Eating Right When Pregnant
How Can I Get Enough Calcium If I'm Lactose Intolerant?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you may have cramping, gas, or diarrhea when dairy products are consumed.
If you are lactose intolerant, you can still receive the calcium you need. Here are some suggestions:
- Use Lactaid Milk fortified with calcium. Talk to your dietitian about other lactose-reduced products.
- You may be able to tolerate certain milk products that contain less sugar including cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
- Eat non-dairy calcium sources, including greens, broccoli, sardines, and tofu.
- Try consuming small amounts of milk with meals. Milk is better tolerated with food.
Should I Take a Calcium Supplement During Pregnancy?
If you have trouble consuming enough calcium-rich foods in your daily meal plan, talk to your doctor or dietitian about taking a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium you will need from a supplement depends on how much calcium you are consuming through food sources.
Calcium supplements and some antacids containing calcium, such as Tums, may complement an already healthy diet. Many multiple vitamin supplements contain little or no calcium; therefore, you will need an additional calcium supplement.
Why Do I Need More Iron During Pregnancy?
Iron is a mineral that makes up an important part of hemoglobin, the substance in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron also carries oxygen in muscles, helping them function properly. Iron helps increase your resistance to stress and disease.
The body absorbs iron more efficiently during pregnancy; therefore, it is important to consume more iron while you are pregnant to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough oxygen. Iron will also help you avoid symptoms of tiredness, weakness, irritability, and depression.
Following a balanced diet and including foods high in iron can help ensure that you are consuming enough iron throughout your pregnancy. In addition, the following guidelines will help:
- The U.S. RDA for iron is 27 mg per day for pregnant women and 15 mg for breastfeeding women.
- Eating at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting 30 mg of iron in your daily diet. One of the best ways to get iron from your diet is to consume a highly fortified breakfast cereal such as Total, which has 18 mg of iron. Note that iron intake is not equal to iron absorption. Absorption of iron into the body is greatest with meat sources of iron such as liver.
- The best sources of iron include enriched grain products, lean meat, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
What Are Good Sources of Iron?
- Meat and Seafood: Lean beef, chicken, clams, crab, egg yolk, fish, lamb, liver, oysters, pork, sardines, shrimp, turkey, and veal.
- Vegetables: Black-eyed peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard and turnip greens, lima beans, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
- Legumes: Dry beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans.
- Fruits: All berries, apricots, dried fruits, including prunes, raisins and apricots, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, plums, prune juice, and watermelon.
- Breads and Cereals: Enriched rice and pasta, soft pretzel, and whole grain and enriched or fortified breads and cereals.
- Other Foods: Molasses, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin, or squash seeds.