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Do I need calcium supplements post delivery?

Q: I am 27 years old and a mother of a six months old baby. After delivery my bones and teeth have become weak. I always suffer from back pain and shoulder pain and I cannot carry my baby for more than five minutes due to pain in shoulders. My dentist also says that my teeth are weakening day by day, so I have to add calcium in my food. My doctor recommended me to take Shelcal and Orofer XT daily after dinner. I have taken this for three months but it didn't help. I request you to please suggest me which food items should I take so as to improve by bones and teeth. Is it true that calcium makes one gain weight, because I have gained a lot of weight in the last four months?

A:During pregnancy, a mother’s body performs the ultimate act of self-sacrifice — it gives of its own. If a needed nutrient is not coming in through the mother’s mouth, her body will strip itself of that nutrient and feed it to the baby. The perfect example is calcium — if there’s not enough in the diet, a woman’s body gives up the calcium in her teeth and bones for the baby, even if it means losing them. Hence if this could have occurred then you must ensure you increase your calcium intake. You must try to obtain your nutrition from food, not supplements. Calcium is present in both animal and plant foods

  • The richest source of Calcium among animal foods is milk and milk products - Butter milk - Skim milk - Cheese
  • The richest source among vegetables sources is green leafy vegetable group. - Amaranth - Fenugreek - Drumstick leaves - Tapioca (among root vegetables)
  • Most cereals and millets contain some amount of this element - Millet - Ragi - Pseudo cereals like grain amaranth (Rajkeera) Rice is a poor source of calcium and therefore insufficiency of calcium is one of the main defects of diets largely based on rice. Avoid consuming your calcium supplement with tea or coffee as the phytates present in tea and coffee could prevent the absorption. Preferably consume the calcium from milk and milk products, such as low-fat and non-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt, are sources of calcium dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, methi, turnip greens, cabbage, mustard, alfalfa, broccoli, canned fish (especially sardines, tuna) with bones, and cooked dried beans and peas. Calcium supplements do not make you gain weight. Pregnancy and the time after you deliver your baby can be wonderful, exciting, emotional, stressful, and tiring, all at once. Experiencing this whirlwind of feelings may cause you to overeat, and you should now try and get your eating pattern back to the pre-pregnancy quantity. Proper posture while sitting, standing or getting up is also important. Here’s a stretch that you might find useful for the arm and upper back:
  • Raise your arms over your head keeping your elbows straight with your palms facing one another and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Lower your arms out to your side, palms facing downward. Keep your upper back straight.
  • Bring the backs of your hands together as far as possible behind your back and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times and also protect your back.
  • Try not to carry your child by supporting him/her on your hip. This causes your spine to twist.
  • Slings with padded shoulder supports are recommended.
  • Dress your baby, sitting on the bed next to him/her or at the changing table rather than leaning over.
  • Avoid sitting with rounded shoulders and leaning over the baby.
  • Kneel next to the bathtub when bathing a toddler.
  • When talking to a child, bend at the knees and get down instead of bending over. Practicing yoga very useful. The Asanas can be very useful for physical well-being.

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