Lactose Intolerance during Pregnancy

Now that you have a baby to nourish inside of you, you will be required to ingest more calcium daily to secure your health and you baby’s health. You have to secure that you have enough calcium for both of you.

Calcium is very important during pregnancy for the baby and the mother.  Milk and other dairy products are the best sources of calcium. Yet some pregnant women cannot ingest or digest milk because of several reasons.

Sometimes the issue is not just about the taste but the feeling it leaves each time you drink milk. Drinking milk can sometimes give a gassy feeling, cramps, or diarrhea, if this kind of feeling happens several times it only mean that you are lactose intolerant.


Throughout your pregnancy, you may observe a different type of digestive discomforts and sensations. It is due to the changes which pregnancy causes at the digestive tract. You might experience indications that may lead you to becoming a lactose-intolerant.

But if you are already a lactose-intolerant, you may be noticing a major reduction in your symptoms now that you are pregnant. Throughout your pregnancy period, you are required to get at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day.

And being lactose intolerant can be a big problem since milk is the biggest and best source of acquiring calcium in your diet. This article will help you find means to deal with the issue of lactose intolerance without having stomach upsets.

Pregnancy week by week

What is lactose intolerance during pregnancy?

Those people, who cannot produce sufficient lactase, are lactose intolerant. Lactase is the enzyme that is in charge of digesting sugar or lactose. Lactose is the primary sugar found in animal and dairy products.

If you are lactose intolerant, it means that the undigested lactose remains in your intestines turns out to be a gastrointestinal concerns. Although it is not dangerous, it can be a bit of a concern as to how to get the calcium that you and your baby needed without getting sick.

But remember, lactose intolerance is not the same as cow’s milk intolerance. Even if their symptoms are very similar, allergy to cow’s milk is when your body reacts to the milk’s protein. And it is because of the immune system that causes the allergy.

When you are pregnant, the process of your digestion slows down and it is becoming more challenging to digest the basic dairy products. This is because of the hormone that is being produced by your body for the purpose of maximizing the nutrient’s absorption.

Nevertheless lactose intolerance is very common and can be fairly managed easily by making some adjustments on your diet.

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Rumbling stomach
  • Bloating
  • Nausea

After consuming foods that has lactose, the symptoms will usually emerge within two hours. But, the symptoms may vary depending on the person’s age and lactose sensitivity.

What causes lactose intolerance during pregnancy?

  • Women acquire lactose intolerance during pregnancy because of the increase in required calcium-rich daily intake necessary to nourish the baby inside the womb.
  • Another thing is the increase in hormone levels which causes the digestive system work so slowly. It is necessary to have slower digestion during pregnancy because it actually maximizes the amount of nutrition collected from the foods you eat. Unluckily, because of the slowing down of digestion, it can bring discomfort, constipation, cramps, and bloating.

Treatments available for lactose intolerance during pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is no medical process to treat lactose intolerance and the only ways to prevent or manage its symptoms are the following long list of important things to help you out:

