Iron and Calcium During Pregnancy

Iron and Calcium During Pregnancy

Even if you're taking a prenatal vitamin, it's essential that you get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. This is especially true for calcium and iron.

How Much Calcium?
Calcium is 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.

  • 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

How Much Iron?
Iron helps create blood cells and prevents anemia. When you're pregnant, you need 27 mg of iron daily (usually included in your prenatal vitamin preparation), more than you do when you're not pregnant.

Most women need to take additional iron supplements during pregnancy because it's hard to get the desired amount from food alone. To boost your iron intake, aim for at least four servings a day of these 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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