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Calcium During Pregnancy
A nutritious diet is important at all times but it becomes all the more important when the woman is pregnant. A baby that has been well-nourished at the natal stage will be stronger and there will be less health problems later in life.
Every pregnant woman should keep the fact in mind that the fetus is totally dependent on their diet. Thus, it is very vital that you indulge in healthy eating. There are many nutrients which you require during pregnancy. Here, let us understand the role and importance of calcium.
Role of Calcium During Pregnancy
As we all know, calcium is very essential for the development of bones but it has other functions too. Calcium is a macro mineral and is required by the body in large quantities. Here check out how calcium helps in your pregnancy:
Besides, normal functioning of the nervous system is also based on calcium as it has an influence on transmission of nerve impulses.
Impact of Calcium on Mother
If for some reason your intake of calcium is low and not sufficient, the fetus will not suffer. Calcium reserves from the mother’s body will be used. In short, this means that the mother’s bones will be depleted of calcium leading to weak bones. In other words a mother’s bone density will be reduced and she will become prone to osteoporosis later in life. Proper levels of calcium even help the expectant mother in reducing muscular cramps
Absorption of calcium from the mother’s diet increases in the later two trimesters of pregnancy. In addition to this calcium reserves are built up in the mother’s body in preparation for lactation later.
Sources of Calcium
A pregnant woman needs about 1000mg calcium daily to fulfill her calcium needs. In simpler terms this is equivalent to four servings of dairy products.
Role of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Unfortunately there are very limited food sources of vitamin D. You can get a little amount from salmon, mackerel and egg yolk, but there are hardly any vegetarian sources of vitamin D. However, your requirement for vitamin D can be fulfilled by just a 20 minute exposure to sunlight. Our skin is able to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight.
Considering the strong impact that calcium has on an expectant mother, obstetricians often prescribe calcium supplements. It is better to follow your doctor’s advice about when to start and till when to continue. Yet some things should be kept in mind.
Make sure you take sufficient amount of calcium during pregnancy so that both you and the baby can get the health benefits of it.