Bones in pregnancy, how to take care of them

Who I am
Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 What is osteoporosis 
  • 2 Bones in pregnancy: calcium intake
  • 3 Bones in pregnancy: what foods to eat 
  • 4 Bones in pregnancy: 10 useful tips at the table
  • 5 Bones in pregnancy: sunshine and vitamin D
  • 6 Bones in pregnancy and physical activity

One of the aspects that should not be overlooked when expecting a baby is bone health. Do you think this is negligible? This is absolutely not the case. To avoid having problems both during pregnancy and after, attention should be paid to the musculoskeletal system. Remember that as time goes by, the bones become "impoverished" and, if you do not take special precautions, the risk is to go into osteoporosis. This is why getting the right amounts of calcium is essential. So let's see how to take care of the bones in pregnancy. 



What is osteoporosis 

Osteoporosis is a disease caused by a progressive demineralization of the bones which therefore become more fragile. One of the typical consequences of osteoporosis are fractures that also occur in a rather trivial way. In Del Paese it is a fairly frequent problem. It is estimated that around 5 million people suffer from it.

The subjects who tend to be more affected by osteoporosis are women in menopause (about 80 percent of cases). According to some studies reported by the Ministry of Health, 23 percent of the population over 40 and 14 percent of men over 60 are affected.

Prevention is the watchword globally. It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization has often urged the various countries to set up real awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the risks of osteoporosis and prevent them. The key point, dear mothers, is that you have to play ahead, avoiding some mistakes early, such as low calcium intake during pregnancy.



Bones in pregnancy: calcium intake

How many changes do we face when we are expecting a baby! There is not a single apparatus of our body that is not "hit" by this "revolution". For example, think about the spine, which has to bear the weight of the growing abdomen. Or think of all the ligaments, subjected to considerable stress. In short, the problem is not just osteoporosis.

Calcium is, as everyone knows, the substance that most helps strengthen bones. It is the mineral most present in the human body. It is found mostly in bones and teeth (99 percent) and only a very small part (1 percent) in soft tissue and extracellular fluids. Vitamin D plays a very important role in calcium metabolism and bone mineralization.

During pregnancy, this mineral is essential for neonatal development. Through the placenta, the mother passes calcium to her baby, which serves to "build" and make the skeleton strong. It may seem strange, but already when she is in the belly, the foundations for a healthy life are laid. 

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the need increases significantly. The fetus needs 50 mg per day of calcium in the second trimester and 330 mg at the end of the third trimester. WHO recommends taking 1,5-2 grams per day from the 20th week of pregnancy to full term to meet the needs of mothers and babies. 

Remember that if enough calcium is not ingested, maternal reserves begin to be "affected". Here, then, that the mother could begin to have for example some problems with her teeth. So make sure that your tables never lack calcium-rich foods. If food intake is reduced, the gynecologist might suggest a supplement. Otherwise it is not necessary. 



Bones in pregnancy: what foods to eat 

Proper nutrition during pregnancy it is a pass to well-being. We have already had the opportunity to say that in the diet of an expectant mother, no nutrients must be lacking. Some foods are the main source of calcium. In particular, the Ministry of Health recommends: 

  • Milk and derivatives (such as yogurt and cheeses).
  • Blue fish, octopus, squid, shrimp.
  • Legumes (especially chickpeas, lentils, cannellini beans, borlotti beans and black eye).
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts).
  • Green vegetables (rocket, turnip greens, broccoli, artichokes, spinach, thistles).
  • Orange juice.

The calcium contained in vegetables is assimilated to a lesser extent than in dairy products. Unfortunately, cooking always reduces the amount of nutrients, a bit like it happens for example with folate present in vegetables. 

Bones in pregnancy: 10 useful tips at the table

The ministry has created a real decalogue with advice on how to take on football sufficiently and correctly. 

  • Drink at least one cup of milk (200 ml) every day, preferably partially skimmed.
  • Fai ogni giorno one spuntino ricco di calcium: one natural yogurt or alla frutta (125 gr) or a frullato di frutta e latte. 
  • Drink at least 1,5 liters of water every day, preferably rich in calcium.
  • Consume a portion of cheese per week (100 grams of fresh cheese such as mozzarella, crescenza, quartirolo, etc. or 60 grams of aged cheese such as parmesan, parmesan, fontina, provolone, etc.).
  • Eat calcium-rich fish 3 times a week (anchovies, squid, octopus, crustaceans or molluscs etc.).
  • Avoid the intake of foods rich in calcium together with foods rich in oxalates such as spinach, turnips, legumes, parsley, tomatoes, grapes, coffee, tea because these substances would prevent their absorption. For example, combining cheese and spinach means wasting a portion of the calcium contained in the former.
  • Reduce the use of table salt and sodium-rich foods (sausages, nuts, canned or pickled foods): excess sodium increases calcium loss with urine. 
  • Avoid consuming a high quantity of protein perché by increasing the elimination of calcium with urine. 
  • Do not exceed with gli alimentary integrali or ricchi di fiber perché a giusto apporto è salutare, more possono ridurre l'assorbimento di calcium.
  • Limit alcohol because it decreases calcium absorption and reduces the activity of cells that "build bone".

Bones in pregnancy: sunshine and vitamin D.

We mentioned the importance of vitamin D in absorbing the calcium present in food and, consequently, promoting the good health of women. To do this, you need to expose yourself to sunlight. Ultraviolet rays (UVB) allow vitamin D to be synthesized in the skin. Being outdoors for an hour a day, exposing hands, arms and face to the sun already allows a good production of vitamin D. The problem is that the skin must not be protected by sunscreens that hinder the absorption of UVA rays and UVA which in the long run can be harmful. Therefore, the exposure must absolutely not be too prolonged.



Vitamin D is found in some foods such as liver, egg yolk, fatty fish (salmon, tuna), meat. Cooking, however, almost completely destroys it. This is why supplementation by mouth with specific supplements becomes important in some cases. Due to its beneficial effects (cardiovascular protection, prevention of rickets and some infections, etc.), vitamin D is also administered to children at least up to the first year of age. 

Bones in pregnancy and physical activity

Bone health in pregnancy also depends on movement. Keeping fit, obviously without exaggerating, has positive repercussions on the entire musculoskeletal system, as well as improving the general state of the future mother. If she doesn't move, she more often experiences pain, back pain, muscle problems. 

There is no need to train for the Olympics. It is enough to take a brisk walk even three times a week, some gentle gymnastics exercises or Pilates classes. Swimming is also good because the water lightens the weight of the belly and relieves any back pain, especially in the third trimester. 

To strengthen the bones properly, it would be better to exercise outdoors, so that the vitamin D makes calcium assimilate well. 

Share Share Share Share
add a comment of Bones in pregnancy, how to take care of them
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.