Pregnancy is a major event in a woman’s life. With so many changes in the body, change in dietary requirement also happens. Calcium is very important for normal body growth and body function. During pregnancy, the requirement of calcium increases especially during the third trimester because fetal calcium deposition is at its highest of about 350 mg per day.
The daily requirement of calcium
According to WHO to prevent preeclampsia, routine prenatal calcium supplementation is 1500 to 2000 mg per day (1).
The Daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium for pregnant and lactating women is 1200 mg per day.
Importance of calcium during pregnancy
Calcium is important during pregnancy to protects from preeclampsia (symptoms like high blood pressure, swelling of hands and feet), preterm delivery, and long-term morbidities like excessive bone loss (2).
11 Calcium-rich food
Milk and milk products are the best way to fortified the body with calcium. Milka and curd during pregnancy are very essential as it not only fulfills the calcium requirement but also supplies other vitamins and minerals along with proteins which are very essential for fetal growth and development.
2. Curd or yogurt
Curd and yogurt are rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Vitamins like A, B6, and B12 along with proteins. Therefore having during pregnancy helps in the good development of the baby and nourishes the mother. Having curd daily improves the calcium level of the body during pregnancy.
Spinach is also rich in calcium (99 mg per 100 g), also has folic acid very essential for fetal development, vitamins ( B complex and vitamin C), and minerals.
Almonds are also a good source of calcium, 75 mg per serving. Having 2 to 4 soaked almonds during pregnancy is good for the growth of the baby and the health of the mother.
5. Ladyfinger or okra
Okra is also a good source of calcium and can be eaten during pregnancy without any side effects. Along with calcium, okra is also rich in folate, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Cheese is also a dairy product and therefore is rich in calcium. However, some cheese like soft cheese is a little bit unsafe to eat during pregnancy due to listeria. Besides this hard cheese can be taken during pregnancy. Cheese is a good source of calcium and other minerals, proteins, and fat.
Fig dried or fresh is again a good source of calcium. Soaked or fresh 2 to 3 figs daily is good for a pregnant person. Fig is rich in calcium along with vitamins and minerals like potassium. Fig is rich in fiber therefore also good during constipation.
8. Finger millet (Ragi)
Having finger millet daily also helps in improving the calcium level as it contains around 344 mg calcium per 100 gram (3) which is the highest among all the cereals. Finger millet is also rich in protein, dietary fibers, and carbohydrates.
9. Green beans
Legumes like lentils, beans, peas, soy nuts are also rich in calcium and other minerals. Having different types of legumes (one cup daily) thus is essential for the calcium requirements. Legumes are also rich in folate thus good for baby growth. Precaution: do not take excess legumes like beans and chickpea during pregnancy as it causes stomach discomfort, bloating, and gas.
Like the tomato, cucumber, cabbage (white and red cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc) and lettuce also have a rich source of calcium (3).
Fruits like apple, oranges, and other citrus fruits are also a good source of calcium thus is essential during pregnancy.