Should Lactose Intolerant Pregnant Women Worry About Their Calcium Intake?

Should Lactose Intolerant Pregnant Women Worry About Their Calcium Intake?Pregnancy is a time that invokes mixed feelings in most women; on one hand, they are excited that they will be nurturing another human being and there will be a happy addition to their family at the end of it all. On the other hand, they are apprehensive about the discomforts like morning sickness, cravings, mood swings and so on that come with the doctor’s confirmation that one is pregnant.

As more information has become available about the nutritional needs of pregnant women, those who are lactose intolerant (those who get gas, cramps and diarrhea each time they ingest milk products) now worry whether they can receive sufficient amounts of calcium to meet the demands of their own bodies as well as the needs of the growing fetus.

In this post, we shall take a look at this situation in some detail and then suggest a way forward to ease these concerns about calcium intake for lactose intolerant mothers-to-be.

Is Calcium That Important?

Pregnant or not, male or female, we all need calcium in our bodies. It facilitates the normal clotting of blood, it enables our nerves and muscles to perform as they should and it is instrumental in enabling the heart rate to be normal.

If the body is not getting enough calcium to meet its daily requirements, it simply gets that calcium from our bones and that is the beginning of a host of problems like osteoporosis (brittle bones).

As you can see, calcium is very important in the body, even if one is not pregnant, and is sure they will never be pregnant (men, a huge sigh of relief!). Now, think about a pregnant woman and you can appreciate how this nutrient becomes all the more important since there is urgent need for it to meet the development needs of the fetus.

What Are The Common Sources of Calcium?

The fact is that the best source of calcium is in dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding as well as cream soups. This means that lactose intolerant women are unable to get this vital nutrient from the food where it is easiest to obtain it.

Aside from dairy, seafoods, vegetables like broccoli or greens, beans and dried peas also contain calcium. Lactose intolerant pregnant women can turn to these foods as a source of calcium. Lactose-free milk is also available so try it and see if you react the way you do when you take ordinary milk.

Can Dairy-Free Foods Provide Sufficient Calcium For Pregnant Women?

For starters, the recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1000mg for pregnant women who are not less than 18 years old. In simple English that you and I can understand, that means that every pregnant woman who is above 18 years of age should consume at least four servings of foods that are rich in calcium each day. Those below 18 years of age need much more calcium.

Given that the best calcium sources are dairy products, pregnant women who cannot consume dairy products need much more than four servings a day.

Is it possible?

Yes. With careful planning and sound advice from your doctor, you can get sufficient calcium from non-dairy food. More often than not, the use of calcium supplements will be suggested so you could try that option to avoid taking any chances with your health and that of your baby.

Are you a lactose intolerant woman? How do you ensure you get enough calcium in your body? Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

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