How to Take Calcium During Pregnancy?

Calcium is necessary for the formation of the bones of the fetus and to prevent structural problems in the mother. We'll tell you how to take calcium during pregnancy.
How to Take Calcium During Pregnancy?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Reviewed and approved by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 16 December, 2022

Calcium is one of the essential micronutrients that must be consumed during all stages of life. During pregnancy, the needs may be slightly increased, as a loss of the mineral will be experienced later on through breast milk. It’s, therefore, necessary to ensure the intake of calcium during pregnancy in order to avoid the development of osteoporosis in the future.

However, it’s not always necessary to resort to supplementation. In many cases, following a diet with the presence of dairy products and nuts is sufficient. However, in the event that an extra contribution is needed, we’ll show you how to apply it.

The importance of calcium in the body

As we’ve already mentioned, calcium is a determining mineral for the maintenance of bone health in the medium term. Ensuring its presence in your regular diet reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, according to a s tudy published in the journal Maturitas. Otherwise, it will produce a loss of bone density that will increase the incidence of fractures.

However, it should be noted that vitamin D levels must be optimal to achieve adequate absorption and fixation of calcium in the bones. This element is a determining factor for health in general, as it reduces the incidence of many chronic and complex diseases that negatively affect a person’s state of health. This is evidenced by research published in Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders.

A pregnant woman eating seeds and nuts.
Almonds are one of the nuts with the highest calcium content. In addition, these foods contain healthy fats, folic acid, and other nutrients.

Where can calcium be found?

Calcium is mainly found in the following liquids and foods:

  • Mineral water
  • Dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables

However, it’s important to bear in mind that fiber can reduce its absorption at an intestinal level, as it acts as an antinutrient. As long as you follow a varied diet, there should be no problem with calcium intake, although, during the third trimester of pregnancy, the bones of the fetus need at least 200-250 milligrams extra daily. Regular consumption of milk and nuts, as well as regular sun exposure, should be ensured to meet the requirements.

When to take calcium supplements?

In some situations, calcium supplements may be necessary to achieve an optimal intake of calcium during pregnancy. It’s best to consult a nutrition specialist before opting for this strategy, as an overdose of this nutrient isn’t advantageous either.

When resorting to these products is necessary, those that also contain vitamin D in their composition are usually chosen. This way, the effect will be greater. These supplements usually concentrate 100% of the daily requirement of both nutrients to safeguard bone health in the medium term.

A pregnant woman holding a fast-food cheeseburger.
Ultra-processed foods should be limited during pregnancy, as they contain additives that prevent the absorption of minerals.

What foods should be avoided so as not to develop a calcium deficit?

As we’ve mentioned, some substances present in the diet can act as anti-nutrients. Fiber tends to be the most common, although it shouldn’t be removed from your diet. It’s crucial to ensure a consumption of 25 grams per day for the digestive system to perform its functions efficiently.

At the same time, it’s important to limit the presence of ultra-processed and precooked foods in the diet. These contain a series of additives called polyphosphates, which partially prevent the absorption of certain minerals. Similarly, care should be taken with whole grains. Not consuming them together with dairy products will be enough to avoid blocking the absorption of calcium.

Consume sufficient amounts of calcium during pregnancy

Calcium during pregnancy is necessary to ensure the proper development of the fetus and to prevent alterations in the state of health of the mother in the medium and long term. Problems usually appear once the period of menopause is over. However, once they’re detected, there’s no turning back. You can only try to slow down the rate of progression.

Keep in mind that, in order to reduce the incidence of bone diseases, the practice of physical activity will be decisive. Strength exercise improves the firmness of the muscles, which protects the bones in case of shocks. In addition, it’s ideal to exercise on a daily basis and to ensure an adequate protein intake in order to ensure that your lean mass is sufficiently competent. Preventing episodes of sarcopenia will be key to ensuring a good state of health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cano, A., Chedraui, P., Goulis, D. G., Lopes, P., Mishra, G., Mueck, A., Senturk, L. M., Simoncini, T., Stevenson, J. C., Stute, P., Tuomikoski, P., Rees, M., & Lambrinoudaki, I. (2018). Calcium in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: EMAS clinical guide. Maturitas107, 7–12.
  • Holick M. F. (2017). The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders18(2), 153–165.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.