Have you ever heard of being lactose intolerant during pregnancy? Even if women never have any issues with dairy before, they might become lactose intolerant during pregnancy. Many of us know how important calcium is for a pregnant woman, as it helps to build strong bones and teeth in the developing baby. And almost every pregnant woman is advised to have milk every day to meet the calcium requirement.
Now you might think how pregnant women can get calcium if they are lactose intolerant? Well, there are many foods other than dairy products which are rich in calcium. Pregnant women who become lactose intolerant can consume these foods to get enough calcium for them and their developing babies. To get a clear idea about lactose intolerance, let us know what it is.
What Is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the lack of lactase, the enzyme which is needed to digest lactose. Lactose is the main sugar found in animal milk and other dairy products. When the body cannot produce enough lactase, the lactose present in the consumed dairy products remains undigested and stays in the intestine; this makes person lactose intolerant and causes gastrointestinal problems. Though lactose intolerance isn′t dangerous, it is quite uncomfortable.
What are the Signs of Lactose Intolerance During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women who are lactose intolerant can experience abdominal pain, bloating, cramping and gas after consuming the dairy products.
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How will Lactose Intolerance Affect Mother and Baby
Lactose intolerance doesn′t affect the baby in any way. Even if the mother doesn′t get enough calcium for her baby, her body will draw calcium from the bones and teeth required for the growth of the baby. This can have devastating long-term effects on mother′s health, causing osteoporosis in the later stage of life.
How can A Pregnant Woman get Enough Calcium with Lactose Intolerance?
Pregnant women who are lactose intolerant may need calcium supplements and a non-dairy, calcium-rich diet. This helps to make up for the loss of calcium from the dairy products. Some of the non-dairy sources of calcium include:
- Leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Soya milk
- Sesame seeds
- Whole grains
Never forget that Vitamin D is essential for maximum absorption of calcium in the body. Get regular exposure to sunlight and include foods that are good sources of Vitamin D such as eggs, fish. Women who do not eat eggs and fish should speak to their doctor to get suitable supplements of Vitamin D.
How can Lactose Intolerance be Prevented?
Lactose intolerance cannot be prevented, but can be managed by following specific guidelines. They include:
- Do not include the dairy products in the diet.
- Maintain a food diary and note down the foods you eat. This can help to pinpoint which foods are causing the symptoms.
- Check the food labels and look out for the milk or dairy-based ingredients and avoid those foods.
If symptoms continue to persist despite your best efforts, consult a dietician to rule out any hidden lactose triggers in the diet.