The Adolescent Nutrition and Pregnancy
Have you ever considered the adolescents nutrition among other things in pregnancy? Well I do. The nutrition of the adolescent is a great concern for me. Most adolescents have poor eating habits. Therefore, poor eating habits entering into pregnancy would seem to serve as a threat to the adolescence herself, and the baby. It is on this basis that our discussion will be established.
Let us not overlook the problems of drug abuse of which smoking is included. This too maybe added to the adolescent nutritional problem. The two impact on each other and produce the same outcome. However for this post we will examine the nutritional aspect.
Firstly, let us look at the eating habits of the adolescence. I must begin by saying that parents are responsible for the eating habits of their children in most cases. I say most cases because there exist the rare cases that some children are born with their strict preferences. In some of these cases one may find those children that cannot eat particular food because they are allergic to that food. In some other cases one will find that a choice is made due to likes and dislikes. While in other cases you will also find that the child eats just what the parents gave them to eat. One must remember that the child cannot fend for itself. Therefore, in this case, the child will only want what is known. In this category of eaters are the most cases.
The eating habit of the child starts from the early stage. It is therefore, important that parents make every effort to introduce solid eating habits to the child from the start. Nutrition must be the number one aim of parents when it comes to child feeding. The child must be made to be used to eating wholesome foods in order that she will get the necessary nutrients for her development.
It is important to note that poor eating habits are most times carried into adolescence. However, there are cases in which the young child was geared into good eating habits but on reaching adulthood, made a right about change to adapt poor eating habits. I say that to say this, that adolescents generally have poor eating habits.
On reaching the adolescence stage they are guided by their peers, the media (unfortunately the negative influences are those more accepted), by way of advertisement, the dynamism of fast food places and the ever strong attending factor of poverty and ignorance.
It must be noted that even before birth the individual is on a growth drive. In the paediatric clinics the babies are measured and their heights are charted. They are also weighed this too is charted. Doing these, provide valuable markers concerning the health of the child. The adolescents experience growth spurt and other developments in their teenage years. During the adolescent stage they even have to draw on their nutrition storage set in their preteen stage.
Can you imagine the Adolescent in pregnancy, having all this demand even without being pregnant? Secondly, can you also imagine the adolescent to be pregnant and to be providing for a fetus? There is truly a competition between the pregnant adolescent and her offspring for nutrients. Therefore adolescent pregnancy must be unsatisfactory to both baby and mother.
All said, the nutrition of the adolescent is of great importance even before pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy is a problem. Girls become sexually active at an early age. The nutritional problem of the adolescent is that they are hard pressed even before pregnancy to provide the necessary nutrition for their growth and development. This is difficult because the adolescents do not eat properly. Many adolescents do not eat properly because they are ever conscious of their weights and are also driven by things around them as stated previously. Some go on to be affected by common eating disorders such as starving themselves to lose weight. They preceive that they are fat and are seen as that they are too fat.
The World Health Organization posits that 11% of teenagers between the ages of 10-19 years gives births worldwide. It also stated that 14% of unsafe abortions occurred in the age group 15-19years from low and middle income countries.
I need to interject that the sugar daddy syndrome also influences the whole scenario. Based on the fact that these young women are experiencing poverty they do fall prey to older men for sex to which they are then given financial care. To put it other words, older men attend to their every needs which are both financial and emotional.
The WHO continues to state that their (the adolescent) many health problems are associated with negative outcomes of pregnancy during adolescence. Example of these health problems are anemia, HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, post partum haemorrhage (bleeding profusely after birth) mental disorders such as depression.
I will also add still-births, preterm babies with low birth weights and miscarriages. It is important to note that babies born preterm and with low birth weight already put the infant at risk for death.
The WHO confirms that adolescent pregnancy is both dangerous for baby and mother.
This therefore means that there is a great problem and this problem is worldwide. It is also greater in low income countries. It may seem as if it does not affect everyone, but it does. The question that I will ask is this: How can we tackle this enemy of adolescence nutrition in pregnancy?
Please let me hear from you