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Why you need phosphorus during pregnancy
Phosphorus is a mineral that helps build strong bones in you and your developing baby. (About 85 percent of all the phosphorus in your body is found in your bones.)
This mineral is also important for muscle contractions, blood clotting, kidney function, nerve conduction, tissue and cell repair, and normal heart rhythm. Phosphorus helps the body generate and use energy.
How much phosphorus you need
Women age 19 and older: 700 milligrams (mg) per day
Women age 18 and younger: 1,250 mg per day
Phosphorus needs are the same for all women throughout adulthood – whether or not you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
Food sources of phosphorus
Here are some good food sources of phosphorus:
- 3 ounces Chinook salmon, cooked: 315 mg
- 1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt: 306 mg
- 1 cup nonfat milk: 247 mg
- 3 ounces halibut, cooked: 244 mg
- 3 ounces light turkey meat, cooked: 217 mg
- 3 ounces chuck steak, cooked : 179 mg
- 1/2 cup lentils, cooked: 178 mg
- 1 ounce almonds: 136 mg
- 1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese: 131 mg
- 1 ounce peanuts: 108 mg
- one large egg, hard boiled: 86 mg
- one slice whole wheat bread: 68 mg
(Note that 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.)
Should you take a supplement?
No, you can easily get all the phosphorus you need from a well-balanced diet (even though most prenatal vitamins don't contain phosphorus). For example, 1 cup of yogurt provides nearly half of your phosphorus for the day.
In order for your body to absorb phosphorus properly, it must be balanced with calcium and combined with vitamin D – that's why dairy products are such a good source of this mineral.
Phosphorus deficiencies are very rare and usually seen only in cases of starvation. Signs include weakness, anemia, loss of appetite, and loss of bone mass.