Calcium is important to you and your baby; you need it to keep your bones strong and healthy. Your baby needs it to grow strong bones and teeth. You need about 1,200 mg of calcium a day during pregnancy. Dairy products are great sources of calcium—they also have vitamin D (which helps your body accept calcium). Milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream are common calcium sources. Other sources of it are collards, spinach, broccoli, salmon, sesame seeds, trout, and almonds. Some breads and orange juices are also fortified with calcium.
There are other ways to increase how much calcium you get. You could add powdered nonfat milk to soup, mashed potatoes, and meat loaf. Or, you might make shakes with fresh fruit, milk, and a scoop of ice cream. Cook your rice and oatmeal with skim or low-fat milk. There are some foods that can get in the way of your body’s calcium absorption though; these include salt, tea, and coffee.
If you’re watching your weight gain during pregnancy, pick your calcium sources wisely. Nonfat and low-fat products are good choices. Your doctor might also suggest calcium supplements.