Your developing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth; to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If you don't get enough calcium in your diet when you're pregnant, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may impair your own health later on.
Women’s calcium requirements do not increase during pregnancy. Women over 18 years of age need 1,000 mg a day before, during, and after pregnancy. Women 18 years and under need 1,300 mg.
During pregnancy, women’s bodies absorb calcium more efficiently from their diet. However, most Australian women don't get nearly enough of this important mineral.
Aim for two to three servings of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods a day. See our list of suggestions below below (the numbers in brackets are the calcium per serving):
It is still important to monitor your calcium intake after your baby is born and the, later, when you have finished breastfeeding. You will need calcium to help strengthen bones and ward off bone loss (osteoporosis) later in life.
Milk and other dairy products are good sources of calcium, as are canned fish and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal, juice, soy and rice beverages, and bread (not all brands are fortified so check the labels).
If you are below the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for a day, you may benefit from seeing a Mater Health and Wellness accredited practising dietitian.