Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Bone Health

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Bone Health

Vitamin D is an important regulator of calcium levels in the body, key for ensuring a low maternal risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked with an almost 400% increase of primary caesarean section risk.

The fetus is entirely reliant on vitamin D from the mother, required for developing a healthy immune system, lungs and bones. We absorb vitamin D from the sun as well as our diet, with food groups such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel and tuna), egg yolks, mushrooms and meat all rich sources. Calcium is also important and sufficient quantities can be consumed through a balanced diet including milk, cheese, yoghurt, green vegetables and chickpeas. Pregnant women actually absorb calcium from food and supplements better.

Bone mass can be reduced by 3-5% in nursing mothers due to their infant’s increased need for calcium but rest assured that any bone mass lost during will typically be restored within several months after the baby’s delivery, or after breast feeding stops.

Adequate levels of vitamin D may prevent bone disorders such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. During pregnancy, women produce more estrogen, a hormone that provides the bones with increased protection.

If you believe you may have low vitamin D or calcium levels speak to your healthcare professional to get the necessary tests and guidance. Although there are risks to insufficient levels getting too much can also have negative effects on the body and any additional supplementation, particularly when you are pregnant, or breastfeeding should be controlled and monitored by a healthcare professional.