Osteoporosis And Pregnancy – Everything You Need To Know

Written by Manjiri Kochrekar • 
Image: Shutterstock

Pregnancy is a wonderful, yet delicate phase of your life, and you need to take extra care at this time. One of the many complications of pregnancy is transient osteoporosis, which can compound your pain and discomfort. And thus, it becomes necessary that you know all about this osteoporosis and pregnancy. So today, we talk about causes, symptoms, and treatments for osteoporosis during pregnancy. Scroll down to learn more.

Osteoporosis And Pregnancy: In Brief

Pregnancy-associated osteoporosis (PAO), or transient osteoporosis, is a rare bone condition. It typically occurs during the third trimester of your pregnancy or post delivery. PAO is a temporary condition, which usually occurs during your first pregnancy and does occur repeatedly. While suffering from PAO, your bones of hips and spine tend to break rather easily, and the condition becomes painful and uncomfortable for you (1).

[ Read: Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy ]

Causes Of Pregnancy-Associated Osteoporosis:

Even though there is no one particular cause of pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, medical experts state that the condition can occur due to several reasons. Here we list some prominent causes of PAO.

  • Increase in estrogen
  • Weight gain
  • Lifestyle habits that promote bone loss
  • Medications promoting bone loss
  • High rate of bone metabolism
  • Chronic diseases
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • The use of steroids
  • Genetic factors (2)

Symptoms Of Pregnancy Associated Osteoporosis:

Although back pain is one of the most common symptoms of osteoporosis during pregnancy, other symptoms that indicate the presence of the disorder, include:

  • Loss of height
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Severe spinal pain
  • Pain in the area of other broken bones, such as ribs, hips, and wrists.
  • Reduced mobility (3)

Diagnosing Pregnancy Associated Osteoporosis:

Pregnancy related osteoporosis is prevalent as a silent disease, which is undetectable until a fracture occurs. Usually, the condition is not detectable until the baby is born as during PAO most fractures occur during or soon after the birth of the child. Fractures and resulting pain in the back are common during PAO. Doctors may suggest routine bone scans and X-rays to help diagnose the bone ailment after the delivery to help prevent the slightest risk of harmful radiations to the fetus.

At times, you may consider pain resulting due to fractures as labor ache or post-pregnancy pain. And, a bone density scan (DXA) can help measure the strength of your bones, and X-rays helps detect the presence of broken bones (4).

[ Read: Tips To Prevent Joint Pain During Pregnancy ]

Treating Pregnancy Associated Osteoporosis:

Pregnancy-associated osteoporosis does not last for a long time, and following the right line of treatment can help you obtain relief from discomfort and pain. And, here we list some of the most effective treatments to cure the ailment.

1. Bed Rest:

One of the most common procedures that doctor recommends when you suffer from PAO is bed rest. If you suffer from a bone fracture during or post pregnancy due to the condition, then having sufficient bed rest can help heal the breach without any medical intervention.

2. Go For Therapies:

If you are suffering from severe pain due to PAO, then going for therapy can help you alleviate the pain and discomfort. Aqua therapy or hydrotherapy i.e. performing certain exercises in a unique, warm water pool after delivering the baby can help you mitigate the pain. Seek medical guidance to perform the right movements. Also, complementary therapies, such as acupuncture therapy, can offer relief (5).

3. Cold And Warm Compress:

The proper use of ice packs and heat pads can offer you comfort from the pain due to PAO. Make sure you use ice packs and heat pads carefully without hurting yourself. Also, the TEN’s machine, a small device with pad attachments that clips on to the waistband, reduces the pain as well. Your doctor may evaluate your condition and may recommend a painkiller to alleviate the pain.

4. Increase Vitamin D And Calcium Intake:

Low levels of calcium and vitamin D can make you a victim of PAO and pose a risk to your health and pregnancy. So, increasing calcium and vitamin D intake can help you treat the condition effectively. Add calcium-rich foods, such as fat-free yogurt, milk, American cheese, fresh broccoli, orange juice, and other foods high in calcium to your regular diet (6).

[ Read: Vitamin D During Pregnancy ]

Did you suffer from pregnancy-associated osteoporosis while expecting? How did you treat it effectively? Share your unique experience and knowledge with other moms-to-be in the comment section below.

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