and lactation experts recommend increasing your dairy
intake from 2-3 servings to 3-4 servings a day. This recommendation
reflects the important role of calcium during your baby's development
and growth. Calcium is a mineral used in the body for a multitude
of functions. It is used during pregnancy and lactation for fetal
and infant bone and teeth development, breastmilk production, and
for protection of maternal calcium stores. It is also necessary
for proper blood clotting and regulation of blood pressure, heartbeat,
water balance in cells, and muscle contractions.
beings cannot synthesize calcium, it must be obtained from the diet.
Calcium food sources include milk and milk products, canned salmon and
sardines (with bones), dark green leafy vegetables, calcium-precipitated
tofu, legumes (dried beans) and cheese. Adequate Vitamin
D is essential for calcium absorption and regulation. During
pregnancy, increased estrogen production also aids in calcium absorption
helping to prevent deficiency.
calcium during pregnancy and lactation, maternal stores of calcium
can suffer increasing the risk of bone diseases, including softening
and/or thinning of the bones. There is conflicting evidence that
poor calcium status can contribute to hypertension during pregnancy.
More studies on this interaction are needed.
Daily Allowance (RDA) is set at 1,200 milligrams (mg) during pregnancy
and lactation. Careful attention to dietary sources of calcium usually
achieve adequate intakes of this mineral. However, deficiency can
be a risk if you are a strict vegetarian requiring more prudent
dietary choices. Prenatal vitamins contain very little calcium and
are not a good source of this mineral during pregnancy. If taking
calcium as a supplement, do not take it at the same time as your
prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement since iron and calcium are best
absorbed when taken separately.