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Calcium: for a healthier baby and you Calcium: for a healthier baby and you

Calcium: for a healthier baby and you

They’ll run around the house, jump down stairs, participate in sport or simply test their strength to prove their physical abilities. And although they’re quite a few years from that, babies and their bones need to be nourished and strengthened even before they’re born.

As a soon to be mummy you need calcium to cover your nutritional needs and the needs of your baby who will be born with 30g of calcium in his body, with the bulk being supplied during the last trimester.

Quite simply, this means that in addition to your body's needs during pregnancy, your baby alone will need 300 mg of calcium per day. A deficiency can lead to the weakening of bones, especially if you have had multiple pregnancies. This is why a diet with enough amounts of calcium is important to keep the bones healthy and the level of calcium normal in the blood. 

So how do you detect a calcium deficiency?

When calcium intake is low or biologically unavailable due to low absorption, your body will naturally increase the secretion of the parathyroid gland in order to maintain a normal calcium level. This consequently removes calcium from the bones and can lead to a variety of physical problems, such as:

  • Muscle stiffness: When the calcium level in the blood declines, irregular muscle movements in pregnant women can sometimes cause stiffness and cramps.
  • Osteoporosis: Usually characterized by easily fractured bones, this condition often occurs during menopause when women have less than the optimal intake of calcium in previous stages (especially during pregnancy).

What happens to your baby when you have a calcium deficiency during your pregnancy? 

As the sole source of nutrients for your developing child, any deficiency you may have will negatively affect your baby. Low calcium content can probably lead to several conditions including osteomalacia, rickets, weak bones, teething delay, walking delay, tetany…etc. 

How do I increase my intake of calcium?

You can cover your calcium needs by increasing your intake from milk and dairy products and always ask your doctor if you need extra amounts through calcium supplements.
Your calcium needs during pregnancy range between 1000-1300 mg per day. This can be achieved by having 3 to 4 glasses of milk or other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and labneh. Other sources of calcium include sardines, fish eaten with their bones, almonds, and green leafy vegetables like spinach. However, dairy products are your best choice because of their higher level of absorption by the body.

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