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The role of calcium deficiency during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Calcium plays a pivotal role during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Insufficient intake of this essential nutrient at these stages can set off a chain of complications that demand immediate attention.

During pregnancy, your body's calcium requirement surges to facilitate the baby's growth and skeletal system formation. Calcium deficiency during this period can elevate the risk of far-reaching complications. Notably, the chances of preterm labor, abortion, and pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia are heightened.

A calcium deficit during pregnancy can increase by releasing a hormone called PTH (parathyroid hormone). This hormone induces changes like heightened muscle contractions and release of renin, a substance from the kidneys. These changes can cause blood vessels to constrict and the body to retain excess sodium and fluids, collectively contributing to the development of preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a grave medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organs, commonly the liver and kidneys. Elevated blood pressure can diminish blood supply to the fetus, potentially leading to low fetal growth or premature delivery.

Moreover, insufficient calcium intake could potencially result in maternal bone loss, decreased secretion of calcium in breast milk, and hindered growth of infants' bones. If calcium is lacking during lactation, it might impact the quality and the quantity of breast milk produced. Additionally, insufficient calcium intake during childhood can result in stunted growt and reduced bone strength.

Managing calcium deficiency during pregnancy and breastfeeding requires making deliberate dietary choices and possibly considering supplementation, all under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Given that maternal health profoundly influences fetal development and postnatal health, prioritizing calcium intake becomes crucial. Collaborating with healthcare professionals to monitor and address calcium levels ensures a healthier journey through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond.

Recognizing calcium's pivotal role during the phases of pregnancy and breastfeeding is paramount for the well-being of both mother and baby.

By understanding the potential hazards of calcium deficiency, women can make well-informed decisions to safeguard their health and that of their growing baby. Consultation with healthcare professionals and adhering to a well-balanced diet are pivotal steps in ensuring optimal calcium intake during these transformative life stages.


  1. Kumar A, Kaur S. Calcium: A Nutrient in Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2017 Oct;67(5):313-318. doi: 10.1007/s13224-017-1007-2. Epub 2017 May 22. PMID: 28867880; PMCID: PMC5561751.

  2. Prentice A. Calcium intakes and bone densities of lactating women and breast-fed infants in The Gambia. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1994;352:243-55. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4899-2575-6_22. PMID: 7832054.


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