Calcium, a mineral and main component of your bones, can fortify your bones and your pregnancy. Because many cases of sciatica during pregnancy stem from pre-existing medical conditions or health issues that were caused or perpetuated by weak, brittle bones–especially in the spinal cord and pelvic region–you need to take extra care of your bones in the days before you become pregnant. Calcium deficiency and sciatica go hand-in-hand. To maintain bone density and prevent bone loss, kick up the calcium levels in your pre-pregnancy diet.
How to Makes Bones: Calcium, An Important Ingredient
We rarely think about bones needing to be made. Or what they are made of, for that matter. But your body needs two main ingredients to create bones: the protein collagen and calcium phosphate, a mineral. During a process of ossification, hard deposits of calcium phosphate and stretchy collagen are added to your bones, replacing the cartilage from which your bones were first formed. The fibrous collagen provides a flexible framework for the bone, while the calcium phosphate hardens this framework, making it stronger. Bones also have a spongy interior called bone marrow, which serves to make blood cells. Add other ingredients, including various vitamins and minerals, and there you have it: the recipe for bones.
Bye-Bye Bones: Calcium Prevents Bone Loss
Because bones are living and growing tissues, they continue to develop–and eventually begin to deteriorate–as we age. All the 206 bones that make up the human skeleton are continually renewed so that they stay fresh and young. When all goes well, osteoclasts, a type of bone cell, clear away old bone tissue to make room for the new, which is laid down by osteoblasts. In this back and forth between resorption (bone loss) and formation (bone creation), a process deemed remodeling, the bones in your body are maintained, kept healthy and strong.
During your teenager years, however, more bone is created than removed so as to build thick and sturdy bones. But as your twenties approach, the balance shifts: more is taken from your bones than received. With your bone removal process outshining bone formation, your bones begin to wear away, the bone density decreasing and your bones becoming thinner and more fragile. Your weak bones are now more likely to break and fracture. You are also more at risk for various disease such as osteoporosis and others that are known to cause or aggravate sciatica during pregnancy. So, what can slow down or prevent this wearing away of the bones? You guessed it: Calcium.
Calcium Deficiency and Sciatica: Beat Bone Breakage with a High-Calcium Diet
Because calcium is not made by the body, it must come from an external source: your diet. Prepare for your pregnancy and strengthen your bones pre-baby by increasing your consumption of calcium-rich foods. Below is a list of foods that will help you reach your 1,000mg/day goal:
- Dairy products such as cheese, low-fat milk, ice cream and yogurt
- Spinach and other leafy green vegetables
- Fish such as salmon and sardines (with the bones)
- Food fortified with calcium (tofu products, cereal, bread, etc.)
Keep an eye out for a calcium deficiency and sciatica pain during your pregnancy–it will save you a lot of pain.