Parathyroid Gland

The parathyroid gland is a small gland protruding from the thyroid gland. (Take a look here at the Colorado University website.)

Parathyroid hormone works to:

In addition, parathyroid hormone is needed to metabolize calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D.

Because of the fetal demands for these nutrients during pregnancy, additional parathyroid hormone is produced by the mother. In fact, pregnancy is a state of "hyperparathyroidism."

The last half of pregnancy has the greatest increase in demands, as the fetal skeleton develops. It's interesting to note that, despite these fetal demands and increased parathyroid activity, during pregnancy there is no real loss of maternal bone density.

Apparently, increased levels of calcitonin and estrogen protect the maternal skeleton by interfering with the effect of parathyroid on the bone.


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