Calcium 2018-04-03T12:28:45+00:00

Calcium During Pregnancy

Calcium is a vital mineral during pregnancy and lactation (breast feeding). As commonly known, it is essential for the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth in the baby. Calcium is also required for proper growth and functioning of muscles, as well as the nervous and circulatory systems. It must be present in adequate amounts to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood clotting capacity.

Why is there no Calcium in TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE®?

There are 2 reasons why we have chosen to not include calcium in TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE® with Folate:

First, when taken at the same time iron, it is thought that calcium can block the absorption of iron. Therefore it is more beneficial to a mother to take calcium in as part of diet, rather than in pill form.

Second, is that calcium is a bulky nutrient and adding to a prenatal vitamin in quantity high enough to be beneficial causes the pill to be too large to swallow. This is why most prenatal vitamins only contain 10% of the daily Calcium needs during pregnancy.

The Importance of Calcium Intake Through Diet:

As is typical during pregnancy and lactation, the baby gets priority over the mother. If a mother is not getting enough dietary calcium, her body will pull calcium from her bones to meet the needs of her baby. This can set the stage for problems with bone health, particularly osteoporosis.

There are good food sources of calcium which women should focus on including in their diets while pregnant or lactating. The very best sources are dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, puddings, and creamy soups. Non-dairy sources include green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, greens, and others), seafood, dried peas, and beans.

The intake of calcium through diet is very important for pregnant and lactating women.

The following tables published by the USDA outline food sources of calcium and its amounts in standard serving sizes.

Dairy Food Sources of Calcium

Food Sources of Calcium ranked by milligrams of calcium per standard amount; also calories in the standard amount.

Food, Standard Amount Calcium (mg) Calories
Plain yogurt, non-fat (13 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container 452 127
Romano cheese, 1.5 oz 452 165
Pasteurized process Swiss cheese, 2 oz 438 190
Plain yogurt, low-fat (12 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container 415 143
Fruit yogurt, low-fat (10 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container 345 232
Swiss cheese, 1.5 oz 336 162
Ricotta cheese, part skim, ½ cup 335 170
Pasteurized process American cheese food, 2 oz 323 188
Provolone cheese, 1.5 oz 321 150
Mozzarella cheese, part-skim, 1.5 oz 311 192
Cheddar cheese, 1.5 oz 307 171
Fat-free (skim) milk, 1 cup 306 83
Muenster cheese, 1.5 oz 305 156
1% low-fat milk, 1 cup 290 102
Low-fat chocolate milk (1%), 1 cup 288 158
2% reduced fat milk, 1 cup 285 122
Reduced fat chocolate milk (2%), 1 cup 285 180
Buttermilk, low-fat, 1 cup 284 98
Chocolate milk, 1 cup 280 208
Whole milk, 1 cup 276 146
Yogurt, plain, whole milk (8 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container 275 138
Ricotta cheese, whole milk, ½ cup 255 214
Blue cheese, 1.5 oz 225 150
Mozzarella cheese, whole milk, 1.5 oz 215 128

Non-Dairy Food Sources of Calcium

Non-Dairy Food Sources of Calcium ranked by milligrams of calcium per standard amount; also calories in the standard amount.
The bio-availability may vary.

Food, Standard Amount Calcium (mg)  Calories
Fortified ready-to-eat cereals (various), 1 oz  236-1043  88-106
Soy beverage, calcium fortified, 1 cup  368  98
Sardines, Atlantic, in oil, drained, 3 oz  325  117
Tofu, firm, prepared with nigari , ½ cup  253  88
Pink salmon, canned, with bone, 3 oz  181  118
Collards, cooked from frozen, ½ cup  178  31
Molasses, blackstrap, 1 Tbsp  172  47
Spinach, cooked from frozen, ½ cup  146  30
Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup  130  127
Turnip greens, cooked from frozen, ½ cup  124  24
Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, 3 oz  16  103
Oatmeal, plain and flavored, instant, fortified, 1 packet prepared  99-110  97-157
Cowpeas, cooked, ½ cup  106  80
White beans, canned, ½ cup  96  153
Kale, cooked from frozen, ½ cup  90  20
Okra, cooked from frozen, ½ cup  88  26
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup  88  149
Blue crab, canned, 3 oz  86  84
Beet greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup  82  19
Pak-choi, Chinese cabbage, cooked from fresh, ½ cup  79  10
Clams, canned, 3 oz  78  126
Dandelion greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup  74  17
Rainbow trout, farmed, cooked, 3 oz  73  144

With this background in mind, you should be able to see why we have chosen to exclude calcium from the formula of TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE®. Prenatal vitamin/mineral formulas that include calcium typically have 125mg to 175mg of calcium. Any more would lead to excessive size of the prenatal vitamin. This is approximately 10% of the daily needs during pregnancy and lactation. Why seriously reduce the availability of iron, another key nutrient during pregnancy and lactation, when additional dietary sources of calcium will be needed anyway? We could see no legitimate reason to do this, and therefore we have no calcium in TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE®.