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Osteoporosis, a condition marked by weakened and brittle bones, is often associated with older age. However, it’s less known that this condition can also be associated with pregnancy and lactation. Here, we delve into this critical issue and share some key considerations for expectant and new mothers.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant changes, many of which are in service of nurturing the growing foetus. As a result, the gestation of each baby leads to around 5% bone loss for the mum. Although these changes are usually temporary and a woman’s bone health improves, it may not return to normal post-pregnancy; in some cases, this can lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Lactation also poses an interesting dynamic for bone health. Breastfeeding mothers experience an increased demand for calcium to produce breast milk, which can affect bone density. Research has indicated that some women may lose 5% of their bone mass every six months of breastfeeding. This is usually regained after breastfeeding ends, but for some women, particularly those breastfeeding for prolonged periods or those with a history of fractures, this may be a matter of concern.

While breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, including promoting bonding and providing optimal nutrition for the infant, the potential bone health impacts need to be considered, especially for mothers at higher risk of osteoporosis.

It’s vital to emphasise that this does not mean breastfeeding should be limited universally. Instead, these findings highlight the importance of individualised care. Decisions around breastfeeding duration should be made in consultation with your healthcare team, considering each mother’s unique health profile.

Specific interventions can help mitigate the impact of pregnancy and lactopathy on bone health. These can include maintaining an adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, regular weight-bearing exercise, and, in some cases, medication.

The London Osteoporosis Clinic team can guide pregnant or new mothers to make the best decisions for their bone health during pregnancy. Our dedicated healthcare professionals can provide expert advice based on your health circumstances.

Every woman’s experience with pregnancy and lactation is different. Our goal is to ensure that each mother is empowered with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their health and their baby’s health.

Remember, managing your health, including bone health during pregnancy and lactation, should always be personalised and discussed with your clinical team. It’s our mission to ensure your well-being and your baby’s throughout this journey. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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