Dairy Free Pregnancy

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

Remember when your mum would 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.  

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

Sourced: Harvard Health Publishing

list of non dairy sources of calcium, kale, edame beans, cabbage, tofu, nuts, milk and breads

It is also important to get adequate amounts of calcium from the diet. Milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are the best sources of calcium, but other foods also contain some calcium. Many of the recipes on this site can be adapted and are good sources of calcium. Women who drink large amounts of fizzy drinks, particularly cola drinks, may also be more prone to bone problems, as the phosphorus in these drinks makes it harder for the body to absorb calcium.

Some women may avoid dairy products (milk, yoghurt and cheese) because they are lactose-intolerant or, more rarely, have a cows’ milk protein allergy, or because they choose a vegan diet.

Lactose is the sugar naturally occurring in milk and all milk-based products, and lactose intolerance is frequently found in some women of Asian and African descent.

It is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. Intolerance of dairy foods can be variable. Some people experience unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and nausea when they have even small amounts of lactose, while others can consume small amounts without severe effects.

If dairy foods are avoided for whatever reason, intake of calcium, riboflavin and iodine might be low, so it is important that good sources are included in the diet. Calcium: Unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives can be used instead of milk as a drink and in recipes. (Some brands of milk alternatives may also include vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which can be useful additions to the diet. However, milk alternatives on their own may not provide enough of these nutrients.)

Non-dairy sources of calcium include: spinach,
sardines, pilchards and other tinned fish eaten with the bones, tofu, soya drink fortified with calcium, bread, sesame seeds, peas, beans and lentils, dried fruit, oranges and egg yolk. Non-dairy sources of riboflavin include: kidney, malted drinks, fortified breakfast cereals, almonds, lean meat and poultry, and eggs.

  • Cut down on fizzy and soft drinks. One of the biggest risk factors for poor dental health is the frequent consumption of soft drinks, fizzy drinks, squashes, juices, smoothies and sports drinks. Drinking water, milk or unsweetened decaffeinated tea or coffee between meals will not damage teeth.
  • Avoid eating sugary snacks throughout the day – for example, sucking or chewing on sweets or eating biscuits regularly between meals. Teeth constantly bathed in sugar are more likely to decay.
  • Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • See a dentist and dental hygienist regularly.

Free dental treatment for pregnant women. All pregnant women are entitled to free NHS dental treatment during the pregnancy and for 12 months after the baby’s birth.

Women should be encouraged to use this service. Over-18s will need a MATB1 certificate (issued by a midwife or GP), or a valid prescription maternity exemption certificate (MatEx) if they are not otherwise entitled to free treatment because of their age or because they are on income support or certain other benefits.