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.
Although this important mineral is important throughout your lifetime, your body’s demand for calcium 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 of calcium 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 probably will prescribe a vitamin and mineral supplement to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure that you get enough of this important mineral.
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 weight training. Exercising during pregnancy can benefit your health in other ways, too.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, being active during pregnancy can:
- help reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
- help prevent or treat gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that starts during pregnancy)
- 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.
Before you begin or resume an exercise program, talk to your doctor about your plans.
Smoking is bad for your baby, bad for your bones, and bad for your heart and lungs. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. He or she can suggest resources to help you. Alcohol also is bad for pregnant and breastfeeding women and their babies, and excess alcohol is bad for bones. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders to avoid alcohol during this important time.
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