Dear Fitness Expert,
I am a 36-year-old Brazilian mother of a 5-year-old child and would like to have my second baby. The problem is that in 2000 I broke my left knee and later found out I had osteopenia (a phase before the osteoporosis). Later I also had a rib fracture while I was coughing during a cold episode. It has been treated with calcium and vitamin D supplements and it has shown to be stable so far.
What I would like to know is if I can get worse after a pregnancy and breastfeeding. What would the consequences be later? Is it worth the risk?I would really appreciate receiving a reply as soon as possible.
Hi, You've certainly had a tough time and I admire how carefully/slowly you are moving before making a final decision about pregnancy. It is good that you are asking the questions you are. I can dispel a few myths for you.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding does not make your body weaker. If taking the proper nutrients, eating a healthy diet and under the supervision of a doctor, the typical female is able to build a strong body. In fact, studies conducted with athletes who trained during pregnancy shows that they [the athletes] returned to sport even strong than before. **However, in the latter stages of the typical pregnancy, your joints will begin to loosen and shift, adjusting for the upcoming birth of your baby. This is a big *however* in consideration of your medical condition.You MUST consult with your OB/GYN. In fact, we recommend getting several professional opinions.
You have been very wise to ask before actually becoming pregnant again. Now is the time to move slowly and do lots of research. While research indicates that a healthy diet, doctor-approved exercise combined with nutrients/pre-natal vitamins allow women to feel stronger than after post-babies, every body is different. You mentioned that you fractured a rib while sneezing. This is a red flag you must discuss with your OB/GYN.
Again, because your joints loosen and move during pregnancy, you should have several more conversations with doctors who are able to examine your medical records, x-rays and background. You must not take the opinions or advice from fitness/nutritionists or midwives. Too much is at stake. This is said not to worry you but to empower you to enlist medical professionals who are prepared to work with you no matter your decision.Good luck and PLEASE let us know what results from talking to more OB/GYNs and doctors.
Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.
Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!