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Let’s get right down to business. You’d like to know which are the best calcium tablets for pregnancy.
But before we get to the reviews, there is something you need to know.
You must discuss your diet and medications with your doctor before you take any supplements.
Consuming excess calcium has undesirable consequences. We’ll discuss that in a moment.
Plus, many of the calcium tablets recommended for pregnancy contain other ingredients, like magnesium or vitamin D. You wouldn’t want to overdose on those other components, either.
Therefore, to make sure you and your baby stay healthy, get advice from your OB/GYN about how much calcium you need.
Again, get medical advice about whether you need a calcium supplement and what dose is correct for you.
In general, pregnant and nursing women need at least 1200 to 1400 mg of calcium per day (1).
Meanwhile, women over the age of 18 who aren’t pregnant require 1000 mg.
Remember that the food you eat, like milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables, contains calcium.
So do chewable heartburn tablets like Tums.
You might not need a supplement if your diet is already rich in calcium. On the other hand, if you’re vegan or have dietary difficulties, a calcium tablet may be just what you need.
Calcium is even more essential during the third trimester as the baby’s skeleton is developing. Otherwise, the baby will draw calcium from the mother’s bones (2).
Studies revealed that women who consumed enough calcium during the second and third trimesters have improved bone mineral content to prevent osteoporosis and lower the risk of preeclampsia.
There are some potential side effects of taking calcium tablets during pregnancy.
One is that they can give you gas or make you constipated. The form of calcium most likely to give you constipation is calcium carbonate (3).
Another is that calcium supplements may interfere with various prescription meds, from antibiotics to blood pressure medication.
If you’re taking an iron supplement, be sure to leave at least two hours before you take calcium because calcium hinders the absorption of iron.
If you consume enough calcium while expecting, you reduce the chance of premature birth. You also protect yourself from osteoporosis.
Then, besides stronger bones and a healthier child, enough calcium means that you lower your baby’s risk of lead exposure.
Taking a daily calcium supplement significantly reduced lead in the blood and breast milk of pregnant and nursing mothers (4).
Low to no lead exposure is linked to better birth weight, improved motor skills, and higher intelligence.
You’re likely to find four main kinds of calcium supplements: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium gluconate, and calcium lactate (5).
The first on the list, calcium carbonate, has the highest percentage of calcium. And calcium lactate has the least amount.
Sometimes calcium tablets also have magnesium or vitamin D.
Make sure you double-check any dietary or medication restrictions that could include these additional ingredients.
Fortunately, for those who don’t like to swallow pills, you can also get gummies, chewable supplements, and liquids with calcium.
To digest the calcium properly with minimal side effects, take it with a meal. Use small doses of 500 mg or less each time. That means you may need to take more than one tablet per day spread out between different meals.
Now, let’s get started reviewing the best calcium supplements for pregnancy.
Let’s assume that your diet already contains a moderate amount of calcium. Perhaps you eat yogurt, drink milk, and have spinach in your salad.
A nutritionist or your OB/GYN can help you figure out how much extra calcium you need.
Then, these 500 mg calcium carbonate tablets are an excellent place to start supplementing your diet. You can take one or two per day with meals.
Each tablet also includes 10 mcg or (400 IU) of vitamin D3. This essential vitamin ensures proper calcium absorption by your body.
That’s the basic information. But I did a little extra research for you.
Another selling point for these tablets is that they are USP-verified.
What does “USP” mean? It stands for United States Pharmacopeia. It’s a nonprofit, scientific organization that sets federally-recognized standards for purity and quality. They help keep your medicine, supplements, and food safe.
Moreover, Nature Made doesn’t include artificial colors, flavors, or gluten in these tablets.
How much vitamin D is safe during pregnancy?
Perhaps your prenatal vitamin already has vitamin D. How much is too much?
You probably already know that sunlight can help you produce vitamin D. It’s also available in certain fortified foods.
The risk of hypervitaminosis D comes from taking supplements. It can cause you to have too much calcium in your blood. (That’s called hypercalcemia, by the way) (6).
Unfortunately, the symptoms are similar to what many pregnant women suffer: frequent urination, nausea, and vomiting.
It can even lead to kidney stones and bone pain.
Now you can see why it’s critical to discuss your diet and supplements with your doctor.
Would you prefer veggie capsules over tablets?
Here’s a supplement that’s tested to be free from all sorts of allergens. It doesn’t contain gluten, wheat, peanuts, egg, artificial sweeteners, colors, or excipients like hydrogenated fat or magnesium stearate.
Each serving of two capsules has 300 mg of calcium citrate. There’s also a little ascorbyl palmitate, or vitamin C, to keep it fresh.
Sometimes vegans have trouble finding supplements that aren’t contaminated by animal byproducts.
These are kosher whole food tablets made from USDA-certified organic algae. They are also verified to be free from GMOs and gluten.
You can trust these declarations as they are backed up by the NSF and the non-GMO Project.
Each dose has 800 mg of calcium. It also has vegan vitamin D3 derived from lichen. Plus t here’s vitamin K2 for healthy bones.
Each tablet is relatively small, so that it’s easy to swallow and digest.
Speaking of small tablets, this calcium supplement is called “petite” for a reason. If you have a hard time swallowing pills, it’s going to make life easier for you.
It’s kind enough to your digestive system that you can take it without food.
Each dose offers 400 mg of calcium and 500 IU of vitamin D in the form of cholecalciferol.
Citracal is a brand recommended by pharmacists and doctors. It also comes with a sixty-day satisfaction guarantee backed by Bayer HealthCare LLC.
