Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for humans. It is engaged in development and preservation of healthy and strong bones and especially beneficial for women, who enjoy benefits of calcium in all stages of their lives. Calcium plays an important role for women in menopause, since women’s body begins to lose bone mass after the age of 35. In pregnancy and lactation, calcium is also required in increased dosages, to lower the risk of pregnancy complications and meet the demands of both mother and her baby. When a woman is breastfeeding, she needs a lot more calcium than normally, since the body uses this nutrient and energy to produce breast milk.
Recommended daily dose of calcium in pregnancy
Pregnant women usually need more calcium than the rest of the population. The exact recommended daily dose of calcium depends on their age. For example, women under 18 years of age are advised to take about 1,300 mg of calcium daily. Older pregnant women will need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium. However, calcium can be toxic if people take it in larger quantities than what is recommended. Therefore, the upper intake level for calcium is established and it measures between 2,500 mg to 3,000 mg for pregnant women. Anything above this level can have adverse effects and significantly raise levels of calcium in the blood.
Benefits of calcium during the pregnancy
Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients and if the levels of this mineral aren't at their optimum blood level, the body will start using the deposits of calcium found in the bones. This makes the bones more weak and fragile, and increases one’s risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, women will need more calcium when they are pregnant, as their body needs additional amounts of this mineral to support the developing baby. If the intake is not sufficient, the body will start using deposits from bones and teeth, which may cause many health problems during pregnancy and later. Women who take recommended doses of calcium during their pregnancy are at significantly lower risk of preeclampsia, which is known as one of the leading causes of premature birth.
Where to get calcium?
Calcium is available in the form of dietary supplements, but it is also found in many foods. Best sources of calcium are milk and dairy products. However, certain women are lactose intolerant and they can benefit from other non-dairy calcium sources including greens, broccoli, sardines, and tofu.