How to maintain bone health during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the baby grows in the womb every minute, which causes some severe changes to a woman's body. As a result, the human body can't make or store calcium for the future. So, it has to be taken through daily food and supplements. A pregnant woman is always suggested to have at least 1000 mg of calcium every day. If you are 18 or younger, include at least 1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet. In addition, due to the baby's growth and weight, your body demands more calcium to carry the weight. Women start losing bone density due to hormonal changes even in a normal healthy pregnancy.
How does pregnancy affect bone health?
During pregnancy, you and your baby need extra precautions; the woman needs extra calcium to develop the skeleton. Especially during the first trimester (the first 3 months). If you don't get enough calcium, the baby will take it from the mother's bone, resulting in weaker bones and even osteoporosis if left untreated. In addition, bone resorption and formation increase significantly during pregnancy. Fortunately, pregnancy helps protect calcium in a woman's body in several ways:
- Pregnancy naturally increases calcium absorption through food sources and supplements. This happens especially in the last half of pregnancy when the baby grows faster and requires more calcium.
- During pregnancy, a woman produces more estrogen, a hormone that protects her bone health.
- If any bone loss problem happens during pregnancy, it is resolved naturally after seven months of delivery or after several months of breastfeeding.
Some studies also say pregnancy is a good thing to boost bone health. According to some experts, pregnancy helps increase bone density in future and lowers the risk of fracture. But this statement is still a matter of debate as we have no evidence in this context. Very rarely do women develop osteoporosis in pregnancy. Sometimes it also happens due to genetic issues, but it can be solved easily after they stop breastfeeding. So, it's clear that women who get pregnant in their late 20s or early 30s can quickly recover from bone density issues, whereas pregnant women in their late 30s or early 40s can face a few challenges.
Tips for maintaining bone health during pregnancy:
Eat calcium-enriched food:
Calcium is the building block of bones and provides countless benefits to the human body regulating nerve and muscle function, blood clotting, etc. During pregnancy, your body naturally prioritizes the fetus's needs, even if it won't mind stealing minerals from your bones and teeth. So, during pregnancy, you must keep your health first and take steps accordingly. Gulp some milk and chew some dairy products to amp up calcium level for that little but growing inside you. If you are allergic to dairy products, you can also opt for milk, tofu, and leafy green vegetables like kale, watercress, etc. You can also take plant-based calcium supplements like andMe's women's calcium tablets. These calcium tablets consist of the goodness of Amla, Zinc, and Vitamin D. It boosts your overall bone and muscle health and increases calcium absorption in your body.
Caution: Not all cheese is suitable for pregnancy; try eating soft cheese like brie, camembert, or soft blue cheese.
Take adequate Vitamin D:
Adequate calcium is not the only requirement for stronger bones; you must also have enough Vitamin D. Getting enough sunshine is the most natural way to nourish your baby's skeletal system. Calcium and Vitamin D work as a team to build up your bones and muscles. While calcium build the bones, Vitamin D increases the absorption and utilization of the calcium in the body. During your pregnancy, get sunlight exposure daily for at least 15 minutes. You can also load up your diet with healthy food options like egg yolks and oily fish like Salmon or Mackerel.
Eat a balanced diet:
In pregnancy, nutrition always comes first. Making healthy food choices will stimulate your baby's healthy growth. In addition, you can easily keep a check on your weight through a proper diet. For bolstering bones, it is essential for pregnant women to eat a well-balanced diet that includes and meets all the nutritional requirements. Your body needs other minerals and nutrients like:
- - Vitamin K for bone formation
- - Vitamin C for structuring bones
- - Magnesium for utilising the calcium properly
- - Zinc for osteoblast activity (an activity that aids the bone creation process)
- - Omega 3 fatty acids for bone mineral density
- - Eat wholesome grains, fruits, and veggies in abundance to ace the bone health business.
- - Exercise safe and daily:
Exercising is the only way to tackle all the pregnancy tantrums like swelling, bloating, constipation, mood swings, sleeplessness, and sluggishness. In addition, physical activity under proper guidance benefits the baby's growth and strengthens your bone enough to carry the baby's weight.
- - Warm-up prior to exercising.
- - After exercising, relax for some time before you move on with the schedule.
- - Try to be active in your daily routine; increase your step counts.
- - Avoid intense exercising
- - Drink plenty of water after the workout
- - Avoid activities like downhill, ice-skating, or cycling.