We are all aware of the importance of calcium for our health. It is essential for the maintenance of our teeth, to make our bones strong, to regulate blood pressure and to keep our hearts healthy. During pregnancy, calcium becomes far more important as it is crucial to our baby’s growth and development and also to make our mommy bones healthy. So let us understand this, if your calcium intake is not as per requirement, your baby will absorb her share of calcium from your bones. Consequently, you might have to deal with calcium deficiency and eventually osteoporosis.
Let us look at a few responsibilities this mineral, i.e. calcium, needs to shoulder in our lifetime:
Apart from the points mentioned above, calcium looks after the development of nerves and muscle relaxation (yes, even the heart muscles). Lack of calcium causes muscle cramps, which we have all experienced at some stage in our pregnancy. This in turn results in a spike in blood pressure, which might cause pre-eclampsia. Calcium also aids the formation of blood clots. Obviously, this is crucial during delivery, to prevent incessant blood loss.
So all would-be-mums, the importance of calcium becomes manifold when you are pregnant. But we also need to know that excess of calcium needs to be curtailed, too, as it decreases the absorption of iron and zinc. It leads to constipation and can increase the occurrence of kidney stones. Another key point- supplements for calcium are not always required during pregnancy. But, if your health care provider feels that you might develop gestational hypertension, she can suggest supplements. A few factors that can lead to this situation are obesity, diabetes, previous incident of pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure and so on.
But we do not need to worry. A balanced diet normally suffices for the required amount of calcium intake. Many types of food contain calcium. To name a few, tofu, sesame seeds, pure orange juice, yogurt, spinach, cabbage, cow’s milk, soy milk, broccoli and so forth. I incorporated sesame seeds in my diet and sprinkled them on my salad and kneaded them in the dough for my chapattis. You might want to try something similar. ☺
Moreover, the prenatal vitamins also contain a small proportion of calcium. Intake of vitamin D, too, helps our bodies to absorb calcium more effectively.
Please try and realise the long term effects of pregnancy on your bones, ladies and eat right. You also need to start early; focus on your food and health before you try to conceive. Happy and safe pregnancy! ☺
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