Dairy Free Pregnancy

Dairy Free Pregnancy

Drink your milk, it’ll give you strong bones…

Remember when your mum use to tell you that you need to drink your milk everyday to get strong bones and teeth? Yep my mum still does it now and I’m almost 40, once a mum always a mum hey.

Minerals are inorganic substances that are crucial to the balanced functioning of our body. They help build bone, skin, tissue and teeth. ⠀⠀
Calcium is just one of 20 essential minerals that our body needs and is crucial in the development and growth of your baby’s bones and to help maintain the health of yours throughout pregnancy too. Calcium helps to build and maintain our bones, aids in the normal function of nerves and muscles and helps our blood clot normally too. ⠀ It’s especially crucial during puberty, old age and for those choosing to breastfeed.

Various dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt are all good examples of calcium rich food sources but what about if we’re following a vegan lifestyle or like so many of us, avoid dairy altogether and opt for almond milk, oat milk and the many other dairy alternatives out there. More and more people are turning to dairy free lifestyles as more and more people are discovering they show signs of intolerance and sensitivity.

Both my children were lactose intolerant when they were baby’s and were given specific formula to drink so for the first two years of their lives we opted to consume all non-dairy products. If you have a food allergy, or are excluding foods due to a food intolerance, its important to ensure that you are getting the sufficient nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy.  

Food allergies are relatively rare in adults, affecting only 1-2% of adults in the UK.  In fact, it is more common for allergies to appear in children and many of those are under the age of three.  Most will outgrow their food allergy or intolerance – as in the case of both my children outgrowing their milk intolerance.  However, peanut allergies are different and more often than not if you have an allergy to peanuts, it’ll be a life-long allergy.

If you’re following a vegan lifestyle you can still find plenty of calcium fortified foods out there such as breakfast cereals and breads. Green leafy vegetables such as kale and dairy alternatives that are fortified with calcium such as yogurts, rice and oat milk. Dairy-free diets are popular for many reasons and worldwide it is one of the biggest sensitivities.⁣

So, how much calcium do I need and where can I find it? Pregnant women need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day and women 18 and younger need 1,300 milligrams per day. If you can, try to aim for about four servings of calcium-rich foods daily. Dark green leafy vegetables, fish, and tofu are all rich in calcium. However, you find that you need to up your intake of these foods, especially your vegetables such as broccoli and kale as the body may not absorb these as well as the calcium rich foods from dairy sources. Below are some of the best non dairy sources of calcium.

  • Canned sardines in oil, with bones, 3 ounces—325 mg
  • Pink canned salmon with bones, 3 ounces—181 mg
  • Calcium-fortified soy milk, 8 ounces—299 mg
  • Firm tofu made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup—253 mg
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice, 6 ounces—261 mg
  • Calcium-fortified breakfast cereal,
    1 cup—100–1,000 mg
  • Corn tortilla, 6-inch—46 mg
  • Turnip greens, boiled, ½ cup—99 mg
  • Kale, cooked, 1 cup—94 mg
  • Bok choy, raw, 1 cup—74 mg
  • Broccoli, raw, ½ cup—21 mg