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Pregnancy Nutrition: Calcium and Iron During Pregnancy

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During your pregnancy, you're probably taking a prenatal vitamin, but it's essential that you get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, too. This is especially true for calcium and iron.

Got Calcium?

It's a vital building block for your baby's bones and teeth and also helps preserve your bone strength. Women younger than 19 need 1,300 milligrams (mg) each day; those 19 and older need 1,000 mg daily.

Each of the following is equal to one serving (300 mg) of calcium. Try to eat four servings every day.

* 1 cup milk or yogurt
* 1 1/2 ounces hard cheese
* 1 1/2 to 2 ounces cottage cheese
* 1 1/2 cups cooked, fresh green vegetables

Blood Builder

Iron helps create blood cells and prevents anemia. When you're pregnant you need 27 mg of iron daily, more than you do when you're not pregnant. It's good to get iron from your diet, since iron supplements can cause constipation, something you may already be dealing with. However, most women need to take iron supplements during pregnancy, because it's hard to get the desired amount through food alone. These are usually given as part of your prenatal vitamin preparation.

Aim for at least four servings a day of these iron-rich foods:

1/2 cup dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, or prunes
1 cup cooked dried beans, dried peas, or lentils
1 cup dark green leafy vegetables
1 slice whole-wheat bread or 1 ounce whole grain cereal
2 ounces almonds or walnuts
2 ounces red meat


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