Pregnancy Osteoporosis 4/5 (2)

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Osteoporosis can occur during pregnancy (gestational osteoporosis). Illustration: Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site / Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0

Pregnancy and osteoporosis


Osteoporosis (osteoporosis) related to pregnancy and lactation is a rare but well-known condition. Most often, healthy women are affected during the last part of pregnancy or during the period when they are breastfeeding.

Disease Cause

  • During pregnancy, the structure of the fetus skeletal requires that large amounts of calcium (lime) are transferred from the pregnant skeleton
  • Milk production during breastfeeding drains the woman of calcium in addition to estrogen being low. It is estimated that women have 4-6% loss of bone mass during the first 6 months of breastfeeding (reference: Hopkinson JM, 2000)
  • It is still unclear why some women develop severe osteoporosis related to pregnancy, but some are predisposed:


Suddenly, strong and persistent pain located to the spine in the last part of pregnancy or lactation

Medical examinations and diagnosis


  • Calcium and vitamin D can be used throughout the pregnancy and during breastfeeding
  • Alendronate tablets are often used for osteoporosis, but should not be used during pregnancy and lactation
  • Teriparatide (Forsteo) may contribute to the development of the skeleton, but should not be used during pregnancy or lactation


New pregnancies occur in about one in three.


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