500 mg.

Calcium Rich Foods Pregnancy

The best way to ensure that you are getting the recommended amount of calcium in your daily diet is by consuming a minimum of 4 servings of calcium—rich foods and dairy products a day.

calcium requirements pregnancyDairy products are the top sources of calcium:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • pudding
  • cream soups

Other excellent sources of calcium:

  • canned fish
  • beans
  • dried peas
  • green vegetables (i.e. spinach, broccoli, greens)

You can also meet your daily requirements by consuming calcium-fortified foods, such as rice beverages, bread, cereal, soy, and juice, though you should first check the label to ensure that they contain calcium. Non-dairy sources are particularly ideal for lactose intolerant women.

Watch Your Intake

It is important to note that excessive consumption of calcium, over 2,500 mg per day, can lead to constipation, interfere with your body’s absorption of zinc and iron from food, and increase your risk of kidney stones. So, pregnant women should take into consideration the amount of calcium in their prenatal vitamin when tallying their daily calcium intake.