Bone health

Bone health, pregnancy, and orthopedics

Today, easy bone fracture, joint pain, and dearth of musculoskeletal strength are conjoint concerns. Bone health deteriorates day by day, the reason is improper diet. Your food intake should be an impeccable balance of elements needed for bone formation. Bone degeneration and regeneration is a consistent natural phenomenon an equilibrium maintained between both processes makes up strong bones.

Reasons for orthopedic issues during pregnancy

As described by an orthopedic doctor musculoskeletal concerns while pregnancy interposes in response to various factors. Hormonal changes, weight gain, alteration to body shape and body posture are a few factors that will be discussed here:

  • Uterus growth

The uterus is a muscular bag that enlarges with the growing fetus managing enough room for the baby. With uterus growth body’s center of gravity shifts to another point stressing out the lower back and abdominal muscles stretch, loosen up and become weak.

  • Increase in weight

Not just the belly but other body parts specifically the hips become fat augmenting overall body weight which put stress, causing joint and bone pain during pregnancy. Activities like sitting, standing, and walking induce pain perturbing sleep.

  • Pregnancy hormones

An increase in the size of body parts is eased by the release of the hormone relaxin, which loosens up ligaments making them soft. Instable joint movement is experienced as a consequence while carrying out daily activities. Back pain is experienced when the body release relaxin to broaden the pelvis when delivery time reaches, ligaments become elastic and thus subject to pain.

  • Posture issues

An increase in belly size and weight hinders body posture. The growth of the baby redistributes weight around the abdomen which sources pain in the lower back and hip area. Additional consciousness of a woman to take care of a baby also affect the body posture as she tries to maintain balance.

Tips to ease joint pain during pregnancy

Joint pain during pregnancy elevates with each passing day, even after delivery, care is indispensable and the best way is to rest, massage and exercise joints lightly. Here mentioned plausible joint pains that could arise during pregnancy.

Back pain in pregnancy

It starts at the sacroiliac joint, a junction between the pelvis bone and spine. Back pain in pregnancy triggers because of weight gain. A normal pregnancy brings about 25 to 35 pounds in addition to actual body weight. This stresses out ligaments and muscles around the spine inducing pain. Also, as the fetus enlarges in size it compresses the nerves and blood vessels around the pelvis and lower back area hindering their normal function which leads to back pain. Moreover, body posture changes due to shifting of the center of gravity for which a woman tries to move in the best comfortable position which may be improper and stress out the lower back triggering pain.

Back pain in early pregnancy is prompted in response to stress and the body’s hormonal changes. Emotional stress upsurges muscle tension and brings about pain in the back. Secretion of relaxin, a hormone to lose ligaments unforgivably weak muscles and make the joints unstable. Also as the body is preparing for delivery, the uterus expands causing muscle separation along the center that is between the corresponding sheets of muscles running along a rib cage up to the pubic bone. Back pain aggravates because of this separation.

A little care can be a worthy cure to back pain in pregnancy. Back pain vanishes gradually before delivery but those having backache issues before pregnancy have to consult a bone doctor for effective relief. Treatments include:

  • Stationary cycling, walking, swimming, and practicing specifically designed exercises for pregnancy boost muscles strength and improve flexibility. Consult a physical therapist for abdomen and back muscles fortification.
  • Applying cold compresses on the recommendation of a health consultant could help relieve back pain. Switch to warm padding after three or four days, and do as guided by the doctor.
  • Work on the posture as sitting, standing, performing various activities, and sleeping in the wrong position could intense the muscles. Put a rolled-up towel at the back while sitting, a pillow between your knees while sleeping, rest your feet on piled-up books, and sit straight with shoulders backward. Make an effort to keep hips forward and shoulders back while standing. Try wearing a belly band to support the enlarged abdomen as it minimizes stress over back.
  • Practice various stretching exercises for strong and healthy muscles like standing pelvic tilt, low backstretch, and backward stretch.
  • Chinese acupuncture technique is also famous to reduce joint pains where treatment is made through the insertion of sleek needles into the skin. It could be an effective method to relieve lower back pain in pregnancy. But it should be conceived under the doctor’s prescription.
  • Oral medicines such as pain killers prescribed by the orthopedic surgeon are operative in relieving joint and bone pain.

Hip pain in pregnancy

Hip pain usually begins in the third trimester of pregnancy when the body is preparing for Child delivery. Soreness, pain, and discomfort are felt specifically around the area where the baby resides in the uterus. It may be due to 3 important reasons:

  • Joints flexibility is imperative to allow easy passing of baby through the birth canal for which the body releases a hormone named relaxin that softens ligaments between joining edges of bones to ensure elasticity. So the heaviness due to an enlarged uterus, the weight of the baby and posture vicissitudes lay stress on the lower back causing soreness and hip pain during pregnancy.
  • Another reason is the pressure over sciatic nerves passing from the lower back to the feet. These nerves are compressed as the uterus grows in size. Tingling sensation, numbness, and pain are felt in the thighs or hips as a result. Sciatic pain vanishes with the changes in the baby’s position as the delivery time proceeds. It’s a usual pain while pregnancy but one must consult a doctor under extreme conditions.
  • Other causes might be round ligament pain, a sharp ache in the hips, abdomen, and groin region. Rapid changes in position or sudden movements elevate the pain.

