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The 7 Best Calcium Supplements for Pregnancy of 2024

By Published On: May 30, 202413.8 min readViews: 2240 Comments on The 7 Best Calcium Supplements for Pregnancy of 2024

Getting enough calcium during pregnancy is crucial for supporting the growth and development of the baby’s skeletal system, as well as for muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and hormonal activity for both mother and baby. Surprisingly, your calcium needs do not increase when you’re pregnant, as your ability to absorb this nutrient actually doubles, allowing your body to use the calcium you consume more efficiently.

Calcium is found in dairy products, tofu, and spinach, and many people can fulfill their calcium needs through dietary sources, according to McKenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN, LDN, Owner of Feed Your Zest Nutrition and Wellness. However, if meeting your calcium needs through food is challenging, a calcium supplement may be beneficial. Additionally, a healthcare professional may recommend a calcium supplement if you are diagnosed with a deficiency, carrying multiples, or are at risk for or have preeclampsia. 

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To select our top picks for calcium supplements for pregnancy, we prioritized supplements with appropriate dosages, high-quality ingredients, and internal or third-party testing for assurance. Our supplement recommendations are also vetted by medical experts and reviewed by the Parents Expert Review Board to ensure accuracy. 

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and to find out what dosage to take.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Solaray Calcium Citrate

Amazon


Why We Recommend It 

Solaray Calcium Citrate is our top choice because it’s a highly absorbable, budget-friendly option backed by rigorous testing standards. Each capsule contains 250 milligrams of calcium, so depending on your needs, you can take one to four tablets, allowing for easily customizable dosing. A four-capsule serving provides 77% Daily Value (DV) for calcium.

This supplement undergoes internal and third-party lab testing for purity and potency, so you can trust that it contains what’s on the label with no potential contaminants.

This supplement is mostly calcium citrate, which is a preferred form with superior absorption. It also contains a smaller amount of calcium carbonate, which is better absorbed when eaten with food. Additionally, it is offered in chewable form for those who prefer it.

But Take Note 

The capsule size is somewhat large compared to others on our list, so consider this if you have difficulty tolerating pills in your pregnancy.

Product Details

  • Type: Vegetarian capsule 
  • Form: Calcium citrate and carbonate
  • Dose: 250mg per capsule
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 60

Easiest to Take: Bayer Citracal Petites

Amazon


Why We Recommend It

We love Citracal Petites because, compared to other calcium pills, these are smaller in size and coated for easier swallowing with no chalky taste in your mouth. This can be especially helpful if you have morning sickness or a sensitive stomach during pregnancy.

Citracal Petites contain the digestive-friendly form, calcium citrate, so you’ll worry less about constipation, which pregnant people may already struggle with. We also like that this supplement is third-party tested for purity and potency. 

It also contains 500 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, is a nutrient pregnant persons may be deficient in, and may impact the cognitive development of the growing baby. 

But Take Note

If you have increased calcium needs, you may need more than 400 mg per two-capsule serving (31% DV). Also, this supplement contains inulin in the ingredient list, which may contribute to gas and bloating in people with sensitive stomachs.

Product Details:

  • Type: Caplets 
  • Form: Calcium citrate 
  • Dose: 400mg per caplet
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 50

Best Gummy: Mary Ruth’s Calcium Gummies

Amazon


Why We Recommend It

If you already take a prenatal vitamin and other medications, taking an extra supplement that is not a pill may be appealing. MaryRuth’s Calcium Gummies are a great option if you don’t want to add another pill. Dr. Nathan Fox, a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist with a subspecialty in Maternal Fetal Medicine, likes a gummy option for a calcium supplement during pregnancy, and the tasty peach, mango, and apricot flavor can make it easy to take.

In two gummies, you get 200 mg of calcium phosphate (15% Daily Value). If you are managing blood sugars in pregnancy, such as with gestational diabetes or preexisting diabetes, this could be a good pick because it is sugar-free and sweetened with stevia. It is also vegan, soy, dairy, gluten and nut-free.

Mary Ruth’s third-party tests all products for ingredient accuracy and lack of potential contaminants (like heavy metals). 

But Take Note

You may need more of this supplement to meet your daily requirements since two gummies only provide 15% of the Daily Value. Also, keep in mind that this supplement’s phosphate form may not impact calcium levels as well as calcium citrate. 

Product Details:

  • Type: Gummy
  • Form: Calcium phosphate
  • Dose: 200mg per gummy
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 30

Best Powder: NOW Foods Calcium Citrate Pure Powder

Amazon


Why We Recommend It

If you don’t want a pill or a gummy supplement, a powder can be convenient. We like NOW Foods Calcium Citrate Pure Powder because it can easily be added to beverages. NOW Foods is a reputable company with rigorous in-house testing, and this pick is certified third-party tested for purity, potency, and contaminants. This powder is also vegan and non-GMO.

