How will pregnancy affect my bones?

Bone health is an important issue for all women, especially during pregnancy. This is because of the increased nutritional requirements placed on the mother, some of which may affect bone health. During pregnancy, the growing baby needs plenty of calcium in order to develop a skeleton. This is particularly the case in the last trimester, a time of rapid growth. If the mother doesn’t get enough calcium from dietary sources to fulfill this need, the baby will draw from calcium stored in the mother’s bones.1

Fortunately, studies show that although bone loss may occur during pregnancy, a woman usually regains any lost bone density after giving birth. Having children also doesn’t increase your risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. Some research suggests that pregnancy can even reduce a woman’s chance of fractures and reduced bone mass later on in life.2 The body helps to protect the mother’s calcium reserves during pregnancy in different ways: pregnant women absorb calcium from their diet and supplements more efficiently than normal and also produce more estrogen, which has a protective effect on bones.1

It’s still important that pregnant women consume a healthy diet during pregnancy in order to ensure optimal health of both mother and baby. Recommendations for calcium intake during pregnancy are the same as for women who are not pregnant, 1000mg per day. Expecting Mums don’t require higher amounts as you would think because of the increased amount of calcium absorbed during pregnancy. Enough calcium can usually be obtained from three to four servings of dairy per day. One serving is equal to a glass of milk, a tub of yoghurt or two slices of cheese.3