Osteoporosis most often occurs in women who are post-menopausal. That puts the age range at 50 and above. But, there have been reports of osteoporosis becoming a concern for pregnant women. Is there a correlation between pregnancy and osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a painful condition that results in brittle bones due to bone density loss. You can suffer a fracture from the simplest of tasks that otherwise wouldn’t cause an injury. Osteoporosis can result from a lack of proper calcium in the bones.
Calcium is a mineral that is used by the bones to keep them strong. When it is not present, the bone gets weaker. This has been seen in women in later stages of life.
Pregnancy is a new area where osteoporosis has been reported. During pregnancy, the mother’s body acts as a carrier for her unborn child. Everything that the fetus needs comes from the mother’s systems. It is important to eat properly at this time so that the baby and the mother get the nutrients that they need. For baby, these nutrients are helping their body to form.
The human body is a wonderful machine. When a woman is pregnant, her body goes through changes. Because the baby’s body is building bone, it requires more calcium, most often during the second and third trimesters. The mother’s body compensates with greater absorption of calcium.
The body also prepares for the extra weight of the baby. More estrogen is produced to help build stronger bone to carry the weight. At every turn the body is prepared for the baby’s presence.
So, why is osteoporosis showing up in pregnant women? There are a few reasons. One, the mother may have certain factors present in her life that predispose her to osteoporosis. When she becomes pregnant, the changes in her body cause the condition to manifest.
There is some suggestion that breastfeeding can lead to loss of bone. When mothers are lactating, more calcium is needed to meet the demand of the baby. Estrogen levels are lower at this time, almost like they are when a woman goes through menopause. Her bone density can be compromised at this time and this can result in osteoporotic fractures. In some studies, however, it seems that women who have more children are at a lower risk for osteoporosis than women who have never had a child.
The good news in all this is that the state of osteoporosis during pregnancy can be reversed. After delivery and also after cessation of breastfeeding, the condition seems to correct itself.
So, is it a major concern for women? It doesn’t appear to be at the moment, but scientists are watching to see if osteoporosis during pregnancy becomes a more common occurrence.