At the Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association, we’re committed to providing you with the tools you need to have the healthiest, happiest pregnancy possible. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how pregnancy can affect your bones and teeth, an important part of any woman’s overall strategy for a successful pregnancy. Let’s dive in!
How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Bones and Teeth
Pregnancy is a transformative journey that profoundly changes a woman’s body. While we often focus on the joys and challenges of this remarkable phase, it’s crucial to recognize its impact on oral and bone health.
Pregnancy’s Influence on Oral Health
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is not only beneficial for your teeth and gums but also for your overall well-being. Research has established a connection between severe gum disease in pregnant women and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as premature birth and low birth weight. Babies born prematurely can face risks of brain injury, vision issues, and hearing problems.
You can make sure your dental health stays strong during pregnancy with these easy steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth daily.
- Consume a healthy diet and limit sugary foods and drinks.
- Refrain from using tobacco products and minimize alcohol intake.
- Regularly visit your dentist every six to 12 months.
Remember, you can receive dental treatment during pregnancy, and dentists take extra precautions to ensure your safety and that of your baby.
Pregnancy and Bone Health
Beyond its impact on oral health, pregnancy also holds a complex relationship with bone health. During pregnancy, the surge in estrogen levels contributes to enhanced bone-building processes. Estrogen plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone density and regulating the balance between bone-building osteoblasts and bone-breaking osteoclasts.
Interestingly, bone loss often occurs right after pregnancy, a phenomenon driven by the drop in estrogen levels. This post-pregnancy bone loss is most often a temporary phenomenon, and you’ll see your bone density rebound as your hormones stabilize.
Breastfeeding’s Impact on Bone Health
The association between breastfeeding and bone health has evolved over time. In the past, concerns were raised about breastfeeding potentially contributing to osteoporosis later in life. However, recent research suggests a different narrative. Studies now indicate that breastfeeding may actually yield positive changes in bone density over a woman’s lifetime. Therefore, if you’re considering breastfeeding, rest assured that it is unlikely to adversely affect your long-term bone health.
Who Is Prone to Bone Health Problems?
Depending on your medical history, you may enter pregnancy with lower bone density due to pre-existing conditions. Risk factors include a family history of osteoporosis, disordered eating, digestive diseases like Crohn’s, or existing bone disorders. While women with these preexisting conditions may regain lost bone density after pregnancy, returning to “normal” levels might be challenging due to the pre-existing deficit. It’s important to consult with skilled endocrinologists and nutritionists before pregnancy so you can create strategies to keep your bone health going strong.
In rare cases, pregnancy-and-lactation-associated osteoporosis (PLO) can make women susceptible to bone fractures, particularly in the hip or spine. If you experience excruciating pain in the back or a fracture occurs, it’s crucial to seek urgent medical attention right away.
Nurturing Bone Health
Motherhood comes with new responsibilities, and staying healthy is essential for both you and your baby. Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone health. While dairy is an excellent source of calcium, dark leafy greens and seeds also contribute to bone strength. We generally recommend multiple servings of calcium-rich foods throughout the day over supplements. This approach allows for gradual absorption, which optimizes the benefits for your bones.
A Holistic Approach
Pregnancy is a transformative phase that affects various facets of a woman’s health, from oral hygiene to bone strength. Understanding the subtle relationship between pregnancy, oral health, and bone health empowers you to make informed decisions. Maintain open communication with your healthcare providers to ensure your well-being and your baby’s.
Remember, while each journey is unique, the overarching goal remains the same: a healthy start for both mother and child. Stay informed, nurture your body, and embark on this remarkable journey with confidence.
We Are Your Local Pregnancy Resource
The Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association is proud to provide Memphis-area patients with leading care from experts in the field who prioritize patient outcomes over anything else. We care about you, your baby, and your pocketbook! Give us a call today or schedule an appointment here to put yourself on the fast track to a successful pregnancy. We can’t wait to help you!