Should I take a calcium supplement while I'm pregnant?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

This is a good question for you to bring with you when you see your midwife or OB/gyn on your next visit. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin daily with some calcium in it, and have dairy and dark leafy green veggies or other sources of calcium in your diet on a regular basis the answer may by no. On the other hand if you hate green veggies, don’t eat foods that contain calcium and or don’t do dairy the answer is probably yes. Pregnant women need at least 1200 mg of calcium a day. It is best to get your calcium through dietary sources but when that is not possible you will need to supplement. Here are some examples of foods with calcium and the amount of calcium they contain: 1/2 cup cooked okra 88 mg, 1/2 cup cooked broccoli 89 mg, 1/2 cup turnip greens 9 mg, 3 oz. canned salmon 203 mg, 1 oz. American cheese 174 mg, 1 cup skimmed milk 302 mg, 1 cup plain low fat yogurt 415 mg, 1/2 cup frozen yogurt 89 mg, 3 oz. baked perch 117 mg.

Calcium supplementation is a common question I get. Ladies are concerned whether they need to add more calcium. Their prenatal vitamin will have a little calcium, and then the next best way to get calcium is through your diet. You probably want to get about a thousand milligrams of calcium a day while you're pregnant. Standard recommendations are two to three servings of dairy, some type of dairy product. Leafy green vegetables are very rich in calcium, and so are tofu products. So you can pay attention to your diet, to the prenatal vitamin, and if you don't think you are getting a thousand milligrams, you could supplement on top of that as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.