Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Garbh Sanskar:Calcium In Pregnancy

Calcium In Pregnancy:
Calcium is a nutrient needed in the body to build strong teeth and bones. Calcium also allows blood to clot normally, muscles and nerves to function properly, and the heart to beat normally. Most of the calcium in your body is found inside your bones.When you're pregnant, 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.
Even after your baby's born and you're finished nursing, keep paying attention to your calcium intake. You'll need the mineral to help strengthen bones and ward off bone loss (osteoporosis) later in life.Adequate nutrition prior to and during pregnancy plays a very important role in rendering long term good health for both the mother and the child during and after pregnancy. A woman who has been well nourished before conception enters her pregnancy with optimum reserves of important nutrients.
She is able to meet the needs of the growing foetus without developing a deficiency that might affect her own health. Thus, infants who are well nourished in the mother’s womb have an enhanced chance of sailing through the different stages of life with sound physical and mental health.

If your diet is deficient in calcium, then your baby may start withdrawing it from your own bones which may in turn have adverse effects on your health. About two-thirds of the fetal calcium is transferred from the mother to the baby,with a major percentage being obtained from the mother’s diet and the rest from maternal reserves.
Expectant women usually begin to absorb more calcium from dietary sources during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. It is specifically observed that the calcium retention around 6th to 7th months of pregnancy is 2 to 5 times the amount needed by your foetus, indicating that your maternal reserves are being built up at this stage.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the calcium requirement of adult women, which is 400 mg/day increases during pregnancy to 1000 mg/day. If you are an expectant mum, aim for nearly about four servings of milk products or other calcium rich food sources per day.
Besides from milk product sources of calcium (as mention in my earlier blog), also include curd, cheese, tofu, soybean, legumes, all sorts of dark green leafy vegetables and nuts in your dietary regime.
Also, make sure you include nutrients that aid in the absorption and utilisation of calcium. Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption. Get your daily dose of vitamin D by going for a regular walk. You may ask why? Yes, our body naturally synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified (milk and milk products, orange juice, cereals). So don’t miss out on these as well.
It may be hard for some people to get enough vitamins and minerals in their foods. They may need to take a supplement. A supplement usually comes in the form of tablets or capsules.
Your doctor will be able to suggest whether you need a Prenatal (calcium) supplement, when to begin with and how long to continue throughout your pregnancy. But there are certain facts that you need to be well-versed with, once you start with the strip.Your body absorbs nearly 500 mg of calcium at a time. So if you are using supplemental calcium, you need to take it in smaller doses several times a day. But be careful and don’t go overboard as excessive calcium can lead to constipation, up your risk of kidney stones and hinder your body’s absorption of other nutrients like iron and zinc from food sources.
Keep in mind:
Before taking any supplement, talk with your health care provider about whether you need it and, if so, how much you should take. Some supplements are dangerous during pregnancy. Also, large doses are sometimes risky.
Disclaimer: The information included in this section should not be treated as a substitute for medical treatment. Please see your doctor if you have serious medical conditions and need treatment.

Dr Unnati Chavda

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