Should I take extra calcium during pregnancy? If so, how much should I be consuming?

Alexander Kofinas M.D.

The developing fetus will actively remove one gram of calcium per day for the duration of the pregnancy. This is necessary for the calcification of the babyÕs newly developed bones. If the pregnant woman does not ingest as much calcium per day as needed to replace the losses, then she will have to remove it from her bones in order to make up the difference in order to maintain a healthy amount in her blood level. Women that do not receive supplemental calcium during their pregnancy are destined to loose 5% of their bone mass with each pregnancy. This can be detrimental to your health especially during menopause. In fact, The Center for Disease Control recommends that all women should consume one gram of calcium daily starting at their teenage years continuing until menopause. After menopause, they should consume one and a half grams of calcium a day to reduce the risk of osteoporosis (fragile bones). It is best that pregnant women take a suitable supplement that provides one gram (1000 mg) of calcium per day and also consume foods rich in calcium (milk, cheese, legumes, leafy green vegetables, tofu, nuts and foods where bones are consumed such as sardines and salmon). Women with kidney stones should consult with their physician before they take any calcium supplements.