Benefits of Calcium, Iron and Zinc During Pregnancy

Benefits of Calcium, Iron and Zinc During Pregnancy

Last update: 18 September, 2017

During pregnancy, nutrition plays a very important role. Calcium, iron and zinc are some of the main nutritional elements to include as part of our diet. A balanced diet has many benefits for pregnant women and encourages the baby to grow perfectly healthy.

Calcium, iron and zinc are essential pillars when you’re pregnant because they influence the correct development of the fetus. Often a gynecologist will recommend starting a diet from the first trimester. They will also often prescribe vitamin supplements, since during pregnancy it is necessary to incorporate a higher dose early on.

Benefits of Calcium, Iron and Zinc During Pregnancy

Each of these elements contributes to the nutrition of the mother and child in a special way during pregnancy. Their nutritional contribution is so important that it is recommended that they be taken individually.

The main benefits of calcium, iron and zinc have to do with the development of the fetus. However, for the mother they represent a way to improve their health and protect the organs that are involved in this.

Let’s find out how these nutritional elements are involved in the health and development of pregnancies.


Calcium is essential during pregnancy since it contributes to the formation of the baby’s bones. 1000 milligrams of calcium should be taken daily during pregnancy. To increase levels of calcium it is recommended to supplement this dose with two glasses of milk daily.

Although milk and other dairy products are the main sources of calcium, it can be be found in other foods, such as:

  • Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Sea Algae
  • Cabbage
  • Raw fruits and vegetables


Iron is really important because it is necessary for hemoglobin production. It is responsible for making oxygen circulate through all cells of the body of the pregnant woman and baby. During pregnancy approximately 27-30 daily milligrams of iron is recommended, which is prescribed starting from the second trimester.

Foods recommended for raising iron levels are:

  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Fruits like strawberries, melons, pineapples, papayas, guavas, mangoes, figs, and plums.


In most cases zinc is found stored in the muscle, especially in red and white blood cells. This mineral should be consumed during pregnancy in the quantity of approximately 11 daily milligrams.

Zinc plays an important role since it is a special component of the enzymes that improve brain activity. This element is also involved in synthesizing proteins. It should be taken during pregnancy because it is a part of the growth hormone.

Here’s a list of foods that contain zinc:
  • Red meats
  • Fish
  • Vegetables and legumes such as beets, lettuce, cabbages, carrots, spinach
  • Fruits such as peaches and oranges
  • Milk
  • Beans

Calcium, Iron and Zinc Are Joined By Folic Acid

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that forms part of the B complex. It is very important for the formation of the brain and vertebral column of the fetus.

This supplement is recommended because it helps lower the risk that the baby is born with spinal problems. It should be doubled during the first three months of pregnancy.

Every meal should be balanced and contain variety. For example, this can be achieved with the combination of 5 colors: red, purple, white, orange, and green in each meal. Each color means added nutritional benefits.

Foods that contain folic acid:

  • Oranges
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
  • Watercress
  • Chard
  • Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, oranges, mangoes, melons, and kiwi

In order for a pregnant woman to have all of these vitamins and minerals, she does not necessarily have to have an excessive diet. Still, a moderate diet is recommended, so that the baby can be born at an appropriate weight. Think primarily of the baby’s health, since they can suffer complications during and after the pregnancy.

It is very important to avoid excess fats, as much for the mother as for the baby, for the purpose of avoiding being overweight and high cholesterol. As mentioned above, the presence of vegetables, grains and fruits in a mother’s diet during pregnancy has many benefits in the development of the fetus.

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.

  • Martínez García, Rosa María. Jiménez Ortega,  Ana Isabel. Navia Lombán, Beatriz. Suplementos en gestación: últimas recomendaciones. Nutrición Hospitalaria, vol.33, supl. 4, Madrid, 2016.
  • Aranceta, J; Haya, J. Calcio y vitamina D en el embarazo y la lactancia. [En línea].
  • Díaz, J. Calcio y embarazo. Rev Med Hered. 2013; 24:237-241. [En línea].
  • Datos sobre el hierro. 2014. National Institute of Health (NIH).

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