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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Bone Health

Calcium

Although this vital mineral is important throughout your lifetime, your body's demand for it is greater during pregnancy and breastfeeding because both you and your baby need it. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume 1,000 mg (milligrams) of calcium each day. For pregnant teens, the recommended intake is even higher: 1,300 mg a day.
 
Good sources of calcium include:
 
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy
  • Canned sardines and salmon with bones
  • Tofu, almonds, and corn tortillas
  • Foods fortified with calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, and breads.
     
In addition, your doctor will probably prescribe a vitamin and mineral supplement to take during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding to ensure that you get enough of this important mineral.
 

Exercise

Like muscles, bones respond to exercise by becoming stronger. Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity, helps build and maintain strong bones. Examples of weight-bearing exercise include walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and lifting weights. Being active and exercising during pregnancy can benefit your health in other ways, too. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it can:
 
  • Help reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
  • Help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  • Increase energy
  • Improve mood
  • Improve posture
  • Promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance
  • Help you sleep better
  • Help you get back in shape after your baby is born.
     
It is important to talk to your doctor about your plans before you begin or resume an exercise program during pregnancy.
 
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