USA: Keep milk on the menu: Experts caution Moms are missing out on calcium before, during and after pregnancy
Nearly three out of four pregnant women aren't getting the critical calcium needed during their pregnancy. Doctors widely recommend four 8-ounce glasses of milk per day to help meet their required 1200mg of calcium per day. In addition, three out of four nursing mothers skip milk and dairy altogether in an effort to shed pregnancy pounds. This recent survey of more than 1,000 pregnant and postpartum women is troubling to experts who caution that keeping milk off the maternity menu shortchanges both babies and moms."An expectant mother needs extra calcium to help build her baby's bones and maintain her own bone mass," said Dr. Sarah Berga, an expert in reproductive endocrinology and women's health and associate medical director of the Clinical Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "A pregnant woman's body takes care of the fetus first. If a mother's calcium intake is too low, calcium is taken from her bones to meet the needs of the baby. This depletes the mother's bone mass and may lead to osteoporosis down the road," she said.According to Dr. Berga, milk is the best source of calcium because it is one of the few food sources combining calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D enhances the body's absorption of calcium -- for both mom and baby.Experts say good nutrition combined with the right mix of exercise is the best prescription for women before, during and after pregnancy."When a woman is pregnant, she should be certain to gain the proper amount of weight. Her goal should be staying reasonably fit and eating the most nutritious foods both for herself and her baby," said celebrity trainer and new mom Kathy Kaehler. "After the baby is born, new moms should ease into an exercise program and continue drinking milk since studies show lowfat milk may actually aid in weight loss."
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