  1. Try the virtue of substitution. If you cannot stand cow’s milk, you can try the following foods that have calcium instead:
    a) Vegetables: and how much of calcium do you get.
  • Collard greens- 268mg for every 190 grams, cooked.
  • Curly (scotch) kale- 172mg of calcium for every 130 grams, cooked.
  • Turnip greens- 197mg of calcium for every 144 grams, cooked.
  • Arugula (Rocket) – 3mg of calcium per leaf.
  • Kale- 94 milligrams of calcium per 130 grams, cooked.
  • Spinach- 30 milligrams of calcium per 30 grams, raw.
  • Watercress- 30 milligrams of calcium for every 10 sprigs or 25 grams.
  • Mustard greens, cooked- 64 milligrams of calcium for every 56 grams.
  • Broccoli Raab, Rapini, cooked- 516 milligrams for every bunch or 437 grams.
  • Beet Greens- 22 milligrams of calcium for every half of cup or 19 grams.
  • Chinese cabbage or Pak Choi- 882 milligrams for every 840 grams or per head.
  • Okra- 78 milligrams of calcium for every eight pods or for every 95 grams.
  • Garden cress- 1 milligram of calcium for every gram or per sprig.
  • Spring onions- 11 milligrams of calcium for every 15 grams.
  • Leeks- 4 milligrams of calcium for every slice or for every 6 grams.
  • Swiss Chard- 18 milligrams of calcium for every 36 grams, raw.
  • Snap beans, cooked- 32 milligrams of calcium for every half of cup or 58 grams.
  • Endive- 267 milligrams of calcium for every 513 grams.
  • Fennel- 115 milligrams of calcium for each bulb or 234 grams.
  • Cabbage, cooked- 606 milligrams of calcium per each head.
  • Butternut squash, cooked- 84 milligrams of calcium for every 205 grams.
  • Broccoli- 15 milligrams of calcium for every pear or for every 31 grams.
  • Artichokes, Globe- 56 milligrams of calcium in a medium size or 128 grams.
  • Celeriac, cooked- 40 milligrams of calcium for every 155 grams.
  • Rutabagas (swede)- 83 milligrams of calcium for every small rutabagas or 192 grams.
  • Brussels sprouts- 8 milligrams of calcium for every sprout or for every 19 grams.
  • Celery, cooked- 32 milligrams of calcium for every 75 grams or for every two stalks.
  • Sweet potato- 43 milligrams of calcium for every 114 grams.
  • Parsnips- 56 milligrams of calcium for every 160 grams.
  • Green Lettuce- 130 grams of calcium for every 360 grams.
  • Lima beans, cooked- 54 milligrams of calcium for every 170 grams.
  • Carrots- 20 milligrams of calcium for every 61 grams.
  • Turnips- 76 milligrams of calcium for every 230 grams.b) Fruits :
  • Rhubarb- 44 milligrams of calcium per stalk.
  • Kumquats- 12mg of calcium for every 19 grams.
  • Black Currants- 31mg of calcium for every 56 grams servings.
  • Oranges- 52mg for every 131 grams.
  • Tangerines- 33mg for every 88 grams.
  • Figs- 14mg for every small fig or for every 40 grams.
  • Green Kiwi Fruit- 23mg for every 69 grams.
  • Limes- 22 milligrams of calcium for every 67 grams.
  • Clementine- 22 milligrams of calcium for every 74 grams.
  • Blackberries- 21 milligrams of calcium for every 72 grams.
  • Persimmons- 7 milligrams of calcium for every 25 grams.
  • Lemons- 22 milligrams of calcium for every 84 grams.
  • Raspberries- 5 milligrams of calcium for every 19 grams.
  • Pink Grapefruit- 27 milligrams of calcium for every 123 grams.
  • Papaya- 31 milligrams of calcium for every 157 grams.
  • Guavas- 10 milligrams of calcium for every 55 grams.
  • Strawberries- 3 milligrams for every 18 grams.
    c) Others:
  • Sardines- 321 milligrams of calcium in approximately seven sardines fillet.
  • Salmon with bones- 232 milligrams of calcium for every half of can. Take note that the salmon should have bones because it is the bone that holds all the calcium.
  • Tofu- 350 milligrams of calcium for every 100 grams serving.
  • Almonds- 264 milligrams of calcium for every 100 grams.
  • Yogurt- has 110 milligrams of calcium for every 100 grams.
  • Cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Cottage, Parmesan, and Swiss.)- Generally, a slice of cheese or 100 grams contains 721 milligrams of calcium. It has a very generous amount of calcium just like milk but cheese has very low lactose content and will be very helpful to your stomach that is lactose intolerant.

It can also be very helpful to speak with your doctor or consult a dietitian to help you come up with a dietary plan. Having a dietary plan can be very beneficial since without eating or drinking dairy foods, hitting the target calcium intake of 1,200 milligrams every single day can be a bit of a challenge to achieve if you are lactose intolerant.

Except of course, if you will make use of the lists I provided above to plan your diet.

  1. Try to gradually introduce milk or milk products in small amount to help your stomach adapt to it. The stomach can better tolerate milk products of you have them with meals, like drinking milk with cereals, eating crackers with cheese. Pregnant women who are lactose intolerant are more likely to stand having hard cheeses on their diet like cheddar cheese instead of a glass of milk.  An ounce of low-fat hard cheese contains less than one gram of lactose, while a cup of low-fat milk has about eleven to thirteen grams of lactose.
  2. You can also supply yourself with lactose-reduced and lactose-free milk products and other dairy products. These lactose-free and lactose-reduced dairy products are practically available in the supermarkets which are convenient to grab and purchase. They are as nutritious as regular milk and other milk products. These product types are being treated with lactase enzyme, this enzyme is the one who breaks down the lactose in the milk product. Its freshness is just about the same time length as the regular milk or quite longer than the regular milk product if it is ultra-pasteurized. These types of products are slightly sweeter than the usual milk product.
  3. You can also ask your doctor if you can take calcium supplement. Take note that since you are pregnant, you cannot just purchase medicines or vitamins without having the advice of your doctor. Keep an open communication with your health provider, a general rule that will make you and your baby safe.

You are not obliged to drink milk during pregnancy to ensure the baby’s health, but you have to make sure to get sufficient calcium in any way you can. You will be thankful to know that even if you neglect your calcium intake, your baby will eventually turn out fine because your body will definitely find its way to get the calcium needed to distribute to your growing baby inside.

The source will be your bones and teeth!! Yeah, that is right!

So, if you do want to end up having a long-term effect on your health like losing some of your teeth and acquiring osteoporosis, you better help yourself baby!