Do pregnant women need to increase their calcium intake?

Sufficient absorption of calcium during pregnancy is beneficial to the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. It also reduces the risk of gestational hypertension (i.e. hypertension during pregnancy) and premature delivery.

Do I need to take calcium supplements?

Under normal circumstances, pregnant women can obtain sufficient calcium through their diet and don’t need to take vitamins or other supplements. Too many supplements can be harmful to the body: for example, the absorption of iron may be decreased, thus increasing the risk of anemia. Excessive amounts of calcium in the body may also cause kidney stones, so pregnant women should better get the calcium they need from natural foods.

Which types of food contain higher amounts of calcium?

In general, pregnant women can obtain sufficient calcium from different types of foods. You can choose pasteurized milk, yogurt and cheese. There are also a lot of other non-dairy products which contain high levels of calcium as well, for example, tofu (hard tofu has more calcium than soft tofu), dried bean curd, calcium fortified soy milk, green leafy vegetables, fish, sesame, nuts, etc. For further details, please refer to the “Nutrition for Pregnant Women and Breastfeeding Mothers” pamphlet.

Sufficient absorption of nutrients is important for the health of fetuses and pregnant women. Pregnant women should have a balanced, healthy and diversified diet. They should consume a wide variety of foods, including grains, fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods, dairy products, and foods rich in calcium.

Moreover, adequate sun exposure can facilitate the absorption of calcium and appropriate physical activities can strengthen your bones as well.