Calcium is an essential mineral needed for strong bones, teeth, nerves and muscles. The growing baby relies on the mothers’ calcium supply to build its own calcium rich tissues. Because the baby is drawing calcium from the mother’s supply, it is important that she gets enough during this time.
How much calcium do I need?
Previously, pregnant women were advised to take in higher levels of calcium, however it is now known that pregnant women have enhanced calcium absorption during pregnancy (meaning they absorb more from the foods they eat), so no extra is needed.
Calcium requirements stay the same from pre-conception through to lactation at 1000mg/day.
Requirements are increased for lactation only (to 1300mg) if the mother is under 18 years of age as she is still growing herself, and therefore requires the additional calcium to meet both hers and babies’ need. Supplementation is not routinely recommended unless the person has been identified at risk of suboptimal intake (for example vegans and some vegetarians).
For women at risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) whom have low calcium intakes, calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce pre-eclampsia risk (NHMRC, 2019).
- Milk and milk-based products (cheese, yoghurt)
- Calcium-fortified products such as soy milk, or other fortified milks (almond, rice milk) are good sources of calcium Tofu
- Bony fish
- Small amounts of calcium is also found naturally in foods such as legumes, nuts, sesame seeds and dark green vegetables (e.g. broccoli).
|Milk, cow’s milk, 250ml||300 mg|
|Calcium fortified soy milk, 250ml||290 mg|
|Cheddar cheese, 30g slice||230 mg|
|Yogurt, 200g tub||350 mg|
|Ricotta cheese, 100g
|Tofu firm, 100g||320 mg|
|Salmon canned, 100g||191 mg|
|Anchovies canned, 100g||167 mg|
|Almonds, 30g||80 mg|
|Brazil nut, 30g||45 mg|
|Tahini (sesame seed paste), 20g||66 mg|
|Baked beans, 100g||39 mg|
|Chickpeas, 100g||45 mg|
|Fig dried, 30g||60 mg|
|Broccoli, 100g||32 mg|