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11 Healthy Calcium-Rich Foods For Pregnant Women

Calcium is a vital mineral required for the healthy development of the foetus. It helps build strong bones and teeth of the baby and is also required to foster the healthy heart, nerves, and muscles of both the mother and baby.

Deficiency of calcium during pregnancy can make the foetus take calcium from the mother's body, resulting in decreased bone mass and risk of osteoporosis in the mother. Also, low calcium intake can stimulate the production of parathyroid hormone (PTH) that may lead to the development of preeclampsia, a severe pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and damage to liver and kidneys. [1]

Moving towards calcium-rich foods, dairy products are not the only sources of calcium as many fruits like oranges, mulberries and kiwi, dried fruits like prunes and anjeer and veggies like broccoli and spinach are also a good calcium source to be included in pregnancy diet. Take a look at a few calcium-rich foods for pregnant women.

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1. Dried figs or anjeer

Dried figs or anjeer are the most recommended dried fruit for pregnant women. It helps deal with morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. Dried figs also contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, which are vital during pregnancy. [1]

How much calcium: 162 mg (100 g)

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2. Dates

A study has shown that dates consumption during the late pregnancy helps decrease the length of labour and need of oxytocin during childbirth. It is rich in calcium along with other nutrients like iron, magnesium and potassium. [2]

How much calcium: 39 mg (100 g)

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3. Kumquat

This orange-like fruit is rich in calcium and can be eaten during pregnancy. The flavonoids and biological activities of kumquat help in preventing pregnancy complications. [3]

How much calcium: 62 mg (100 g)

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4. Dried apricots

These calcium-rich dried fruits are considered as a superfood for pregnant women. Dried apricots are rich in iron, folic acid and potassium which makes it a healthy snack during pregnancy.

How much calcium: 55 mg (100 g)

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5. Oranges

Oranges are packed with calcium, vitamins C, fibre and proteins. These nutrients help in the proper development of the baby's bones and also helps with digestion and morning sickness of the mother. Orange juice is also considered healthy during pregnancy.

How much calcium: 40 mg (100 g)

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6. Prunes

Prunes are dried plums which are loaded with calcium. It has a beneficial effect on a child's bone health. Prunes also help prevent constipation during pregnancy and decrease the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery.

How much calcium: 43 mg (100 g)

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7. Mulberries

This is another calcium-rich fruit. Mulberries have an anti-diabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic activity that helps prevent the risk of gestational diabetes and atherosclerosis (due to high lipid levels). Consult a gynaecologist before introducing this fruit in the diet as it may have some side effects. [4]

How much calcium: 39 mg (100 g)

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8. Kiwi

Kiwi is a calcium-rich fruit with no cholesterol and low sugar and fat. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, which is why it is considered best to be consumed during pregnancy. Kiwi helps with preventing gastrointestinal problems, diabetes and heart-related issues. [5]

How much calcium: 35 mg (100 g)

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9. Cauliflowers

Cauliflowers are low in calories and abundant in antioxidants and nutrients like calcium and proteins. They have a hypotensive property which helps lower blood pressure, which is usually high during the third trimester.

How much calcium: 22 mg (100 g)

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10. Whole milk paneer

No doubt, milk and milk products such as paneer are abundant in calcium along with other nutrients like protein, vitamin B12, potassium and riboflavin. These nutrients in milk help in fetal growth and also prevent the risk of milk allergy in children. [6]

How much calcium: 730 mg (100 g)

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11. Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds or til is a superfood rich in nutrients like calcium along with iron, amino acid, vitamin B, C, E, proteins and antioxidants. It can be included in the pregnancy diet due to its amazing benefits, on condition that it shouldn't be consumed during the first trimester as it may cause miscarriage.

How much calcium: 60 mg (100 g)

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How Much Calcium Is Needed During Pregnancy?

World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommend a dietary intake of 1200 mg/day of calcium. Deficiency or below the recommended consumption can affect both the mother and the foetus and cause problems like osteopenia, muscle cramping, tremor, tetanus, delayed fetal growth, low birth weight and poor fetal mineralization. [7]

Common FAQs

1. When should a pregnant woman start taking calcium?

Women should consume calcium throughout the pregnancy period but the amount may vary at each trimester as the calcium need increases during the third trimester. Calcium supplements are mainly prescribed during 14 weeks of pregnancy up to six months after the delivery.

2. Can lack of calcium cause miscarriage?

Calcium deficiency may not cause miscarriage but it can cause severe complications to the foetus such as improper development of the brain and low birth weight.

3. Is calcium safe in the first trimester of pregnancy?

Yes, a safe amount of 50-330 mg of calcium is needed during pregnancy for foetal growth and development.