Should You Take Extra Calcium When Pregnant and Breastfeeding?

Should You Take Extra Calcium When Pregnant and Breastfeeding?

Calcium is extremely important for the body at all times but when you are pregnant and when you are breastfeeding, this need increases because your child needs a lot of calcium. Calcium is very important for the development of bones and teeth in your child.  Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Why do you need calcium?

You need extra calcium when you are pregnant and while breastfeeding because of one important reason. What happens during pregnancy is that your hormonal levels fluctuate. Alongside, your baby’s bones start developing. These two phenomena use all the calcium you have. That is why the levels of calcium in your blood come down. This is the reason why you should make sure you take in enough calcium right from the time you get pregnant to the time you finish breastfeeding.

When to Start

The sooner, the better. Ideally, you should start taking calcium rich foods as soon as you decide to get pregnant so that your bones are stronger and all the extra calcium is reserved. This can be used once you get pregnant and the baby starts developing.

How much Calcium during Pregnancy?

Experts say that you need a minimum of 1,200mg per day. When you take prenatal vitamins, you get around 200mg. If you take calcium carbonate supplements, you will get 600mg. per day. Thus, you can see that taking supplements is not enough. You HAVE to include calcium rich foods in your diet in order to meet the requirements of your body during pregnancy.

Milk

Many people think that taking milk is good enough. Of course milk is an amazing source of calcium but you shouldn’t forget the fact that it is fatty, too. Alongside, it takes a lot of time to get digested. Many people are also lactose intolerant and they can’t digest the lactose or the sugar present in milk. Thus, they will pass gas, they will bloat, and they may even suffer with diarrhea. This is the reason why you should think about foods containing sufficient amounts of calcium.

Chinese cabbage, fish, bread

There are numerous different foods that have calcium in them. In fact not many people even realize that there are so many foods that have lots of calcium! Chinese cabbage is an excellent example of calcium source. If you like fish, go with salmon. Even bread and cereal have calcium. Ensure that you buy those that are fortified with calcium, though.

Other foods

Tofu processed with calcium,
Turnip greens or collards,
Calcium fortified orange juice,
Sardines,
Yogurt,
Parmesan cheese,
Almonds,
Broccoli,
Kale,
And spinach.

Vitamin D

Only when you have a balanced meal that consists not just of calcium but also other vitamins and minerals will calcium be absorbed properly into the blood. Vitamin D, for example, is an important vitamin because it helps calcium absorption. You should, thus, ensure that you get enough vitamin D from foods as well as from the sun!

Calcium Requirements while Breastfeeding

When you breastfeed, the levels of the hormone estrogen go down. Because of this and because you are supplying milk to your child, calcium in your blood comes down. This is why you should continue eating calcium rich foods even during breastfeeding.

It is advisable that even after breastfeeding, you continue taking calcium rich foods!

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Maureen Stephens, BS, RN
Maureen Stephens, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.