During pregnancy additional calcium is needed for the growth and development of bones and teeth of the fetus. For adult women, the requirement is 600 mg/day and the requirement increases during pregnancy to 1200 mg/day. Although the infant’s bones are poorly calcified at the time of birth an appreciable amount of calcium is involved in fetal development. Please note that a full term fetal body is made up of 30 gms of calcium.
Increased intake of calcium by the mothers is highly essential not only for the calcification of fetal bones and teeth but also for the protection of calcium resources for the mother to meet the high demands during lactation.
Calcium and Pregnancy:
- The pregnant women routinely exhibit extensive adjustments in calcium metabolism largely as a result of the influence of hormonal factors. Two third of fetal calcium is transferred from the mother to the fetus after the 30th week of pregnancy at the rate of 300 mg per day.
- Radio isotopic studies reveal that nearly 80 percent calcium of the fetal skeleton and mother were obtained from mother’s diet and the rest was obtained from maternal reserves.
- Pregnant women usually absorb not less than 40 percent of calcium available in their diet. Calcium retention by pregnant women is 2 to 5 times the amount needed by the fetus in the 6th and 7th month of pregnancy indicating that maternal reserves are being built up at the stage.
- Use of Vit D and calcium reduce muscular cramps during pregnancy.
Sources of Calcium:
The best sources of calcium are milk, curd, buttermilk, paneer, cheese , green leafy vegetables, ragi, chana dal, rajma, soybeans and lotus seed (makhana).