Pregnancy and Bones Health
During pregnancy and breast-feeding mother has to provide significant amounts of calcium to fetus and baby. Fetus and neonate should get sufficient calcium as well as other minerals and nutrients. This calcium is granted from mother’s body, thinning her bones. For example, during breast-feeding, women lose from 300 to 400 mg of calcium daily through breast milk. World Health Organization advises to maintain exclusive breast-feeding for 6 month. During this period women loses 5–10% loss of skeletal mineral content. However, after weaning, the lost minerals are totally restored. Christopher S. Kovacs from Faculty of Medicine-Endocrinology, Health Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland studied the mechanism of adaptations in mineral metabolism during pregnancy and breast feeding and realized that human’s breast is able to regulate all the calcium exchange processes in the way that a baby receives all needed calcium and mother could fully restore it.
Basing on these results, the experts made up special recommendations and conclusions for mothers.
- During pregnancy and breast-feeding, your body is able to absorb calcium more efficient than while you are not pregnant.
- Maintain exclusive breast-feeding during first six month of your baby’s life.
- After your child turns 6 months, start complementary feeding, i.e. gradually introduce other food, but maintain frequent, on-demand breast-feeding.
- There is no need to stop breast-feeding after your child turns 1 year. After she turns 2 years, the breast-feeding may be either stopped, or continued, on your choice.
- For mother, it is better to make 4-5-year intervals between your children. Breast-feeding is a good contraceptive method. These long intervals are necessary in order to restore all calcium you have lost during pregnancy and breast-feeding. This will help to avoid calcium-deficiency risk and problems in future.
- In order to restore calcium and minerals you lose from your bones daily, you should eat in a special way and take mineral supplements. See the dietary hint below.
The dietary hint for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers: drink not less than 4 glasses of low-fat milk or yoghurt daily; one of your meals should contain about 300-400 grams of cheese or other calcium-rich products. Eat lots of vegetables, as they contain vitamins that help to absorb all minerals from food you eat. If you suffer from problems with teeth or bones, associated with bone loss, talk to your doctor about mineral supplements. Effective and well-known supplements that are usually advised are: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A&D, Coral Calcium, and Actonel.
As a bottom line, we may say, that according to the medical data, at the age of 50 and later women who have many children have the same bone density as women who has never been pregnant.