Calcium During Pregnancy

 Calcium during pregnancy

Whether or not you’re pregnant, calcium is important, but for soon-to-be mama’s, it’s essential. This mineral not only maintains strong bone health, but also helps your baby build strong bones and teeth during pregnancy. 

So how do you make sure you’re getting your daily calcium requirement during pregnancy — besides dairy products? And how important calcium is during pregnancy, especially if you’re dairy-free. So, let’s discuss how much you need, foods high in calcium, and when to consider taking a calcium supplement during pregnancy. 


Your body needs calcium while pregnant to maintain strong bones and carry out many important functions, especially when growing a baby. In addition, getting enough calcium reduces your risk of preeclampsia and hypertension. 

Calcium helps your growing baby build strong bones and teeth. In addition, it helps your baby grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles, as well as develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. 

Calcium supports mom’s musculoskeletal system to help prevent loss of bone density and is necessary for the body’s nervous and circulatory system. If you are calcium deficient or don’t consume enough calcium in your daily diet, your body will deplete its storage in bones and teeth to supply your growing baby. This places you at high risk for bone loss and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition causing brittle bones.


The ACOG recommended calcium intake during pregnancy is 1,000 mg for women ages 19 to age 50 and 1,300 mg for ages 14 to 18 years. That means you should generally aim for about four servings of calcium-rich foods. Many prenatal supplements don’t contain the daily recommended 1,000 mg, but dietary sources of calcium add up quickly. 

Your body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium. This combination is used to treat and prevent a calcium deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is very common among pregnant women. The best source of vitamin D is sun exposure. Small amounts of vitamin D can naturally be found in foods like egg yolks and fortified foods

Calcium is a fat soluble mineral, meaning excess is stored in the body’s fat and liver, which can lead to toxicity. High Calcium levels may put you at risk of kidney stones and prevent your body from absorbing iron and zinc. We do not recommend extra calcium during pregnancy. 


Consuming enough calcium throughout your pregnancy is important, especially during the second and third trimester when absorption of calcium increases significantly due to your baby growing quickly. However, in the third trimester, fetal needs peak to 350mg daily to maintain healthy bone development. (1-5)

We recommend continuing to pay attention to your calcium consumption, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It is suggested breastfeeding moms need a daily intake of 1300 mg of calcium  as they provide the baby's only supply of calcium.


There are generally no short-term symptoms of calcium deficiency. Over time, calcium deficiency can have detrimental effects on your body, including low bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Severe calcium deficiency can lead to symptoms, such as abnormal heart rhythm and tingling and numbness in the fingers. 

During pregnancy, calcium deficiency can lead to hypertension, preeclampsia, bone pain, and toothaches. 


Supplemental calcium comes in different forms. The most common calcium in prenatal vitamins is calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate supplies the most calcium but needs extra stomach acid to dissolve, best taken with a meal. Your body quickly absorbs calcium citrate because this type doesn’t require stomach acid for absorption. 


A good source of calcium during pregnancy is through a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Calcium is best absorbed in small doses of less than 500 mg of calcium at a time, making it essential to consume calcium foods during pregnancy. Most dairy-free milk substitutes contain fortified calcium, be sure to check the label.

  • Fish, such as Salmon and Canned Sardines. (No more than 12 ounces per week)
  • Dairy Products, such as Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese.
  • Leafy Greens, such as Kale and Chinese Cabbage.
  • Vegetables, such as Broccoli.
  • Legumes and seeds, such as black-eyed peas and chia seeds

Best prenatal vitamin with calcium


One of the best over-the-counter prenatal vitamins during pregnancy is Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA. It contains 200 mg of calcium carbonate.

This prenatal is formulated by an OBGYN & Registered Dietitian, containing all the nutrients needed to conceive and during pregnancy. Each small and easy-to-swallow pill is packed with 22 key natural nutrients to provide nutritional support for you and your growing baby. It contains Folate (methyl folate form), DHA, Iron, Calcium, Choline, Biotin, Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium.

The vegetarian formula is free of artificial colors or flavors, chemicals, preservatives, non-GMO, dairy, soy, or gluten-free. Each of their capsules contains B6, Organic Ginger, and Peppermint Powder, which can help alleviate morning sickness and nausea.

Adding to that, it is a women-owned company. Who better than a female would understand pregnancy!

Click here for more info on Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA!


  1. Cross NA, Hillman LS, Allen SH, Krause GF, Vieira NE. Calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism during pregnancy, lactation, and postweaning: a longitudinal study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(3):514–23. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. Ritchie LD, Fung EB, Halloran BP, Turnlund JR, Van Loan MD, Cann CE, King JC. A longitudinal study of calcium homeostasis during human pregnancy and lactation and after resumption of menses. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;67(4):693–701. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  3. Vargas Zapata CL, Donangelo CM, Woodhouse LR, Abrams SA, Spencer EM, King JC. Calcium homeostasis during pregnancy and lactation in Brazilian women with low calcium intakes: a longitudinal study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(2):417–22. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. Sparks JW. Human intrauterine growth and nutrient accretion. Semin Perinatol. 1984;8(2):74–93. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. Ettinger AS, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Mercado-García A, Kordas K, Wood RJ, Peterson KE, Hu H, Hernández-Avila M, Téllez-Rojo MM. Effect of calcium supplementation on bone resorption in pregnancy and the early postpartum: a randomized controlled trial