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Things You Didn’t Know About Calcium and Pregnancy

by Jane Wangersky | June 6th, 2013 | Pregnancy

supplementsIf  you think I’m about to lecture you on making sure you get extra calcium while you’re pregnant — relax. The strange fact is, the RDA  of calcium for a pregnant woman is just the same as for a non-pregnant woman: 1000 milligrams a day if you’re over 18, 1300 milligrams if you’re younger. Of course, lots of women don’t get enough calcium at most times, and of course it’s even more important during pregnancy. Your baby needs calcium to grow his bones, and what he doesn’t get from your food and prenatal vitamins will be drawn from  your own bones. Here are some less obvious, equally important facts from the National Institute of Health:

  • It’s rare for a woman to have bone problems during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women are better at absorbing calcium.
  • Pregnancy can be good for your bones — you’re producing more estrogen (female hormone), which protects them.
  • If you do lose bone mass during pregnancy, it can usually be reversed after the baby’s born, even if it’s gotten to the point of osteoporosis  (losing enough mass to make the bones fragile).
  • Calcium requirements don’t change while you’re breastfeeding, either.
  • If  you need to regain bone mass, it may not start till the baby is weaned.
  • Calcium doesn’ t come just from dairy products and supplements (or from processed foods prominently labeled NOW WITH CALCIUM!). You can get it in unexpected places like broccoli (and other dark green leafy vegetables), canned sardines and corn tortillas. For more, see the NIH site.
  • The NIH also reports: “Some evidence suggests that the more times a woman has been pregnant (for at least 28 weeks), the greater her bone density and the lower her risk of fracture.”

So, most of the facts about pregnant women, bones, and calcium are actually good news. I hope it’s been that way for you.

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