Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy – Part 9 – Calcium!?

Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother's Nutrition during Pregnancy - Part 9 - Calcium!?


My favorite OB textbook says that vitamin D requirements double in pregnancy, and that calcium and phosphorous requirements each go up by 50 percent. The latest scientific evidence, however, suggests that requirements for vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium, don’t go up at all during pregnancy.

It is true that a woman delivers about 25,000 to 30,000 mg of calcium to her baby over the course of pregnancy to build her baby’s bones. If she needs 1,000 mg per day for her own needs, it would seem that she would need more during pregnancy to provide for the extra needs of her baby. But the current recommended amount for pregnant adult women is still 1,000 mg per day. Research has shown that a woman’s body recognizes the need for the extra calcium and gears up the intestines to absorb a higher proportion of the calcium in the diet. More is absorbed, and more is stored. If women are getting just the routine amount of recommended calcium, pregnancy is a time of calcium feast, not famine.

The problem is that most women do not tend to get the amount they need from what they eat and drink. A glass of organic skim milk has about 300 mg; a cup of organic yogurt about 400 mg, a cup of cooked organic broccoli about 180 mg. Perhaps this is why dairy products appear on so many lists of strongly-desired foods during pregnancy. Calcium-fortified juices and other foods are good alternatives, if you need some extra calcium. Prenatal vitamins vary in their calcium content. Most have at least 200 mg – but that still may leave a gaping calcium gap.

Read More from: Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy

Eating for Two: Part 1 – Pregnancy A Special Time
Eating for Two: Part 2 – Folate and Iron
Eating for Two: Part 3 – How Much Folate Do You Need?
Eating for Two: Part 4 – The Gift of Iron
Eating for Two: Part 5 – Vitamin B6 and Iodine
Eating for Two Part 6 – Zinc
Eating for Two: Part 7 – Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pantothenic Acid, and Omega-3
Eating for Two: Part 8 – Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!
Eating for Two: Part 9 – Calcium!?
Eating for Two: Part 10 – Calories
Eating for Two: Part 11 – Liver
Eating for Two: Part 12 – Chocolate
Eating for Two: Part 13 – Eating for the Future

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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