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®.