Revision document outlining nutritional needs for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants
  • School children
  • Adolescence
  • Adult hood
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  • Created by: Stephen
  • Created on: 02-05-13 20:46

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Nutrition across the lifecycle
Nutrition for pregnancy:
During pregnancy a women's nutritional needs increase because the diet must provide
sufficient energy and nutrients:
To meet mothers needs and provide extra growth of the breasts, uterus and
To meet needs of growing foetus
For mother to lay down stores of nutrients to help the growth of the foetus and
for lactation
Nutrients and oxygen pass to the foetus from the placenta, via umbilical cord
Definition: Pregnancy is the period from conception to childbirth. Normally last 37-42
weeks from the first day of a woman's last period. Pregnancy is usually divided into
quarters of 10weeks or trimesters or approx. 133weeks each:
1st Trimester (0-13weeks)
Foetus fully formed. It has all organs, muscles, limbs and bones. From this stage it will
grow and mature
2nd Trimester (14-26weeks)
Hair, eyebrows and eyelashes form, the fingerprint lines on the skin are formed and the
fingernails and toenails grow. At around 16-22 weeks mother will begin to feel baby
3rd Trimester (27weeks-Birth)
Baby moves vigorously and responds to touch and sound. By 32 weeks baby will be lying
downwards ready for birth.
Nutritional targets:
Energy requirements/weight-gain: additional energy required for development of baby
in 3rd trimester; for formation of new tissue and maternal tissue, increased oxygen
consumption by maternal organs, needs of the products of conception in the later stages
of pregnancy and extra maternal fat deposition.
However low weight gain is associated with increased risk of low birth weight, increased
mortality and morbidity.
High weight gain is associated with more complication of pregnancy, prolonged labour
and increased risk of obesity for mother.
Protein: requirements increase slightly. Pregnant women should try to eat protein rich
foods e.g. meat, pulses and cereals
Additional requirements are needed for growth of maternal tissue, development of
foetus and in milk production (3rd trimester).
Certain metabolic adaptions occur during pregnancy, such as reduced amino oxidation in

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This protein can then be made available from the mother's tissue in the later
stages of pregnancy, when the foetus enters a rapid growth phase.
Folic Acid/Folate: requirements increase during pregnancy. Folate needed for rapid cell
division which is important in first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when spinal cord is formed.
An adequate intake reduce risk of abnormalities such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus
(Neural Tube Defects)
Women advised to take folic supplements containing 0.4miligrams of folic acid for first
12 weeks of pregnancy.…read more

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Zinc: deficiency has been associated with pregnancy complications including growth
retardation, prolonged labour and abnormal deliveries.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements: should be avoided unless recommended.
EFAs: Low amount of omega 3 can mean low levels in the infant which can affect
growth and development especially the brain and retina.
Nutrient Why is it needed Sources
Starchy, fibre foods Higher energy needs- Wholemeal bread and
200kcal extra a day cereals
Vitamin D Prevent low birth rate Sunlight, oily fish, marg.…read more

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Toxoplasmosis affects baby's eyes and nervous system causing deformities or even
blindness in eyes.
Avoid raw eggs or food that contains eggs that are raw or partially cooked. Raw meat
and chicken can also be a source of salmonella bacteria. Important to avoid food
contamination, symptoms of the disease include sickness, loss of valuable nutrients, flu
like symptoms and diarrhoea.…read more

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Late pregnancy
The estimated averaged requirement for energy increases during the last three months
of pregnancy, by an average of 800kJ per day. At this time a women's total energy
expenditure from physical activity is usually reduced. If a mother food intake is very low
at this stage and if her fat stores are low, the foetus grows more slowly and the baby
may have a low birth weight.…read more

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Breast feeding
During pregnancy, hormones cause tissues in the breast to grow and become ready to
secrete milk. After birth, the act of sucking by the baby stimulates the action of
hormones, which cause milk to be produced and secreted from the breast.
Breast feeding is best for your baby, providing a perfect balance of nutrients and
protective substances that help guard against infection and allergic reactions. It is also
When mother is breast feeding she needs extra energy and nutrients.…read more

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Easily digested
Bottle feeding
If desired or if mothers cannot breast feed babies can be feed with a bottle. Once a
bottle has started to be used it is difficult to change to breast milk as the mother usually
stops producing it.
Most infant formulas are made from cow's milk that has been modified to make its
composition closer to human milk.…read more

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A shortfall will have consequences on
Milk: (breast milk) as it is very nutritious and forms basis of babies diet for first few
months. Milk is deficient in iron; however, baby has stored supply.
Human milk is low in vitamin D (breast feeding mother should supplement this vitamin to
ensure adequate levels) Requirements are high; deficiency leads t rickets. Vitamin D is
important for role along with calcium; needed for strong bones.
Breast feed infant also at risk of low vitamin K intakes.…read more

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Weaning is also required to provide certain nutrients that can no longer be sufficiently
supplied by breast of formula milk. This applies to energy, protein, iron, zinc and
vitamins A and D. There is particular concern about iron deficiency which may result in
delayed development and cellular immunity.
As infants have smaller stomach capacities it is important to offer foods which contain
enough energy in a concentrated form. Milk should remain the cornerstone of an infant's
diet as it contains protein, calcium, vitamins and energy.…read more

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Underweight and overweight: should be determined by gender and age of the infant.
Weight gain in children usually varies but it is only when body weight for height is
constantly high or low that further investigation is required.
Energy requirements still high however for growth and development. Children should be
encouraged to consume starchy foods.
Dental caries: major preventable disease. Sugar cause tooth decay when they ferment,
releasing an acid which erodes the tooth element.…read more


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