Women General Nutrition : Calcium-Folic acid and Iron

Pregnancy Calcium Iron

 Women Health Nutrition Requirements 

Nutrition is very important for women’s health. A Female body is very complex. During the phases of your life, you will need to be more aware of your diet & nutrition to maintain good health. Three important nutrients that can have a major impact on a woman’s total health include calcium, folic acid, and iron.

Calcium and Osteoporosis

The Intake of Calcium is important for your strong and healthy bones.  Calcium is absorbed, deposited, and withdrawn from bones when our body needs it. It is important to ensure that you are getting your daily calcium requirement throughout your life.

As a woman, you have less bone tissue and lose bone more rapidly than men. This gives women a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease where the quality of the bone is reduced causing the skeleton to weaken and increasing the risk of bone fracture.

Bone loss in women can begin as early as age 25. As the world population grows and ages, osteoporosis is increasing its significance. Reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by consuming adequate calcium throughout life.

Folic Acid and Women Health

Folic acid is another form of B vitamin that affects women’s health in many ways. During pregnancy folic acid is essential for fetal growth and development. As a part of healthy nutrition, you should start taking folic acid during the early stage of pregnancy to prevent the possibility of birth defects in the baby.

Iron Benefits and Women Health

Nutrition is important in maintaining the normal functions and general health of the body. Iron plays an important role in forming healthy red blood cells and transporting oxygen from the lungs to wherever it is needed in the body. Iron also helps to ensure a healthy immune system and is essential in helping the body to produce energy from food.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

A low level of iron can only be accurately determined by a blood test. Some symptoms may include: feeling tired, reduce the ability to exercise, lack of appetite, weight loss, poor stamina, frequent infections, irritability, and washed out complexion.

As a woman, your body has a higher demand for iron to replace blood loss, especially from menstruation or in times of growth such as adolescence. And if you’re a vegetarian, you have an even higher demand for iron.

Daily Iron Intake

The usual daily dose of iron is 200 mg – 300 mg depends on your iron levels or body demand. The best way to ensure that you’re getting enough iron is to take daily multivitamins and eating foods that are rich in iron. A daily iron requirement for women is 13 milligrams to 15 milligrams.

It is important to recognize that too much iron can damage vital organs. Iron supplements should only be used to replace the iron stores in the body. Once the iron stores are replenished, you should discontinue taking iron supplements.

Pregnancy Calcium

Nutrition During Pregnancy: Calcium and its Deficiency

During pregnancy, all nutrients are important to both the mother and the development of the baby. Special attention should be given to foods that are rich in iron, calcium, essential fats, and folic acid.

Importance of Calcium

The human body requires calcium to keep the bones strong and healthy. When we eat foods that contain calcium, the calcium is absorbed and deposited into the bones and withdrawn as needed. As a result, we must consume an adequate amount of calcium daily to maintain healthy body bones.

Food rich in Calcium or upper-class food

The best sources of calcium come from dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy products are considered to be the best sources of calcium because they have a high content of calcium in a form that can be well absorbed by the body.

This is not to say that other non-dairy foods do not contain calcium. In addition to calcium, non-dairy food products also contain naturally occurring substances such as phytates, fiber, and oxalates. These naturally occurring substances interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the calcium in the foods.

Lactose Intolerance

If you are lactose intolerant you would have to resort to other foods too that are not as rich in calcium to meet your daily recommended calcium intake. Non-dairy foods that are high calcium include green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale, as well as, fish such as salmon and sardines.

Calcium Supplement: Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate

For some people, when it is almost not possible for them to meet their daily calcium requirements through their diet, they can choose to use a calcium supplement. When buying calcium supplements, choose those that are in the form of calcium citrate or calcium carbonate. As these forms of calcium are well absorbed by the body.

Also, keep in mind that most multivitamin and mineral supplements contain calcium in the form of calcium phosphate. Compared to calcium citrate and calcium carbonate.  So the body does not as well absorb calcium phosphate.

Calcium During Pregnancy and Baby Development

Most women do not get the proper amount of recommended daily calcium intake. As a result, these women have calcium deficiency at the time they conceive.

Intake of calcium is necessary during pregnancy for the development of the baby in the mother’s body. If the mother’s diet does not provide the amount of calcium needed, the calcium needed to help the baby’s development will be drawn from the mother’s bones. So, it is essential to ensure that the mother is getting enough calcium before and during her pregnancy.

Calcium After Pregnancy

The human body still building new bones until we are in our late 20s. During this time frame, more importantly after that, our body still needs calcium to maintain bone strength and to prevent osteoporosis (the bone-thinning disease)

Nutrition During Pregnancy: Folic Acid and Preventing Spina Bifida

During pregnancy, all nutrients are important to both the mother and the development of the baby. Special attention should be given to foods that are rich in iron, calcium, essential fats, and folic acid.

Folic Acid

Folic acid and vitamin B is also known as folate or folacin. We need folic acid because it helps our body to make new cells. Folic acid also helps to protect babies from developing neural tube defects (NTDs).

NTD is serious birth defects that may need life long medical attention and, more seriously, causing death at birth. NTDs occur before most women realize that they are pregnant, between the 3rd and 4th week after becoming pregnant. There are two major types of NTDs: Anencephaly and Spina Bifida.

Two Major Types of Neural Tube Defects: Anencephaly and Spina Bifida


Anencephaly is the partial or complete absence of the baby’s brain. Most babies with this birth defect are stillborn or die soon after birth. Spina bifida occurs when there is an opening of the spine. This happens when one or more vertebrae (the bones that form the backbone) fail to form properly leaving a gap or a split that causes damage to the central nervous system.

Spina Bifida

To prevent further damage, babies born with spina bifida need to have surgery shortly after birth to close the spine. Because the nerve damage is permanent, babies with spina bifida may have varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs. In addition to lacking feeling in their legs and later develop walking problems, spina bifida can also cause learning disabilities, and some babies may have mental retardation.

Folic Acid and Preventing Spina Bifida

Taking folic acid supplements every day can reduce the risk of spina bifida in unborn babies. Women of childbearing age should take folic acid supplements daily. Because neural tube defects occur before most women know that they are pregnant, taking folic acid prior to becoming pregnant and through the early weeks of pregnancy (approximately 12 weeks) can reduce the risk of NTDs in babies.

It is a safe and effective way for most women to prevent neural tube defects in their babies by taking 0.4 mg of folic acid every day. The best way to ensure that you’re getting an adequate amount of folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin pill that contains this amount of folic acid. For those who have a family history of neural tube defects, these women may need to take more than 0.4 mg.

Folic Acid Side Effects

It is rare to have an allergic reaction to folic acid. Reaction to folic acid can cause itching, rash, and general discomfort.

Folic acid and pregnancy

All pregnant women or non-pregnant should take the essential nutrients for good health and for a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid, calcium, and iron play a major role in the growth and development of your growing baby. It is an old saying your baby is what you eat. 

Folic acid is the essential nutrient that is needed for good health, but the attention should still be given to other vitamins and minerals.

Eating healthy and good nutrition before and during pregnancy is an important step to ensure babies are born healthy. So if you are pregnant and haven’t started any vitamin or iron supplements, then talk to your health care provider and start taking the important one.

More Interesting Stuff you like to Know :

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I am experienced health professional (B.Sc. Nursing, P.GD Nursing). I am passionate to provide valuable information about  Maternal and child Health. My goal is to provide the right  and trustworthy information about pregnancy and baby care.

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