Should You Take Supplements?
Though the general guideline is 1,000 milligrams a day (the equivalent of three 8-ounce glasses of milk), women who are pregnant or nursing require more -- 1,200 to 1,400 milligrams a day.
If you're concerned about your calcium intake, ask your doctor about supplements. Just don't go overboard. "Too much calcium may interfere with your body's ability to absorb other minerals, cause constipation, or increase your risk of kidney stones," Dr. Favus says.
On the positive side, it's been shown that moms-to-be who took calcium supplements in the second and third trimester gave birth to babies who had a 15 percent increase in bone mineral content over children whose mothers took a placebo. In another study, pregnant women who got about 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily had a lower risk of preeclampsia (a leading cause of premature birth).
Originally published in the October 2006 issue of American Baby magazine.
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