Calcium is a nutrient needed in the body to build strong teeth and bones. Calcium also allows blood to clot normally, muscles and nerves function properly, and the heart to beat normally. Most of the calcium in your body is found inside your bones.
Your growing baby needs a considerable amount of calcium to develop. If you do not consume enough calcium to sustain the needs of your developing baby, your body will take calcium from your bones, decreasing your bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis initiates dramatic thinning of the bone, resulting in weak, brittle bones that can easily be broken.
Pregnancy is a critical time for women to consume more calcium. Even if no problems develop during pregnancy, an inadequate supply of calcium at this time can diminish bone strength and increase your risk for osteoporosis later in your life.
The following guidelines will help ensure that you are consuming enough calcium throughout your pregnancy.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose the sugar found in milk. It causes cramping, gas or diarrhea. Anytime dairy products are consumed, lactose intolerance occurs due to the body’s lack of lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose.
If you are lactose intolerant, you can still receive the calcium you need. Here are some suggestions:
If you have trouble consuming enough calcium-rich foods in your daily meal plan, talk to your doctor and dietitian about a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium you will need from a supplement depends on how much calcium you are consuming through food sources.
Calcium supplements and some antacids containing calcium might complement an already healthy diet. Many multiple vitamin supplements contain little or no calcium. Therefore, you will need an additional calcium supplement.
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