4 Best calcium supplement for pregnancy
Calcium is a mineral which is a very essential element for our life. Along with keeping the bones strong, calcium play several vital roles such as cell signaling, blood clotting etc. So, today the post will be covering the role of calcium and it’s supplements in pregnant women especially. As you move on, you will find the best calcium supplement for pregnancy and you will also be provided with a guideline to choose the best calcium supplement during pregnancy. Along with that, you will also get understand the importance of calcium supplement in pregnancy and why it is required to take calcium supplement for pregnant women.
Recommended: A review article on Iron Supplements Pregnancy.
Why calcium supplements for women is necessary during pregnancy?
Your baby in your womb requires calcium to develop strong bones and teeth while you are pregnant. Also, calcium helps your baby to get a well developed nervous system, blood clotting ability, smooth heart rhythm as well as a healthy heart. However, I will discuss the advantages of calcium supplements for women later on.
Moreover, calcium also minimizes the risk of developing preeclampsia and hypertension. However, it will be a matter of concern if you are not getting enough calcium, because your baby will take it from your bones and this may bring negative impacts on your health later on.
Some facts about calcium supplements
Your gut can not absorb all the calcium you take, you can absorb 30% of calcium from foods at best. Also, the rate of calcium absorption depends on the type of foods you consume. However, the rate of calcium absorption decreases if you consume too much calcium.
In infants and children, the rate of absorption is much higher and it is around 60% in them. On the other hand, the efficiency of absorption usually decreases with older age. However, there are some plants which contain phytic (beans, seeds, nuts, soy etc.) and oxalic acid (spinach, sweet potatoes, beans etc.) which interrupt the rate of absorption. On the other hand, vitamin D, which you can get from sunlight exposure or from food source, will increase the rate of calcium absorption by your body.
Moreover, some particular food may eliminate absorbed calcium from your body. These include sodium, protein, alcohol, caffeine, some vegetables and some fruits.
However, it is important to include the best calcium tablets for women during pregnancy. There are several common calcium supplements which are as follows:
- Calcium carbonate (40 % elemental calcium) (Widely available, inexpensive and suitable. The rate of absorption increases if you take with food)
- Calcium gluconate (9 % elemental calcium)
- Calcium citrate (21 % elemental calcium) (you can take with or without food)
- Calcium lactate (13 % elemental calcium)
Citrate and carbonate are the primary forms of calcium supplement. Also, there are also some supplements that contain magnesium or vitamin D. So, you need to check the list of ingredients choose the best suited for you.
How much calcium do you need?
Women ages 19 to 50: Women of this age range require 1,000 milligrams (mg)of calcium per day before, during, and after pregnancy
Women age 18 and younger: Women of this particular age range require 1,300 mg of calcium per day before, during, and after pregnancy
However, it is a matter of concern that most American women don’t get nearly enough of this important mineral. It is required to take around 3 cups of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods every day.
Also, it is important to observe your calcium intake even after the birth of your baby and you are finished with breastfeeding, because you need this mineral to prevent osteoporosis in later life.
Food sources of calcium
Basically, milk and other dairy products are the best source of calcium. Also, canned fish, juice, cereals fortified with calcium, rice beverages, bread and soy are also good sources of this mineral. Also check the list of iron rich foods for pregnancy.
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt: 415 mg
- 5 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese: 333 mg
- 3 ounces sardines (canned in oil with bone): 325 mg
- 4 ounces low-fat fruit yogurt: 156 to 192 mg
- 4 ounces nonfat milk: 149 mg
- 8 ounces soy milk fortified with calcium: 299 mg
- 4 ounces whole milk: 139 mg
- 3 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice: 131 mg
- Half cup firm, calcium-set tofu: 253 mg
- 6 ounces canned pink salmon, with bones and oil: 362 mg
- 1 cup cottage cheese (1 % milk fat): 138 mg
- One cup vanilla soft-serve frozen yogurt: 206 mg
- 1 cup chopped raw kale: 100 mg
- 1 cup boiled turnip greens: 198 mg
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream: 168 mg
- 1 cup shredded raw bok choy: 74 mg
- 2 slice white bread: 146 mg
Besides these, water is also a good source of calcium, where the mineral water contains the most of this mineral.
Should you take a calcium supplement?
You are getting at least 150 mg of calcium if you are taking a prenatal vitamin according to your doctor’s advice. Other than that, you can also try to take an individual or separate calcium supplement if you are not getting the right amount of calcium from your dietary source. However, you need to keep one thing in your mind that, your body can not absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at one time. Therefore, your doctor may suggest you to take calcium supplements in smaller doses for several times in a day.
Moreover, keep in mind that, you require vitamin D to absorb calcium, so make sure that you are getting sufficient amount of vitamin D in your pregnancy diet. However, I have already said that supplemental forms of calcium are commonly available in calcium carbonate and calcium citrate form.
It is more preferable and efficient way to take calcium carbonate (provides the most calcium, but extra stomach acid is required to facilitate dissolving it) with your meal to maximize the absorption.
On the other hand, calcium citrate does not require stomach acid for absorption, so it can be easily absorbed by your body. So, it can be taken in between you meal.
Guideline of choosing calcium supplement
Although you should take calcium tablets according to your doctor’s advice, but you need to check the level to find whether it contains sufficient calcium, will dissolve well or not, and is free of lead and other toxic metal compounds.
Besides these, keep in mind that, avoid taking or buying calcium supplements containing dolomite, bone meal, coral or oyster shell, because these may contain a little amount of lead, that can be harmful for your baby in your womb.
