Why Calcium Counts for Mom
Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change for you and your developing baby. It’s exciting to be pregnant, and a bit daunting. As an expectant mom, you’re the sole source of nutrition for your child, and you want to do the best for your baby - ensuring he or she gets the calcium necessary for growth.
How Much Do I Need?
Recommendations for calcium and vitamin D don’t go up in pregnancy. That may come as a surprise, considering calcium is the basis of baby’s bones and teeth, and vitamin D improves your body’s absorption of calcium and regulates calcium’s movement into (and out of) bones to maintain calcium balance.
Many women do not consume enough calcium and vitamin D before conceiving and may not get enough when expecting. Aim for the suggested 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium, the amount found in about 3 cups of milk, which is one of the only commonly-consumed foods with added vitamin D. Pregnant women are encouraged to consume 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily, about the amount found in 6 cups of milk.
Don’t worry if you can’t drink that much milk. Few people do. Prenatal dietary supplements often provide 400 IU of vitamin D, and food can supply the rest. Most prenatal supplements supply little calcium, so you may need a separate supplement to satisfy suggested pregnancy needs.
A look at some of the most important pregnancy nutrients.