Dem Bones Dem Bones…Calcium In Pregnancy

Have you ever heard the stories of pregnant women loosing teeth, becoming and osteoporotic…along with morning sickness, skin changes, and the possibility of lower back and pelvic pain?

Pregnancy is just sounding like so much fun to you right now!

When you’re pregnant your growing baby requires a mix of vitamins and minerals, and calcium is the one of the big building blocks of our bodies.  The baby needs it not only for developing their skeleton, but also for the growing of a healthy heart, strong muscles and a stable nervous system, and this demand is especially high in the last 3months of your pregnancy. Of course, your baby’s biggest source of calcium is you! Adequate calcium consumption has also been shown to reduce your risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia.

The amount of calcium you need daily during pregnancy is around 1000mg, which is roughly 3 glasses of milk, although there are plenty of other sources of calcium such as:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt: 415 mg
  • 40g part-skim mozzarella cheese: 333 mg
  • 85g sardines (canned in oil with bone): 325 mg
  • 1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk: 299 mg
  • 85g canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid: 181 mg
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (1 percent milk fat): 138 mg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soft-serve frozen yogurt: 103 mg
  • 1 cup raw kale, chopped: 100 mg
  • 1/2 cup turnip greens, boiled: 99 mg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream: 84 mg
  • 1 cup raw bok choy, shredded: 74 mg
  • one slice white bread: 73 mg

If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet the next source for the baby will be your bones.  It is important to remember that we have large stores of calcium for the baby to draw from and recent studies have shown that pregnant women absorb calcium from food and supplements better than women who are not pregnant. Research also tells us that any bone mass lost in pregnancy and breastfeeding is typically restored in the months following the cessation of breastfeeding. Some studies also advocate that pregnancy may be good for overall bone health, with evidence suggesting that the more times a women has been pregnant, the greater her bone density and the lower her risk of fracture.

In some rare cases, women can develop osteoporosis as the result of her pregnancy, also known as transient osteoporosis due to pregnancy.  Osteoporosis is a loss of bone density and is serious enough to result in fragile bones and increased risk of fracture.  It is still uncertain as to why some women develop the disease during pregnancy but chronic disease, medications and lifestyle can all have an influence.  In many cases women who develop osteoporosis during pregnancy or breastfeeding will recover lost bone after childbirth or after they stop breastfeeding. You can read more about Osteoporosis In Pregnancy here.

If you are concerned calcium loss during pregnancy the best person to talk to is your obstetrician, GP or your health practitioner. Here at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD we can help answer your pregnancy health questions so feel free to book in today!

Read more of our Pregnancy blogs here!

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