~ Dr Abhijit Kale, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, S.L Raheja Hospital – A Fortis Associate Hospital ~
While we are all aware that Osteoporosis is most common in older people, there has been a considerable rise in the number of younger people being affected by it, including premenopausal women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The term “premenopausal” refers to women who are still having regular menstrual periods and have not yet reached menopause. Even though it sounds highly unlikely, there have been cases with young women having low bone density, thereby increasing their chances of getting Osteoporosis later in life.
Younger women who tend to restrict what they eat in order to lose weight are at a higher risk of Osteoporosis and fractures. This also includes young mothers, since the baby growing in its mother’s womb needs plenty of Calcium for bone health and development, especially in the first three months. In some cases, women develop Osteoporosis during pregnancy or breastfeeding, although this is rare. Osteoporosis is bone loss that is serious enough to result in fragile bones, increasing the risk of fracture by multifold. Although in many of these cases, mothers who’ve lost bone mass recover the same after they stop breastfeeding. It is however ambiguous whether young mothers can recover lost bone and go on to optimize their bone mass. Diagnosing osteoporosis in premenopausal women is not straightforward and can be quite complicated. Following are a few symptoms to keep in mind.
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
Following are a few tips to keep the bones healthy during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond:
Calcium: The body’s demand for Calcium during pregnancy increases immensely. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should consume 1,000mg (milligrams) of Calcium each day. For young mothers, the recommended intake is even higher: 1,300mg of Calcium a day. Food items like low-fat dairy products – 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 are good sources of Calcium and should be consumed often.
Exercise: Exercising during pregnancy is recommended by almost all doctors, it however should be done under expert guidance. 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
Healthy Lifestyle: Smoking is stated to be bad for your health as well as your baby; it is also proven to be bad for heart, lungs and the bones. Alcohol also is bad for pregnant and breastfeeding women and their babies, and excess alcohol is bad for bones.