JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Calcium and bone disorders in pregnancy.

Significant transplacental calcium transfer occurs during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, to meet the demands of the rapidly mineralizing fetal skeleton. Similarly, there is an obligate loss of calcium in the breast milk during lactation. Both these result in considerable stress on the bone mineral homeostasis in the mother. The maternal adaptive mechanisms to conserve calcium are different in pregnancy and lactation. During pregnancy, increased intestinal absorption of calcium from the gut mainly due to higher generation of calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D) helps in maintaining maternal calcium levels. On the other hand, during lactation, the main compensatory mechanism is skeletal resorption due to increased generation of parathormone related peptide (PTHrP) from the breast. Previous studies suggest that in spite of considerable changes in bone mineral metabolism during pregnancy, parity and lactation are not significantly associated with future risk for osteoporosis. However, in India, the situation may not be the same as a significant proportion of pregnancies occur in the early twenties when peak bone mass is not yet achieved. Further, malnutrition, anemia and vitamin D deficiency are commonly encountered in this age group. This may have an impact on future bone health of the mother. It may also probably provide an opportunity for health care providers for prevention. Other metabolic bone diseases like hypoparathyroidism, hyperparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism are rarely encountered in pregnancy. Their clinical implications and management are also discussed.

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