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Phosphorus in your pregnancy diet

Why you need phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral that helps build strong bones in you and your developing baby. (About 85 percent of your body's phosphorus is found in bone.)

It's also important for muscle contractions, blood clotting, kidney function, nerve conduction, the repair of tissues and cells, and normal heart rhythm. Phosphorus helps the body generate and use energy.

How much phosphorous you need

Pregnant women: 700 milligrams (mg) per day

Breastfeeding moms: 700 mg

Women younger than 19: 1,250 mg per day

Should you take a supplement?

No. While most prenatal vitamins don't contain phosphorus, you can easily get all the phosphorus you need from a well-balanced diet. One cup of yogurt provides half of your phosphorus for the day, for example.

Phosphorus must be balanced with calcium and combined with vitamin D so your body can properly absorb it, which is why dairy products are such a good source of this mineral.

Food sources of phosphorous

Here are some good food sources of phosphorus:

  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt: 385 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked salmon: 251 mg
  • 1 cup nonfat milk: 247 mg
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans: 241 mg
  • 3 ounces halibut: 242 mg
  • 1 1/2 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese: 196 mg
  • 3 ounces lean beef patty: 189 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked turkey: 183 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked chicken breast: 180 mg
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils: 175 mg
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds: 173 mg
  • 3 ounces firm tofu: 163 mg
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, no salt: 142 mg
  • 1/2 cup canned pinto beans: 111 mg
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg: 86 mg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread: 57 mg

The signs of a phosphorous deficiency

Deficiencies are very rare and usually seen only in cases of starvation. Weakness, anemia, loss of appetite, and loss of bone mass are signs of a deficiency.

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