Can I Get Too Much Calcium During Pregnancy?

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
My doctor told me that I need to take 1000 mg of calcium a day during my pregnancy. My prenatal vitamins only have 250 mg of it in them, so I bought calcium pills that are 500 mg each. I take one and a half a day with my prenatal. But I also drink a lot of milk, mostly a litre a day. Is this too much calcium?

Thank you.
Chelsy

ANSWER

Hello Chelsy,
That is correct. Women aged 19 to 50 years need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily during pregnancy. Most prenatal vitamins do not supply all the calcium you need daily.

The Upper Tolerable Limit for calcium, or the limit you should not exceed, is 2,500 mg daily. With the 250 mg your prenatal vitamin provides and the amount of milk you drink daily I would suggest only taking the one 500 mg tablet daily. One eight-ounce glass of milk provides about 300 mg of calcium.

I highly recommend you speak with your doctor before taking any additional supplements, including calcium. In addition, inform your doctor of your dietary intake of calcium daily.Thank you for writing and good luck with your pregnancy!

-- Kimberly, RD LD

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.