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. We would like to delve into this important issue, and share some key considerations for expecting and new mothers.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant changes, many of which are in service of nurturing the growing foetus. Everything the baby is from the mum. Each baby is about 5% bone loss for the mum. Although these changes are usually temporary and a woman’s bone health improves but may not return to normal post-pregnancy, in some cases, they 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 some 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.
Whilst 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 taken into consideration, especially for mothers who may be 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, taking into account the unique health profile of each mother.
Certain interventions can help mitigate the impact of pregnancy and lactopathy on bone health. These can include maintaining an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, regular weight-bearing exercise, and in some cases, medication.
The London Osteoporosis Clinic team is here to guide you in making the best decisions for your bone health during pregnancy and beyond. Our dedicated healthcare professionals can provide expert advice based on your personal 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 the health of their baby.
Remember, the management of 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 if you have any questions or concerns.