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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Bone Health

Teen Pregnancy and Bone Health

Teenage mothers may be at especially high risk for bone loss during pregnancy and for osteoporosis later in life. Unlike older women, these mothers are still building much of their total bone mass during their teenage years. The unborn baby's need to develop its skeleton may compete with the teenage mother's need for calcium to build her own bones, compromising her ability to achieve optimal bone mass that will help protect her from osteoporosis later in life. Pregnant teens should be especially careful to get enough calcium during and after their babies are born to minimize any bone loss.

Breastfeeding and Bone Health

Breastfeeding also has an effect on a mother's bones. Studies have shown that women often lose 3 percent to 5 percent of their bone mass during breastfeeding, although it is rapidly recovered after weaning. This bone loss may be caused by the growing baby's increased need for calcium, which is drawn from the mother's bones. The amount of calcium the mother needs depends on the amount of breast milk produced and how long breastfeeding continues. Bone loss may also occur during breastfeeding because the mother produces less estrogen, the hormone that protects bones. The good news is that, like the bone lost during pregnancy, bone lost during breastfeeding is usually recovered within 6 months after breastfeeding ends.

Tips to Keep Bones Healthy During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Beyond

Taking care of your bones is important throughout life, including before, during, and after pregnancy and breastfeeding. A balanced diet with adequate calcium, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle are good for mothers and their babies.
7 Easy Tips for Starting Solids

Healthy Bones

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