Calcium Supplements Help Babies' Bones in Calcium Deficient Women
WebMD News Archive
Koo notes that low maternal calcium intake appears to critically affect
fetal bone mineralization, and warns that calcium-poor diets can occur even in
societies where food is plentiful. Other research shows that calcium
deficiencies can also lead to preeclampsia, a condition during pregnancy
characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, and weight gain greater than
one pound per day. Studies show the risk of preeclampsia is between 45% and 74%
lower for women who received calcium supplementation.
Koo says the best way to assure normal fetal bone mineralization is for the
mother to eat sufficient amounts of calcium-rich foods. "Calcium-rich foods
are also rich in other nutrients critical to bone health [such as vitamin
D]," says Koo.
Calcium is found primarily in milk and milk products, although broccoli and
canned fish are also good sources. For women who are lactose intolerant, green
leafy vegetables, tofu, canned salmon and sardines (with bones) are good
sources of calcium.
A number of studies show that between 30% and 50% of women fail to consume
enough calcium to meet the new RDA of 1,200 mg each day. "We often find
that women calcium-deficient in their diets can't tolerate or simply don't like
calcium-rich foods, especially dairy products," Ray L. Howell, MD, at East
Atlanta Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates in Conyers, Ga., tells WebMD.
"Even if everything else they eat is fine, their calcium levels are below
where they should be."
- In pregnant women who do not consume enough calcium in their diet, taking
supplements can increase the bone mineral content of their children, but for
those who do get enough calcium, additional supplements do not have this
- Pregnant women should continue taking supplements as they have additional
calcium needs that provide maternal and fetal benefits.
- Low intake of calcium during pregnancy is associated with poor fetal bone
mineralization and increased risk of preeclampsia.