Caltrate makes a variety of calcium supplements. It’s one of the top-selling brands.
These small tablets contain both calcium carbonate and vitamin D3 to help your body digest the calcium.
They have a minimal amount of sugar (in the form of sucrose) in the coating. Regrettably, they also contain an artificial dye and other fillers.
How about a calcium supplement that melts in your mouth?
This one was designed for bariatric patients.
They aren’t enormous, and they don’t taste chalky. Instead, they use low-calorie monk fruit as a sweetener. There are no artificial flavors or colors.
Each serving of two tablets has 500 mg of calcium in the form of tricalcium citrate. Then, they have 120 mg of magnesium.
Furthermore, this product is non-GMO and gluten-free.
Better yet, skip the tablets and capsules altogether in favor of liquid calcium. No, I don’t mean milk.
This blueberry-flavored liquid offers 600 mg of calcium citrate in each tablespoon. Each spoonful also has 300 mg of magnesium and 400 IU of vitamin D3.
Each bottle provides thirty-two servings.
The supplement is non-GMO, kosher-certified, and gluten-free. It doesn’t contain egg, milk, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, yeast, or sodium.
If you’re not a blueberry fan, it’s available in strawberry, orange, and lemon flavors, too.
I honestly can’t think of a more pleasant way to take calcium during pregnancy.
Is it possible to take too much magnesium during pregnancy?
Earlier, we took a detour to discuss what happens if you take too much vitamin D. That’s because vitamin D is often combined with calcium in tablets.
Currently, you’ve seen that there are also many supplements with magnesium. Is that a problem?
Disappointingly, it is possible to overdose on magnesium if you take supplements.
Excess magnesium will give you abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and nausea. It may also clash with medication like antibiotics (6).
Please consult with your OB/GYN about the proper amount of magnesium in your diet.
I have to say that I’m impressed with the brand NOW.
Not only do they carry several certifications, but they’ve also won many awards. They are a family-owned and operated company that’s been around since 1968.
You can get on their site and take a virtual video tour of their labs, manufacturing area, inventory storage, and shipping areas.
Furthermore, they follow Good Manufacturing Practices when they make dietary supplements. These standards demand precise quality control.
GMP requires that every step of the manufacturing process is monitored.
Also, they are verified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) because they do compliance testing for supplements like calcium tablets.
In summary, if I could only pick one brand of calcium supplement, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose NOW.
With that said, these calcium tablets are vegan, kosher, and soy-free.
Each serving of two tablets offers a total of 1000 mg of calcium. It’s a blend of calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, and calcium ascorbate.
Then, it has 500 mg of magnesium from magnesium citrate, magnesium ascorbate, and magnesium oxide.
But you don’t have to take a tablet to get your calcium.
This supplement features pure calcium powder that you can mix into a drink like orange juice or tomato. (They recommend juices with pulpy texture.)
You only need one-half of a level teaspoon to obtain 600 mg of calcium.
Even though it’s a powder, it’s vegan, kosher, and free of soy. It’s also Non-GMO Project-verified.
There are no additives at all.
Let’s imagine that your diet already includes a lot of calcium. Maybe you really love cheese, or your prenatal vitamin has a healthy dose in it.
In that case, a supplement like this one is ideal.
These calcium tablets are made from calcium lactate, the type with the least amount of the elemental mineral. As a result, it takes three tablets to make a 255 mg dose.
On the bright side, calcium lactate is very bio-available. This means that it’s easy to absorb and digest, plus it’s phosphorus-free.
The tablets are made in the USA. They are gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan. They don’t contain allergens like nuts, eggs, or dairy, either.
Why not get your calcium in a tasty gummy candy?
Two gummies equal 500 mg of calcium and 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D3. (That’s 800 IU.) There’s also a small amount of phosphorus, 230 mg.
They are tasty, so you’ll need to keep them away from children. But you can choose from orange, strawberry, or black cherry flavor.
Sadly, each serving also has 30 calories with 8 g of carbohydrates and 20 mg of sodium. If you have diet restrictions, make sure this won’t cause a problem.
For less sugar, lower sodium, and fewer calories, try these gummies instead.
Each serving of two gummies provides 520 mg of calcium, 50 mcg of vitamin D3, and 260 mg of phosphorus. (Keep an eye on that vitamin D3 as it’s 250% of the recommended amount.)
These are made with pectin, not gelatin so that they are vegan. What’s more, they come in delicious natural flavors like strawberry and raspberry lemonade.
I’m happy that you are thinking about your health and the health of your baby.
If you decide to supplement your diet with calcium, you have a lot of options. From powders and liquids to capsules and tablets, and even gummies, it’s easy to get what you need.
Check back soon to see more reviews of the best products for pregnancy and motherhood.
1. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/nutrition/are-you-getting-enough-calcium-during-pregnancy/ by Sarah Burns, originally published in the October 2006 issue of American Baby magazine, accessed June 25, 2020
2. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/diet/calcium-during-pregnancy/ by Karla Walsh, medically reviewed by Jennifer Wu, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. on May 21, 2020, accessed June 25, 2020
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627886/ Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Jan; 117(1): A32, Extra Protection for Pregnant Women: Calcium Supplement Reduces Blood Lead, by Carol Potera
5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-d-toxicity/faq-20058108 by Katherine Zeratsky, accessed June 25, 2020
6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/magnesium-supplements/faq-20466270 by Katherine Zeratsky, accessed June 25, 2020
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