Calcium intake is extremely essential during the last three months of pregnancy, because this is the major period for the growth of your baby’s bones.
Calcium helps to accomplish nerve impulses and also helps in proper functioning of the heart and various other muscles.
If you don’t get enough calcium levels from your diet or other supplements, your body’s calcium stores will be depleted.
Your baby will satisfy his/her calcium needs from your bones, thus placing you at a high risk of osteoporosis.
Sources of calcium
The suggested amount of calcium during pregnancy for every woman is 1200 milligrams per day. You can get this by consuming four cups of milk every day.
You can also get sufficient calcium levels from other dairy products like hard cheese and yogurt and will get moderate amounts from ice creams and soft cheese.
If you don’t like dairy products, you should get enough calcium from non-dairy products. These foods include: okra, tofu, spinach, collards, broccoli, lentils, sardines, sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
Also, various foods in the market now are available with sufficient calcium levels. These foods include: waffles, bread, orange juice, cereals and cereal bars.
Before purchasing the products, check the food labels for calcium levels of 30% RDA, i.e. the same amount that you get by consuming a cup of milk.
If you observe that you are not getting enough calcium levels from the diet you are consuming, take calcium supplements daily to get enough calcium. Get supplements that include calcium carbonate.
These supplements contain high percentages of elemental calcium, which is the type that your body readily uses.
Along with sufficient calcium intake, ensure that you get enough vitamin D levels because it helps in calcium absorption.
Being in the sunlight for 10-20 minutes a day gives you sufficient vitamin D levels to provide adequate calcium absorption.
You will also get sufficient vitamin D levels by consuming food sources like egg yolks and dark meat fish like herring and salmon.
In order to get stronger bones, you can also practice weight-bearing exercises. These workouts can be as easy as walking exercise. First consult your health care provider and find out which exercise options are safe to practice during pregnancy.
Threats from insufficient levels of calcium during pregnancy
- The first risk is: you are more likely to get osteoporosis in your upcoming life.
- Some studies showed that women who get insufficient calcium levels are more likely to have complications like pre eclampsia.
- There is a high risk of death for you and your baby if you consume inadequate calcium levels and also there is high risk for pre-term delivery.
- Women with insufficient levels of calcium during pregnancy run the risk of their bones breaking down and they release potentially harmful substances into the blood such as high levels of lead. This is an indication that your bones are about to break. Lead levels are higher during the second half of pregnancy and are very dangerous for you and your developing unborn baby.
Be very careful about the diet you are consuming. Ensure that you get adequate calcium levels.