Maternity and bone mineral density

Magnus Karlsson, Henrik Ahlborg, Caroline Karlsson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


During pregnancy and lactation, changes occur in a variety of factors which have great potential to influence bone mineral density (BMD). Smoking habits, the level of alcohol consumption, the level of physical activity, body weight, soft tissue composition and hormone levels are all factors that change during the course of these conditions. Some of these factors are capable of increasing BMD, and some can reduce it. Due to these various changes, it is virtually impossible to predict the development in BMD that will occur during a pregnancy and lactation. However, longitudinal studies have suggested that both pregnancy and lactation are associated with a BMD loss of up to 5%, albeit that the BMD recovers after weaning. Cross-sectional studies have indicated that women with many children and a long total period of lactation have similar or higher BMD and similar or lower fracture risk than their peers who have not given birth. As the studies showing this trend have been observational and cross-sectional case-control studies, the conclusions can only be regarded as being suggestive, and no causality can be proven.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41318
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics


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