Calcium Intake during Pregnancy among White and African-American Pregnant Women in the United States

Emily W. Harville, Margaret Schramm, Margaret Watt-Morse, Kim Chantala, John J B Anderson, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize the calcium intake in a racially mixed cohort of pregnant women, including the contribution of supplementation and antacids. Methods: A cohort of women was interviewed twice during their pregnancies. The interviews included a food frequency questionnaire and questions on calcium supplementation and antacid intake. Pregnant women seeking prenatal care at a Pittsburgh hospital in the first trimester were enrolled. 454 women were enrolled and did not miscarry; 385 completed two interviews and were of white or African-American race. Results: Mean and median intakes of calcium were 1671 mg/day and 1482 mg/day. 36% of the women were under the former RDA level (1200 mg/day) for calcium, while 26% were under the current AI (1000 mg/day). Six percent were taking in less than 600 mg/day, and 15% over 2500 mg/day, the tolerable upper limit. Young women were particularly likely to have low intakes (12% of those less than 21 years of age had less than 600 mg/day). Black women were slightly overrepresented among those with low intake (8% vs. 5% of whites), but, overall, their intake was quite similar to whites. Milk and cheese provided more calcium than other food items. Many women took antacids, especially during the second half of pregnancy, and these were a major source of calcium for some members of the cohort. Conclusions: Although mean and median calcium intake in the cohort were above the AI, many women had calcium intakes that were too high or low. Dairy products provided the most calcium for most pregnant women, and antacids were an important source for many.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Antacids
  • Calcium
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Prenatal nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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