Treating Lactose Intolerance During Pregnancy

Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. This is because the body does not produce enough (or possibly any) lactase, which is the enzyme that breaks lactose down into usable material. Approximately 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, which makes questions about managing lactose intolerance during pregnancy a common question.

How to treat lactose intolerance during pregnancy naturally

The most common symptom of lactose intolerance is digestion upset—usually characterized by gas, bloating, or diarrhea—after eating dairy products. You may also feel nauseous or begin cramping.

Although lactose intolerance is fairly common and easily managed by adjusting your diet, it is imperative that you supplement your diet with other foods that will supply you with the nutrients you and your baby need. The good news is that you can manage lactose intolerance dietary challenges during pregnancy.

When it comes to managing your lactose intolerance condition during pregnancy, it is important to make sure that you consult your healthcare provider. With lactose intolerance, it is important to be sure that you are receiving enough vitamin D and calcium.
There are several ways to ensure you are taking in these important nutrients:


There are a number of foods you can eat to get calcium, including salmon, almonds, kale, broccoli, okra, sardines, and pinto beans. It is suggested that you take in around 1,000mg of calcium a day. There are few foods that naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D, but eggs can be a good source of this nutrient. Limited sun exposure is another good source of vitamin D; however, it is important to make sure that you are not sitting in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.

Also, a number of food products can be fortified with vitamin D and calcium, including bread and orange juice. These are good sources of nutrients as well. In addition, a number of dairy products are also provided in lactose-free or lactose-reduced varieties.


Taking a prenatal vitamin helps you obtain crucial minerals and nutrients for your baby’s development. When choosing a prenatal vitamin, be sure that you pick one that contains calcium and vitamin D. Alternatively, you can take a calcium and vitamin D supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamin.

If you believe you may be lactose intolerant, it is important to speak with your doctor. There are several tests available that are able to detect lactose intolerance. It may be that you are able to eat some dairy products without side effects, but you should discuss your diet with your doctor to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need.

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Compiled using information from the following sources:

1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

2. Mayo Clinic

3. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)