Calcium intake from diet and supplement use during early pregnancy: the Expect study I

Jessica P. M. M. Willemse*, Linda J. E. Meertens, Hubertina C. J. Scheepers, Nina M. J. Achten, Simone J. Eussen, Martien C. van Dongen, Luc J. M. Smits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose Adequate calcium intake during pregnancy is of major importance for the health of both mother and fetus. Up to date, evidence on the prevalence of inadequate calcium intake among pregnant women is sparse for Western countries, and it is unknown to what extent inadequate dietary calcium intake is adequately balanced by supplement use. The objective of this study was to estimate calcium intake from diet and supplement use during the early pregnancy in The Netherlands. Methods As part of the Expect cohort study, 2477 pregnant women (8-16 weeks of gestation) completed an online questionnaire including questions on baseline characteristics, the use of calcium containing supplements, and a short food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Intake data were used to calculate median calcium intakes from diet, from supplements, and combined, and to compare these values with currently accepted requirement levels. Results Forty-two percent of the pregnant women had a total calcium intake below the estimated average requirement of 800 mg/day. Median (interquartile range) calcium intake was 886 (611-1213) mg/day. Calcium or multivitamin supplements were used by 64.8% of the women at 8 weeks of gestation, with a median calcium content of 120.0 (60.0-200.0) mg/day. Prenatal vitamins were the most often used supplements (60.6%). Conclusions Forty-two percent of Dutch pregnant women have an inadequate calcium intake. Supplements are frequently used, but most do not contain sufficient amounts to correct this inadequate intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Calcium intake
  • Pregnancy
  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Dairy products
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • FOOD

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