Practice exercises that work on abdominal and back muscles providing enough strength to alleviate hip pain. One such exercise posture is elevating hips above the level of the chest, pausing for a few minutes then returning to the relaxing position. Soreness and pain could be lessened by applying warm compresses, warm bath is the finest way though. Light massage of the hips and abdomen also contributes to reducing pain. Take pillow support under the belly and sleep on your side with knees bent to reduce pressure over the hips and abdomen.

Shoulder pain

Many reasons could lead to shoulder pain in pregnancy and it also is a symptom of a few issues. This include:

  • The foremost reason is the release of relaxin, as we discussed earlier the body is in a mode of ligament softening and preparing gradually for delivery so all other muscles and ligaments including shoulder muscles are affected by this process thus causing aches and joint instability.
  • Body changes affect the way she carries herself, activities like sitting, standing, and walking pattern is altered which stress out shoulder muscles as well inducing pain.
  • Research carried out in 2015 revealed a difference between the shape of a lumbar in normal women and pregnant ones. It is a bit more curved in the third trimester of pregnancy when compared with a normal woman. This posture change put a load over shoulder muscles as women have to sit with spines curved.
  • Implanting of an embryo in the fallopian tube induces shoulder pain between 4 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. This condition is referred to as ectopic pregnancy.
  • Shoulder pain is also a symptom of having gallstones which in rare cases develop due to hormone that helps to get pregnant and continue healthy pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia also triggers shoulder pain. High blood pressure during pregnancy is the reason for this condition.

Stretching exercise, shoulder massage, warm compresses or bath, wearing posture support, and sleeping with pillow support is of great help during pregnancy to relieve shoulder pain. Consult an orthopedic doctor for pain-relieving medicines that are safe to take.

Knee pain

The knee joint bears upper body weight as the pregnancy continues body weight increases which put stress on the knees. Knee pain in pregnancy is a common dilemma that arises if stand for longer periods, exercise is overdone, and an injury due to falling or hard hit to the joint takes place. Muscles and ligaments associated with the knee joint become soft in response to the secretion of relaxin, a hormone that softens the muscles in preparation for easy delivery.

Avoid putting extra load over feet or knees, and maintain a balance between exercise and rest for the good health of joints. Massage the knees and apply warm compresses for pain relief. Wearing comfortable low heel shoes is appreciable rather high heels. For providing support brace can be used when indulging in activities like walking and standing.

Pregnancy and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition when bones degenerate, become weak and are more susceptible to fractures. Women with osteoporosis can get pregnant as it has nothing to do with fertility however probability of getting a pelvic fracture during vaginal delivery is expected so doctors recommend C-section in such cases. During pregnancy getting a hip or spine fracture is also plausible. So under such circumstances consulting a bone doctor is advised who prescribes certain useful medicines to fulfil calcium deficiency to slow down the bone dissolving process.

Enhance orthopedic health with good intake

A healthy diet is obligatory for the better growth of the baby. Mother herself should remain strong during and after pregnancy. Be mindful about your diet as bone strength lies within what you eat. Here mentioned the vital elements pregnant women must have in their daily intake.

Calcium

Bones are a supporting structure and a storehouse for essential nutrients like calcium and proteins. Calcium dissolves from bones when needed by the body and during pregnancy, it’s the most demanded element. The growth of a fetus depends on the absorption of calcium that it takes from the mother’s body. So it’s an unavoidable nutrient intake that must be upheld in the right proportion to escape orthopedic concerns while pregnancy. 1000mg of calcium per day is marked as beneficial while pregnancy by medical specialists. Apart from this dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt are a major house of calcium. Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli, fruit juices, and cereals offer a bunch of calcium. Calcium supplements and tablets can also be taken on a doctor’s prescription. These medicines give a drastic boost to calcium levels within the body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports calcium absorption in bones. It works in coordination with calcium to build a bone structure. Moreover, it is beneficial for the teeth and bone development of a baby within the womb. The ideal intake of vitamin D is 600 IU per day and can be consumed from fatty fish, fortified milk and juice specifically orange juice.

Protein

Right growth of a baby’s organs, tissues specifically the brain is mandatory that requires the computation of protein intake in routine. Uterus and breast growth are also improved by protein-rich food during pregnancy. Adding to this, protein also ensures sufficient blood supply for the fetus which means absorption of maximum nutrients to the baby. 71 gm of protein per day is recommended by medical specialists. Poultry products like eggs or chicken, seafood, meat, beans, peas, seeds, nuts, and soy all are a good supply of protein and must be included in the diet throughout pregnancy.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is an amazing experience of letting a new life develop inside. It affects the women physically and mentally for which care is needed both by the woman herself and by the people around her. Be careful about the diet because the right diet is key to the strong bones of mother and baby. Talk to your family or friends if things are stressing you out. Correct posture when working or sleeping helps to keep orthopedic issues at bay. Relax by wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. Still, if the pain persists don’t hesitate to consult a medical specialist who will diagnose it right and provide treatment according to your health condition.

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