PLAYING: Essential Pregnancy Nutrients - Vitamin D and Calcium

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Essential Pregnancy Nutrients - Vitamin D and Calcium

Eating a varied and balanced diet during pregnancy is very important for both you and your baby. Pregnancy nutrition is a big topic but getting started is easy - use the table below to familiarise yourself with essential nutrients and vitamins to include in your pregnancy diet and learn about the benefits for you and your baby.

3 mins to read Nov 5, 2016
Nutrient Calcium Vitamin D
Why do you and your baby need it?

Calcium is necessary for the development and maintenance of the skeleton. 

It also assists with the functioning of neuromuscular and cardiac function.

To stop your body’s reserves from being depleted, it’s important to get plenty throughout your pregnancy.

Calcium should be consumed with Vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium from the diet.

Your Vitamin D levels during pregnancy can affect your baby so preventing Vitamin D deficiency is important.
Eat it so you can…
  • Keep your bones and teeth strong;
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.
How much is enough?

You need to consume around 1000 mg/day. 

You can get this amount from having two and a half serves of dairy a day. 
One serve =

  • 1 cup of cow’s milk or calcium enriched soy milk;
  • ½ cup evaporated milk;
  • 200g yoghurt; or
  • 40g cheese.
These foods can be high in saturated fat so opting for reduced fat varieties where possible is recommended.

You can meet your Vitamin D needs through regular exposure to sunlight. If you have little access to sunlight speak to your doctor or dietitian for advice on supplementation.

On your plate
  • Dairy foods (the main source)
  • Calcium enriched soy products like soy milk or soy yoghurt
  • Sardines or pink salmon with the bones
  • Breakfast cereal that has added calcium
  • Custard
  • Vitamin D enriched margarine
  • Fatty fish like salmon; or mackerel
  • Eggs.
  • Add milk or milk powder to dishes like casseroles or soups.
  • Add cheese to pasta and vegetables.
  • Use yoghurt in dips and dishes like curries.
  • Vary your sources of calcium.
  • Try sprinkling parmesan over your pasta as it’s a rich source of calcium.
  • Add a little milk to your mashed potatoes, pureed vegetables, etc.
  • If you don’t eat dairy products, your doctor may prescribe a vitamin supplement, or consult a dietitian to alter your diet to meet your needs.
  • Go for a walk in sunshine to get your vitamin D – all you need is 15-30 minutes, 2-3 times per week.
  • Make sure you protect yourself with sunscreen and a hat and avoid peak UV times (10am – 3pm).