Advantages of calcium supplements for women during pregnancy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), calcium supplementation is necessary for the pregnant women (especially in the women with a higher risk of gestational hypertension) from the 20th week until the end of their pregnancy. However, your fetus requires 30 mg of calcium by the end of gestation, 50 mg a day during the second trimester and 250 mg a day during the third trimester (an average value).
However, the advantages of calcium tablets during pregnancy are as follows:
- Minimize the risk of preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a common phenomenon in pregnant women and is characterized by high blood pressure (HBP). Also, the situation may become worse if you do not take treatment for this condition, and it may result in eclampsia. Eclampsia can be dangerous to both you and your baby and it may cause seizures and convulsions. Moreover, preterm birth may also occur if you develop preeclampsia. So, if you get a sufficient supply of calcium, you are less likely to develop preeclampsia.
- Reduce PMS symptoms: PMS symptoms include dizziness, hypertension, mood swings etc. Low levels of calcium trigger the secretion of hormones that are responsible for mood swings such as depression. However, researches have shown that, the PMS symptoms can be reduced to 50% by taking around 120 mg of calcium per day.
- Weight control: Low levels of calcium also trigger the release of parathyroid hormone which may augment the production of it fats and its catabolism. So, it is required to take calcium supplements if necessary.
- Healthy bones: Although it is very common, but it is the most significant importance of calcium. If you do not get enough calcium, your bones will become weak. Pregnancy is a peak time to make your bone stronger, because your body can absorb more calcium during that time. However, getting enough calcium will help you to get strong teeth all the time, and it will also prevent you from osteoporosis in later life.
- Smooth functioning: Getting adequate amount of calcium will stimulate the nervous system to maintain the right blood pressure in arteries and it also helps the cardiac muscle to contract and relax properly.
- Prevent kidney stones: Low level of calcium can also cause kidney stones. So, it is important to get sufficient amount of calcium.
Probable side effects of calcium tablets
- Taking calcium supplements can make you feel bloated. Also, constipation is a common problem, because calcium carbonate decreases the frequency of bowel movement.
- I have already said that, if the calcium supplement contains a small amount of lead, it will create problem to the fetus.
- Although, a sufficient amount of calcium is required to prevent kidney stones, but high level of calcium may develop kidney stones. Also, it can interrupt the absorption of zinc and iron from food into the bloodstream.
Things to remember
Try to limit the calcium intake to the recommended dose.
Try to take calcium supplements with the foods that contain vitamin D, because vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium by your body.
Too much calcium during pregnancy
For a pregnant women 1,200 t0 1400 milligrams calcium a day in enough. By the other hand, too much calcium always a bad practise during pregnancy it interface with body’s ability to absorb minerals, increase risk of kidney stones & cause constipation as well.
Calcium during pregnancy 1st trimester
In the 1st trimester (0-12 weeks) you need calcium about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams in a day. It induced high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
Calcium during pregnancy 2nd trimester
Around 1200 mg
Calcium during pregnancy 3rd trimester
Around 1200 mg
Best calcium supplement for pregnancy
1. Citracal Slow Release 1200, 1200 mg Calcium Citrate, Bone Health Supplement for Adults
This Citracal Slow-Release 1200 is a supplement that contains a blend of both calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. Also, it contains a high level vitamin D3 that will help to improve your bone health as it will increase the density of your bones.
The formula ensures the slow and continuous release of small amounts of calcium as well as vitamin D to ensure efficient absorption in a single dose.
Moreover, it is sugar-free and it can help to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. However, the size of the tablets is a bit larger, but I think it will not create much problem to swallow. Also, it may cause nausea, intestinal bloating or stomach pain.
2. Viactiv Calcium +Vitamin D3, Calcium Dietary Supplement for Bone Health
Taking this Viactiv calcium plus vitamin D3 will meet up the recommended calcium intake you need daily. Also, it gives vitamin D and vitamin K (facilitates the formation of bone proteins) to provide more health support.
Also, this supplement is suitable for the women of all ages. In addition, the important thing is that, the combination of calcium plus vitamin D helps to get a better absorption, where you know that vitamin D helps to boost the absorption rate.
Also, it contains a few amount of sugar and the tablets are great in taste (very soft and easy to chew and swallow). However, if you are taking blood-thinning medications, avoid it by consulting with your doctor.
3. PeaPod Cal-Mag calcium supplement
This PeaPpod Cal-Mag gives a perfect supplementation of calcium and magnesium along with vitamin D3. This supplement contains calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide, which are the 2 commonly used forms of magnesium and calcium in dietary supplements.
Also, it contains calcium citrate and magnesium citrate. Since, the magnesium and calcium can be absorbed with more efficiency in an acidic environment, the citrate aids on that purpose as it is acidic in nature and it is much necessary if your stomach produce less acid.
However, although the sizes of the pills are slightly big, it will not be a problem to swallow it.
4. Rainbow Light, Food-Based Calcium, 180 Count (Pack of 2)
This supplement is a powerful and scientifically safe one. Also, the product is 100 % natural and the ingredients include horsetail, stinging nettle and the superfood spirulina. Moreover, this supplement helps to increase natural energy as well as it improves the digestion.
Also, the product is gentle to your stomach and it is friendly for the vegetarian as well. Besides these, the product does not contain any artificial colors and it is also safe for the people who have common food allergies.
However, the sizes of the pills are a bit large and this is the only downside of this product, so perhaps it will be a little bit struggling to swallow it.
I like to conclude saying that, calcium is an important and crucial for you and your upcoming baby. Besides pregnancy, calcium is important throughout your life. I hope the post will be beneficial for you as I have tried to make it informative. However, try to get the best product and use them as recommended or by consulting with your doctor.