10 Calcium Rich Foods You Should Eat During Pregnancy

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Your body needs extra nutrients and minerals during pregnancy. Thus, having calcium-rich foods during pregnancy might help give your body the energy it needs and keep the baby healthy. Calcium is an important constituent of the musculoskeletal system, and you need to keep your bones strong to bear the additional weight of your developing baby.

Including calcium in your diet helps strengthen the musculoskeletal system and nervous system. On the other hand, calcium deficiency might increase the risk of osteoporosis in the later part of your life. Examples of calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, broccoli, and kale. Read on to know more about the benefits of calcium during pregnancy.

1. Milk

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Milk is a great source of calcium that is popular across all age groups. A glass of milk in the morning is the best way to start your day and stay fit. Not only milk but other milk products like yogurt, cheese, etc. are also rich sources of calcium. So, if you are not allergic to dairy products then consume a good quantity of milk and dairy products regularly during your special nine months.

Research finds
A study suggests that calcium-rich diets in pregnancy may reduce the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and neonatal mortality (7).

2. Oranges

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When we talk about calcium rich foods for pregnancy, Oranges are the best option, if you are not a fan of dairy food products. Apart from this, oranges are also rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C that can boost your immunity and ensure you enjoy a healthy pregnancy. The tangy fruit can also help tantalize your taste buds during bouts of morning sickness!

3. Dates

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The exotic fruit is brimming with energy and nutrients. The sweet fruit is rich in Calcium and thus a must-have to safeguard the health of your bones and teeth. Dates are easily available at the grocery stores throughout the year. You can munch dates to pamper your sweet tooth in a healthy way!

4. Dried Figs

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You can consume this as a perfect mid-day snack. They are not only rich in calcium but also in fiber content. It will not only strengthen the bones of the little one in your womb but will also end your everyday toilet ordeal as it can cure constipation!

5. Bok Choy

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The green leafy vegetable is a member of the cabbage family. It is an integral part of Chinese cuisine. So, all those ladies who are lactose intolerant or who do not like the taste of cow’s milk can simply go ahead and add this crunchy veggie to their pregnancy diet.

6. Oatmeal

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Porridge oats provide wholesome nutrition as it contains calcium, riboflavin, carbohydrates, folic acid, potassium, etc. It is healthy breakfast food that will keep your tummy full and keep those hunger pangs at bay for a while.

7. Kale

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It is similar in appearance to wild cabbage and is a storehouse of calcium. You can consume it in the form of a salad or enjoy it in the form of chips or patties. So ladies, eat Kale to rule out any calcium deficiency related health complications during your pregnancy.

8. Almonds

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You can go nuts over almonds! These healthy nuts are replete with the goodness of calcium and Vitamin E. You can add these to your diet today and win compliments for your ‘pregnancy glow’ (1).

9. Broccoli

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Broccoli can provide your body with a good dose of calcium during pregnancy. You can add this cruciferous vegetable to your meals to make them more exotic.

10. Tofu

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Tofu is one of the super foods rich in calcium during pregnancy that is climbing the popularity charts among fitness enthusiasts. The fact that it is a rich source of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, proteins, and iron makes it a must-have while expecting. For all those having a discerning palate, you can try out the interesting recipes using this nutritious and versatile ingredient. Grilled tofu skewers, tofu and vegetables with peanut sauce are some ideas we can give you.

Point to consider
The body receives calcium in two ways: through calcium-rich foods and by absorbing calcium from bones. In the absence of calcium in our foods and bloodstream, the body absorbs it from the bones, making them weaker (6).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which type of calcium is best for pregnancy?

Although all forms of calcium are beneficial, calcium carbonate supplements may be a better option for pregnant women, containing the highest percentage of elemental calcium (2). Nevertheless, pregnant women must aim to meet their calcium needs through food and have supplements if prescribed by a doctor.

2. What causes low calcium in pregnancy?

A decrease in serum albumin and hemoglobin levels during pregnancy reduces micronutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Moreover, a decrease in vitamin D levels interferes with calcium absorption (3).

3. When should a pregnant woman start taking calcium?

Taking calcium supplements or adding additional sources of calcium to your diet towards the second half of your pregnancy may help with a healthy pregnancy by reducing the risks of complications (4).

4. How much calcium do I need daily when pregnant?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a pregnant woman needs 1000mg of calcium daily (5).

It is essential to consume calcium-rich foods during pregnancy to promote musculoskeletal and nervous system health. Milk and milk products such as yogurt, kefir, and cheese are rich sources of calcium. Oranges, bok choy, dates, broccoli, almonds, tofu, dried figs, kale, and oatmeal are some of the other calcium-rich foods you can incorporate into your pregnancy diet. Not consuming enough calcium can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis in later years. You may take calcium supplements as per doctor recommendations during pregnancy and breastfeeding even though calcium-rich foods are consumed.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Calcium, vitamin D, and your bones.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000490.htm
  2. Calcium supplements in pregnant women.
    http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/85120/9789241505376_eng.pdf
  3. Abdulrahman Almaghamsi et al. (2018); Hypocalcemia in Pregnancy: A Clinical Review Update.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206424/
  4. Extra calcium in tablets before pregnancy, or in early pregnancy, for preventing high blood pressure complications of pregnancy.
    https://www.cochrane.org/CD011192/PREG_extra-calcium-tablets-pregnancy-or-early-pregnancy-preventing-high-blood-pressure-complications#:~:text=Calcium%20supplementation%20in%20the%20second%20half%20of%20pregnancy%20reduces%20the
  5. Calcium in pregnancy.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/calcium-in-pregnancy/
  6. Calcium.
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium/
  7. Dominic Mosha, et al; (2017); Dietary iron and calcium intakes during pregnancy are associated with lower risk of prematurity, stillbirth and neonatal mortality among women in Tanzania.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5387760/
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