Intake of Phosphorus in Pregnancy: Importance & Food Sources

Phosphorus During Pregnancy – Importance, Daily Intake & Food Sources

While the diet of a pregnant woman must include a plethora of food from all the food groups and satisfy a craving palette, there are some vitamins and minerals crucial for the development of the foetus that needs to be included. One such mineral that needs attention today is phosphorous during pregnancy, which is essential for the bone development of the foetus and bone strengthening of the mother.

What Is Phosphorus?

Phosphorous is the second most plentiful mineral present in the body, and virtually 85% of it is found in the bones. Phosphorous is key to numerous bodily functions such as cellular repair, tissue growth & repair, nerve functioning, blood clotting, muscle movement, as well as kidney function. Furthermore, it is crucial for the proper development of teeth and bones. Phosphorous plays an essential structural role in the cell membrane and nucleic acids too.

Importance of Phosphorus in Pregnancy

Essential minerals are an important part of a pregnancy diet. Phosphorous plays a pivotal role in the proper development of the baby and bone strengthening of the mother. Here are a few functions of phosphorous for pregnant mothers:

1. It Is Required for Correct Bone Development

Phosphorus is mandatory for the right development of your child’s teeth and bones. Along with Vitamin D and calcium and, phosphorus formulates the foundation of healthy teeth and bones in an infant. It is key to maintaining an equilibrium between all three nutrients. A deficiency of any one of these can cause grave changes to a growing foetus.

2. It Is Essential for Bodily Health

Phosphorus is essential to keep a person from feeling exhausted and weary during pregnancy. It is a mineral that is required to maintain heart rhythm health and proper blood clotting. Through gestation, your body’s requirement for phosphorus surges. A deficiency of it in your diet can create irritability, bone and joint pain, and loss of appetite. An acute deficiency can lead to depression.

3. It Assists in the Regulation of Metabolism

A key role of phosphorus is to normalize metabolism and convert food to energy. When pregnant, your body requires additional energy to cope with the speedily occurring changes. A sufficient quantity of phosphorus from your meals will ensure that you regulate your metabolism and the food is suitably utilized by you.

4. It Is Indispensable for the Growth of the Baby’s Brain

Phosphorus and calcium together are responsible for the correct development of the foetus’s nervous system. It also improves brain development and cerebral activity. Nevertheless, it is to maintain a balance and not have too much phosphorous.

5. It Helps Ready the Baby’s Digestive System

Phosphorous is an essential mineral needed by your tiny baby during gestation to make its internal organs. It aids the baby’s body to integrate all the nutrients. It is also required for the development of the digestive system by increasing the gastric secretion of your baby’s body and readying it for excretion. Phosphorus is important for preparing your baby to work autonomously after they are born.

6. It Regulates the Suitable Transmission of Hereditary Traits

Phosphorus is known to be linked to the regulation of hereditary traits transferred to your baby. It plays a crucial role in DNA and RNA structure of the foetus. Within the first trimester of the pregnancy, phosphorus impacts the formation of the facial features of your baby. It also impacts their personality, talents, characteristics, and preferences. As the foetus develops, phosphorus supports them to react to diverse sounds and also to your moods.

Woman holding phosphorus supplement

Recommended Daily Intake of Phosphorus in Pregnancy

Phosphorous and pregnancy go hand in hand due to the various functions it supports. Pregnant women who are 19 years or older in age require approximately 700 mg per day. Women who are younger than 18 age would require 1,250 milligrams per day. The requirement remains standard throughout adulthood, and being pregnant or breastfeeding does not change the requirement. Your body would absorb lesser phosphorus if calcium levels are spiking, and vice versa. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of both.

Phosphorus Deficiency During Pregnancy

A deficiency of phosphorus is denoted as hypophosphatemia. Hypophosphatemia arises when phosphorus volumes in your blood fall too low. This causes your energy to drop. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and low tolerance to exercise. Insufficient phosphorus concurring with dropped levels of calcium and vitamin D can lead to weakened and softer bones over extended periods of time. It can cause muscle and joint pain. Phosphorus levels are firmly controlled by the body. Very low levels could be a sign of some other disorder like diabetes. Certain medications can be inhibitors of phosphorous absorption in the body, like insulin, antacids, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, and ACE inhibitors.

What Are Phosphorus Rich Food Sources?

Lean meats, milk, yoghurt, bread, beans, millet, lentils, and egg yolk are all great sources of phosphorous. Some of these sources of phosphorous are mentioned below with the amount of phosphorous contained:

  • 85.04 grams of cooked salmon has around 315 mg of phosphorous
  • A cup of plain yoghurt contains 306 mg
  • 1 cup of milk has 247 mg
  • 85.04 grams of cooked halibut fish has 244 mg
  • 85.04 grams of cooked turkey meat contains 217 mg
  • 85.04 grams of cooked steak contains 179 mg
  • 1/2 cup of cooked lentils comprise 178 mg of phosphorous
  • 28.3 grams of almonds have136 mg
  • 28.3 grams of partially skimmed mozzarella cheese contains 131 mg
  • 28.3 grams of peanuts have 108 mg
  • A large hardboiled egg contains 86 mg
  • A slice of whole wheat bread contains 68 mg

Can You Take Phosphorus Supplements in Pregnancy

If you have a healthy and well-balanced diet during pregnancy, you will not require phosphorous supplements. If you are taking any medication during pregnancy that may act as an inhibitor to phosphorous absorption, the doctor may suggest changes to your diet to make up for the deficit. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe supplements to a pregnant woman, but usually, a comprehensive diet covers any requirement for phosphorous. Therefore, there would be no need to take phosphorous during pregnancy unless advised by a medical practitioner.

Risk of too Much Phosphorus Intake During Pregnancy

An excess of phosphorous during pregnancy can be harmful to the mother and foetus and, in severe cases, can be toxic. An overdose of this essential mineral can instigate diarrhoea. In excess, it also inhibits the absorption of other essential minerals in the body. Large amounts of phosphorous have been known to create mineral deposits in your muscles and lead to tissue hardening in the body. Some people have also reported food poisoning. It is, therefore, essential to have an accurate mix of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous in your body. This is best done through the consumption of dairy products.

Phosphorous is a mineral that can be easily obtained from plant and animal sources. The body absorbs phosphorous better from animal sources like dairy, meat and eggs, though it is no reason for vegans to break into a sweat. Make sure you get tested for phosphate levels if you are feeling excessively fatigued during your pregnancy but speak to your doctor before you stock up on those phosphorous supplements. So, eat healthily, keep fit and let those ten tiny fingers and ten little toes develop in a well-nourished and blossoming manner!


1. Phosphorus; The Nutrition Source; Harvard T.H. Chan;,3%2C500%20and%204%2C000%20mg%2C%20respectively.

2. Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes; Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride; Phosphorus; Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US);; 1997

3. Phosphorus; Dietary supplement fact sheet; National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements;

4. Khayat. S, Fanaei. H, Ghanbarzehi. A; Minerals in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Review Article; J Clin Diagn Res.; PubMed Central;,8%2C%2014%2C17%5D.; September 2017

Also Read: Vitamins Intake during Pregnancy

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