Calcium deficiency during pregnancy
Did you know that as many as 60% of pregnant women are calcium deficient? Yes, in addition to that endless list of pregnancy ailments, you can also become calcium deficient. I wish I could give you the same statistics (or even better) for a pregnancy glow, but alas. The reason why you are more susceptible to a calcium deficiency is of course that the little one in your belly is all too happy to eat your calcium supply (already a case of everything mom wants, the little one wants too). So, make sure you get enough calcium every day: to prevent a calcium deficiency or, if it's too late, to make up for it. But let's start with the basics: what is calcium, why is calcium so important during pregnancy and how can you make sure you get enough calcium every day?
What is calcium?
Calcium, or lime, is an essential mineral that is especially important for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Thus, calcium also counters the decalcification of the bones in later life. In addition, calcium supports blood clotting and digestion, helps with the normal functioning of your nerves and muscles and contributes to the creation of tissues and cell growth. Exactly, I don't need to explain more why this is an essential mineral.
Calcium and vitamin D
Did you know that vitamin D can promote the absorption of calcium in your body? All the more reason not to forget this valuable friend! Since we spend most of the day indoors in the Netherlands and sunlight is important for the production of vitamin D, pregnant women need to take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms. Yes, again something you have to watch out for on a daily basis, but it's for the best!
Calcium during pregnancy
It won't come as a surprise to you, but the little miracle in your belly is only too happy to share in your calcium supply. The great thing is that your body takes the extra guest into account and therefore obtains double the amount of calcium from the food you eat while ensuring that less calcium ends up in your urine. According to the Health Council of the Netherlands, everyone between the ages of 25 and 50 should consume 950 mg of calcium daily. Since the body adapts to pregnancy as described above, you don't need much more calcium than normal during pregnancy: 1000 mg per day.
By now you know that calcium is extremely important for your bones and teeth, but the same obviously applies to your baby. Calcium contributes to the development and growth of your baby's bones. So, make sure you really get that 1000 mg of calcium a day!
What are the possible consequences of a calcium deficiency during pregnancy?
If your calcium intake is insufficient for a longer period during pregnancy, you may develop a calcium deficiency. Such a deficiency can increase the risk of:
- Premature birth;
- Weak bones in your baby;
- Low birth weight;
- High blood pressure and preeclampsia.
How can you make sure you get enough calcium on a daily basis?
Are you someone who has a substantial amount of dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt on the menu every day? Then you are well on your way! Try to pay extra attention to foods with a high calcium content during your pregnancy. In addition to dairy products, the following foods are also rich in calcium:
- Cooked kale;
- Green cabbage;
- Green beans;
- White and brown beans;
- Grain products such as bread.
Unfortunately it is rarely the case that eating food products rich in calcium is sufficient to meet the daily recommended calcium amount. In addition, dairy products cannot be eaten by everyone due to health reasons. Therefore, it may be a good idea to take calcium supplements during your pregnancy. Good news, because there are supplements, such as chewable tablets, that contain both calcium and vitamin D. Two birds with one stone, so you have less to think about. Just as well with the pregnancy dementia ;)
What are the possible consequences of too much calcium?
By now you're no doubt convinced that it's important to make sure you get enough calcium daily to avoid a calcium deficiency. You're probably already thinking about ways to adequately replenish your calcium stores. But. slow it down! Make sure you don't overdo it and end up with the opposite: an excess of calcium. Again, this can have several negative consequences:
- Weak muscles;
- Bone pain;
- Kidney stones and calcification of the kidneys;
- High blood pressure (yes, both with a calcium deficiency and an excess of calcium);
- Weight loss;
Exactly, once again "everything in moderation" applies. It's a wise saying for a reason! Do you doubt whether you are consuming too little or too much calcium per day? Then get advice from your midwife about your calcium intake.