Lactation and Maternal Bone Health

  • Heidi J. Kalkwarf
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 554)


Women lose bone during lactation, and this is an important mechanism to provide calcium for human milk. Bone loss during lactation occurs even in women with high calcium intakes. Lactation-induced bone loss is transient because bone density increases rapidly after weaning. Bone loss during lactation and recovery after weaning are related to ovarian function and the length of postpartum amenorrhea. The recovery of bone after weaning can occur with shortly spaced pregnancies. Women who have breastfed several infants do not have reduced bone density after menopause. Overall, the transient bone loss during lactation does not seem to increase a woman’s risk of osteoporotic fracture in her elder years. Further research is needed on special subgroups of women, such as adolescents, women who are vitamin D deficient or have extremely low calcium intakes, and women who have simultaneously breastfed multiple infants to determine whether these women are able to regain sufficient bone mass after lactation to preserve their bone health.


Bone Mineral Density Bone Loss Bone Density Human Milk Lactate Woman 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi J. Kalkwarf
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of General and Community PediatricsChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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