A calcium deficiency or otherwise known as Hypocalcaemia occurs when a person has insufficient levels of calcium in the blood. Calcium is needed to grow, maintain and repair human bones and teeth, and is therefore one of the most important minerals that the body needs.
Calcium is also needed for the transmission of nerve impulses, blood clotting, normal heartbeat, muscle contraction and the stimulation of hormone secretion. When insufficient levels of calcium are consumed, the body will take calcium from the bones to use where needed in various parts of the body.
If the calcium is not restored to the bones it could lead to osteopenia, which is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal.
Osteopenia is often the precursor to osteoporosis (porous bone) especially in woman. Certain nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus and especially vitamin D, are needed in order for calcium to be properly absorbed and used.
Calcium Intake While Pregnant
It is vital for woman to increase their calcium intake when they are pregnant. Babies need considerable amounts of calcium to grow whilst inside the womb.
If a pregnant woman does not consume adequate amounts of calcium to sustain a developing baby, the body will take the calcium from the mother’s bones decreasing her bone mass and bone strength.
A decrease in bone mass can later result in osteoporosis where the bones become brittle and are at high risk of getting fractured or broken, research also shows that pregnant woman who suffer from calcium deficiency tend to suffer from nervous system and possible cardiovascular problems.
Increasing Intake While Breastfeeding
Mothers who decide to breastfeed, might be under the impression that they need to increase their intake of calcium so that there is enough available for their body’s needs as well as the baby’s.
Amazingly though, studies have shown that breastfeeding moms do not need to increase their milk intake, as the nursing body adapts to ensure that the baby gets calcium-rich milk.
With this being said, it is still advisable to increase calcium intake by using pregnancy supplements because even though the baby has sufficient levels of calcium that he needs, it’s still being drawn from your body.
During nursing, the body will pass less calcium through the urine and a hormone called parathyroid-related peptide pulls calcium out of the bones and moves it into the blood.
Breastfeeding women also have low levels of estrogen, which normally helps to stimulate a women’s body in order to absorb calcium.