Pregnancy can be an exciting, yet equally scary, time in a woman’s life. So many changes are going on in the body at once, and we often feel as if we simply have no control over any of it.
In my case, I was pregnant and nursing for five years straight, as I had three boys in three years, and I breastfed all of them for no less than 15 months each. (Yes, do the math, I did breastfeed while I was pregnant! And I was working! And I was in graduate school!) However, I survived! That is not to say the whole physical experience did not take its toll on my body. It did. I simply made sure to eat right and exercise every day. With my third son, I was actually on the treadmill one morning at the end of the pregnancy, and five hours after I got off the treadmill and took a shower, he was born! I was also able to bounce back quickly!
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can affect our bone health., but not as badly as I had originally suspected. According to the health web site, www.niams.nih.gov, when a baby is in its mother’s womb, it requires plenty of calcium to meet the demands of its growing skeleton, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. If the mother is not taking in enough calcium, the baby will draw what it needs from her bones. Unfortunately, most pregnant women are not getting enough calcium, but pregnancy does protect her reserves in certain ways:
**During pregnancy, a woman produces more estrogen, the hormone that protects the bones.
**Any bone mass lost during pregnancy is usually restored within a several months after delivery or after breastfeeding is stopped.
**Pregnant women absorb calcium from food and supplements better than non-pregnant women.
The site goes on to suggest that pregnancy might actually be of benefit to overall bone health. Some studies have shown that the more times a woman is pregnant, the greater her bone density is and the less risk she will have of a fracture.
From an elementary perspective, the best way to ensure good bone health during pregnancy is to allow for the following:
**Get plenty of calcium.