milk pouring into a mason jar - effects of calcium on pregnancy

What Does Calcium Do During Pregnancy?

In order to have a healthy pregnancy, you will need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to provide for yourself and your growing baby. One nutrient that is extremely important is calcium as it aids in the development of your baby in many different ways. The only way to receive these benefits is to ensure that you are getting enough of it through your diet or through a daily prenatal vitamin supplement. Continue reading to learn more about the effects of calcium on pregnancy.

What Is Calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that is found in many foods and is sometimes added to others making them fortified. Everyone needs to get calcium each day in order to stay healthy. However, it is especially important that pregnant and breastfeeding women get the recommended daily amount. The National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women get 1,000 mg (milligrams) each day.

The Role of Calcium in the Human Body

Calcium has many important roles and functions. It is mainly used to build up and maintain strong bones. However, it is also used to help with muscle mobility, and to help your nerves carry messages between the brain and body.  In addition to that, calcium is used to help release hormones and enzymes that have an effect on most functions in the body. All of this makes it very important to avoid a deficiency.

Effects Of Calcium On Pregnancy

Development

While you are pregnant, your baby will need to get enough calcium to grow and develop properly. Specifically, calcium is needed to help develop the bones and teeth of your baby. In addition to that, calcium is needed to help develop other body parts such as the heart, muscles, and nerves.

Bone Health

Your calcium intake will affect both you and your baby during and after pregnancy. If you do not get enough calcium to provide for your baby, your body will take the calcium from your bones. This can cause you to lose bone mass and can lead to serious problems later in life. However, one thing to note is that this is normal and most women will lose a little bone mass during pregnancy regardless of how much calcium they are getting. Issues arrive when you don’t get enough calcium and too much bone mass is lost.

Deficiency

Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies are common in pregnant women, due to the sharing of nutrients with their growing baby.  Some signs of calcium deficiency are:

  • Muscle problems
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Dental problems
  • Depression

As previously mentioned, calcium is needed so the nerves can communicate to the body telling it to move. Without it, the body cannot function properly which can cause muscle aches, cramps, and spasms. When it comes to dental problems, the explanation is even simpler. As with your body taking calcium from your bones, it will also take from your teeth which can cause tooth weakening and decay.

It is important to talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms so they can give you a proper diagnosis. They may also have a recommended plan-of-action to combat a deficiency.

Too Much Calcium

On the other end, it is possible to get too much calcium. This is very rare, especially in pregnant women, but is usually more common in those who already get enough calcium through their diet and still supplement. Some signs of a calcium overdose are:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lethargy & fatigue
  • High blood pressure

Vitamin D & Calcium

In addition to getting enough calcium into your diet, it is important to get vitamin D as well. Your body needs vitamin D in order to properly and efficiently absorb calcium.  You can get vitamin D by spending time in direct sunlight, with your skin uncovered by protective clothing or sunscreen.  It may also be necessary to add a vitamin D supplement to your regimen during pregnancy. Here at Prenatal Liquid Vitamin, we have our Prenatal vitamin that contains both calcium and vitamin D along with many other nutrients that are needed for a healthy pregnancy. Check out this article to learn about the Top 5 Vitamins for Pregnancy.

Getting Calcium Into Your Diet

At first, making sure you are getting enough calcium into your diet may seem like a difficult task. However, with some dietary changes and supplementation with a prenatal vitamin, many pregnant women do not have a problem avoiding deficiency.  Examples of foods that calcium is found in are:

  • Milk & other dairy products
  • Kale, broccoli, & Chinese cabbage
  • Grains
  • Fortified juices, & cereals
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Beans & Lentils
  • Sardines

In addition to those many foods, you can also get calcium from a liquid prenatal vitamin. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before starting one as they can determine what the best option for you is.

Conclusion

When it comes to the effects of calcium on pregnancy, there is a lot to know about what it can do for you and your baby. However, one thing to keep in mind is that you need to provide enough for your baby so your body is not relying on your bone mass. Be sure to check out one of our previous articles to learn about Teething in Babies.

Sources

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082
https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/vitamins-and-other-nutrients-during-pregnancy.aspx
https://americanpregnancy.org/naturally/where-to-get-calcium-naturally-during-pregnancy/