In just one and a half teaspoons, each serving provides 600 mg (46% Daily Value) of calcium citrate, a highly bioavailable form of calcium. This higher dosage may be good for someone who struggles to include dairy products and doesn’t consume many plant sources of calcium in their diet. This powder is also affordable and will last over two months.

But Take Note

It may take some trial and error to find what drink or liquid it mixes the best with, as some people find it tastes chalky. Make sure to follow directions and mix well for best results.

Product Details:

  • Type: Powder 
  • Form: Calcium citrate 
  • Dose: 600mg per serving
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 76

Best Vegan: Garden of Life mykind Organics Plant Calcium Supplement

Amazon


Why We Recommend It

If you follow a vegan diet or value a plant-based supplement, then we recommend Garden of Life mykind Organics Plant Calcium Supplement. The supplement contains 800 mg of calcium (62% Daily Value) sourced from organic algae, which is well absorbed. The calcium amount in this supplement is a higher dose and may be more than some people need if you get some calcium-rich foods in your diet. 

In addition to calcium, it has vitamin D3, plant-sourced magnesium, and vitamin K2 from natto (fermented soybeans). It also contains a blend of over twenty organic fruit and vegetable powders like apple, beet, cauliflower, and kale. 

But Take Note

The serving size of three tablets per day may not be convenient for some. Additionally, it contains many fruits and vegetables, which some people may be sensitive to, and could lead to discomfort in these individuals, potentially causing gas and bloating. While this specific supplement is not third-party tested, many Garden of Life supplements are.

Product Details:

  • Type: Tablet 
  • Form: Calcium from algae
  • Dose: 800mg per caplet
  • Third-Party Certified: No
  • Servings Per Container: 30

Best Calcium+Magnesium: New Chapter Bone Strength Take Care Slim Tablets

Amazon


Why We Recommend It

Calcium and magnesium are both needed for bone health, and magnesium needs increase during pregnancy. Many women also find magnesium to be helpful for common pregnancy nuisances like leg cramps, insomnia, and constipation. To benefit from both nutrients during pregnancy while minimizing more pills or supplements, we recommend a combination supplement like New Chapter’s Plant Calcium Bone Strength.

A three-tablet serving of this supplement contains 905 mg of calcium (70% Daily Value) and 62 mg of magnesium (15% Daily Value) from organic algae. It also includes 1000 IU of plant-based and fermented vitamin D3 and vitamins K1 and K2 for optimal bone health and to support healthy joints. We also like that this one is third-party tested for purity, potency, and heavy metals.

But Take Note

Keep in mind that this supplement contains a high dose of calcium and may not be indicated for everyone. This supplement is also on the pricier side. Magnesium may interfere with some medications, so always check with a healthcare professional before taking it.

Product Details:

  • Type: Tablet 
  • Form: Calcium from algae 
  • Dose: 905mg per tablet
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 40

Best Prenatal with Calcium: FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin

FullWell


Why We Recommend It

If you prefer simplicity during pregnancy, taking one supplement a day might be the best method. FullWell Women’s Prenatal Vitamin has consistently ranked as one of our favorite supplements, and we also recommend it as a good option for a calcium supplement during pregnancy. Many prenatal vitamins don’t contain calcium (especially prescription-only options or gummies), but FullWell has calcium to help cover the bases for many different women.

FullWell is a favorite of one of our dietitian experts, Jessy Heckroth, RD, Owner of Beyond Nutrition Co, because its comprehensive supplement supports pregnancy needs. Each serving provides 400mg of calcium, which is 31% Daily Value.

But Take Note

This prenatal does not contain iron, which competes for absorption with calcium. The form in this supplement is calcium malate, which is similar in absorption to the citrate form. Because FullWell contains such a comprehensive list of nutrients in forms that are more bioavailable (and can be more “bulky” ingredients), it has an eight-capsule serving size per day. However, this can be taken in split doses throughout the day.

Product Details:

  • Type: Capsule
  • Form: Calcium malate 
  • Dose: 400mg per caplet
  • Third-Party Certified: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 30

Should I Take A Calcium Supplement During Pregnancy?

Caldwell says, “People should consider focusing on calcium-rich foods before purchasing a calcium supplement, as they likely don’t need it.” Your diet will also naturally provide other nutrients, like vitamin K, vitamin D, and magnesium, to help the body absorb and use calcium, so focusing first on whole food consumption during pregnancy is best. 

It’s also interesting to note that in pregnancy, many people experience an uptick of cravings for calcium-rich foods, like dairy, which may be the body’s way of hinting to get more of this nutrient. 

Generally, blood tests are poor measures for calcium status, especially during pregnancy. According to Caldwell, a bone scan, called DEXA, would be a good resource to see signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis; otherwise, most of us wouldn’t know we are deficient in calcium. However, getting two to three servings daily of calcium-rich foods can prevent calcium deficiency.

