Researchers find new ways in which female bones change permanently after giving birth

Childbirth changes the bones of females in a way that was not previously known, new research suggests.

The analysis of the monkeys sheds new light on how childbirth can permanently change the body.

Specifically, the researchers found that calcium, magnesium and phosphorus concentrations are lower in females who have given birth.

These changes are related to childbirth itself and breastfeeding.

Paola Cerrito, who led the research as a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and College of Dentistry at New York University (NYU), said, “Our findings provide further evidence of the profound impact that reproduction has on the female organism, demonstrating further that the skeleton is not a static but a dynamic organ that changes with the events of life.

The researchers caution that while other studies show that calcium and phosphorus are needed for optimal bone strength, the new findings do not address the overall health implications for either primates or humans.

Instead, they say the work highlights the dynamic nature of our bones.

“A bone is not a static, dead part of the skeleton,” added NYU anthropologist Shara Bailey, one of the study’s authors.

“It continually adapts and responds to physiological processes.”

Researchers say that while it has long been established that menopause may have an effect on women’s bones, it has been less clear how previous life cycle events, such as reproduction, can affect skeletal composition.

To address this, they studied eight thighs.

Because this aspect of the skeleton changes over time and leaves biological markers of these changes, it is an ideal part of the body to examine, allowing scientists to track changes throughout their lives.

Scientists used commonly used technology to measure the chemical composition of tissue samples to calculate changes in calcium, phosphorus, oxygen, magnesium and sodium concentrations in primate bones.

The results showed different concentrations of some of these elements in females who gave birth compared to males and females who did not give birth.

Notably, in the females who gave birth, calcium and phosphorus were lower in the bone formed during reproductive events.

There was also a significant drop in magnesium concentration during breastfeeding of these primates, the study suggests.

Professor Cerrito said: “Our research shows that even before the cessation of fertility the skeleton dynamically responds to changes in the reproductive status.

“Furthermore, these findings reaffirm the significant impact that childbirth has on a female organism: simply, evidence of reproduction is” written in the bones “for life.”

The results are published in the Plos One journal.

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