Role of calcium during pregnancy: maternal and fetal needs

Nutr Rev. 2012 Jul;70(7):397-409. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00491.x.


Although the demand for additional calcium during pregnancy is recognized, the dietary reference intake for calcium was lowered for pregnant women in 1997 to amounts recommended for nonpregnant women (1,000 mg/day), and recently (November 2010) the Institute of Medicine report upheld the 1997 recommendation. It has been frequently reported that women of childbearing age do not consume the dietary reference intake for calcium and that calcium intake in the United States varies among ethnic groups. Women who chronically consume suboptimal amounts of calcium (<500 mg/day) may be at risk for increased bone loss during pregnancy. Women who begin pregnancy with adequate intake may not need additional calcium, but women with suboptimal intakes (<500 mg) may need additional amounts to meet both maternal and fetal bone requirements. The objective of this review is to elucidate the changes in calcium metabolism that occur during pregnancy as well as the effect of maternal calcium intake on both maternal and fetal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Development / drug effects*
  • Bone Development / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Calcium