However, it may not be practical to get all your calcium needs from food, and some people may find a supplement useful. If you are vegan or vegetarian, struggle with food aversions and nausea, or have a history of low bone density, you may need to consider a calcium supplement. 

Dr. Fox says, “Fortunately, calcium deficiency usually does not harm the fetus because the fetus tends to take all the calcium they need from the maternal calcium stores.” He adds, “However, this is why the mother needs adequate calcium intake in pregnancy.  If she doesn’t, her stores become depleted faster than usual because of the fetal calcium requirements.” It would be wise to take a calcium supplement from mid-pregnancy onwards, when changes in blood pressure occur, and the fetus will accumulate most of its calcium for bone development.

Fox further adds, “There is data suggesting that calcium deficiency may be a risk factor for the development of preeclampsia later in pregnancy.” Research has shown that low calcium intake through diet, and especially for women who have strong risk factors for preeclampsia, supplementing with a high dose (> 1,000 mg) of calcium reduces high blood pressure, the development of preeclampsia, and the potential for preterm birth.

Who May Not Benefit From Calcium Supplements for Pregnancy

Our experts agree that if you consume enough calcium throughout your diet, you likely do not need supplements. The benefit of calcium supplementation for preeclampsia was only seen when baseline calcium intakes were very low (300-900 mg).

Dr. Fox also mentions that if you use Tums for reflux relief, you likely don’t need an additional calcium supplement either.

Our Supplement Review Process

When reviewing our top picks for calcium supplements for pregnancy, we consulted with an OBGYN and prenatal dietitians to review the latest scientific literature on calcium types and dosages. 

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. For this story, we prioritized third-party tested and certified products by independent, third-party certifiers, including USP, NSF, and ConsumerLab.com. 

It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Our Experts

We talked to the following experts about what to consider for calcium supplements during pregnancy. The experts do not have financial ties to supplement companies.

  • McKenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN, LDN, Owner of Feed Your Zest Nutrition and Wellness LLC
  • Jessy Heckroth, RD, Owner of Beyond Nutrition Co., specializing in hormone health, fertility, and pregnancy
  • Dr. Nathan Fox, board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist with a subspecialty certification in Maternal Fetal Medicine

What to Look For in Calcium Supplements For Pregnancy

Form

Calcium is available in various forms, some being more effective and desirable than others. The most commonly available forms include:

  • Calcium carbonate is generally the most common form and is the least expensive, but it can also cause gastrointestinal upset, such as bloating, gas, and constipation.
  • Malate and citrate are more effective at raising calcium levels than carbonate, but consuming these two forms with a meal is important. They do require stomach acid to be best absorbed.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read a supplement’s ingredient list and nutrition facts panel to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to its recommended daily value. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Heckroth points out that calcium and iron compete for absorption. She recommends, “To optimize absorption of both nutrients, it is recommended to avoid consuming foods high in both nutrients simultaneously or supplementing with them at the same time.”

Calcium relies on vitamin D for absorption, so you may see calcium supplements containing vitamin D. Vitamin K and magnesium also help promote calcium deposition in bone and might be packaged into a calcium supplement.

It’s important to know that calcium supplements can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormones, so for pregnant persons also taking levothyroxine (Synthroid) there would need to be a time gap between taking these two pills.

As mentioned, if you frequently take antacids, such as Tums, exercise caution when supplementing with extra calcium.

When choosing a supplement, it’s important to get it from a trusted source that upholds standards of efficacy and purity, and calcium is no exception. One of the biggest concerns with calcium supplements is the quantity of the mineral in the pill or powder. A product label may say it contains a certain amount of calcium, but in fact, it falls short. Another concern is that many sources of calcium also contain heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Choosing your supplement from a trusted source is imperative, especially for pregnant persons. 

Dosage

According to current recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for 19 to 50-year-olds during pregnancy is 1,000 mg. Some conditions during pregnancy may warrant additional supplementation if dietary calcium intakes are low, such as carrying multiples or preeclampsia. A healthcare professional can give individual recommendations for these conditions,

The established Tolerable Upper Intake Levels(ULs) for calcium should not exceed 2500 mg for 19-50-year-olds during pregnancy.

Excess calcium supplementation can lead to constipation and, in some cases, nausea.  In more extreme cases, hypercalcemia (high serum calcium) or hypercalciuria (high urine calcium) can cause poor muscle tone, renal insufficiency, weight loss, fatigue, polyuria, heart arrhythmias, and a higher risk of heart disease.

Who We Are

Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDN, DCES, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist based in New York City. Casey works at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, the premier maternal-fetal medicine practice in Manhattan, where she provides nutrition therapy and counseling to women with high-risk pregnancies. She is also the founder of Casey Seiden Nutrition, a virtual private practice specializing in a non-diet approach to diabetes care and women’s health.


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