Adolescent Nutrition and Pregnancy

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,Fruits and veg 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.
pregnant woman 3
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







6 thoughts on “Adolescent Nutrition and Pregnancy”

  1. Hi Pansy,

    I found your article very interesting, I was absorbed by the reading!
    We all eat very healthily at home and I always gave good examples to my children on how to eat well.
    Since they were babies, I gave them the best food, such as organic vegetable, fruits, eggs, etc.. I personally think that nutrition problem does not comes only from the parents, BUT especially from nurseries and schools. Those are the places where my children eat junk food! They eat chocolates, cakes without any restriction. They should not permit to give to our children junk food each time they have a good comportement, have birthday party or they are outing somewhere and I don’t exaggerate at all!
    Today my daughter has a weight problem and a big part comes from these institutions.
    Maybe it is hard what I am saying here, but it is the true and very sad!
    Thank you for this awesome blog!

    1. I will continue to say that it is challenging to feed the child. We do have babies that do react differently to the feed regimen that are instituted.

      I am the mother of four children and each child reacted differently to the feed regimen. I do understand about the situation of child feeding in some institutions. In some places, children are fed so that they can or maybe quieted. They are given food that they should not get. Even this can cause children to develop preferences that they did not have before. I do understand what you are saying.

      However, we have to do what we can do without forcing the child. Gently persuasion and “pay off”, do work at times. I do not know if and how much “pay off” will work at six months old or to a year old, but it can work well at two years old.

      Pay off is when you come to a compromise, doing something for the child or allowing the child to do things like for example playing outside for a longer time than usual. This you allow when they eat something that they do not like, after gentle persuasion. This action serves as an encouragement. You may even now and again give them a taste of the food they like.

      It is better to feed the child with what they want than to allow them not to eat at all. Some of the preferences are passing phases.

      Some persons feel that “pay-offs” should not be done too often. Somehow, I do agree about that.

      Daniella thanks for visiting and for your comment. Let me invite you to see my blog on child feeding. It start fro six months old. See link:

      Please come again.

  2. I agree that Nutrition and lifestyle are very important key factor for healthy you and baby. My entire pregnancy I was very conscious what I am eating and drinking. It was the same before and after the pregnancy too. I carry 42 weeks and gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby.
    Parents are responsible for their kids eating habits but not entirely. I introduce home cooked meals from organic sources but my baby doesn’t really like food that much. He likes his Bulgarian style yogurt, Amaranth fritters, avocado, olives, bananas and that’s about it. It is challenging as he has a strong will but I am hoping with the time this will changes. I try to be creative and present the food in funny shapes but he is still not interested. I don’t want to force him as I don’t think this is the right approach.

    1. Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I must agree that feeding the young child can prove very challenging at times. However, as I have said in a previous blog, “Baby Food at Six Months Old” (the child’s feeding at six months and over) that babies, like adults, do have preferences. Please see this blog at:… You may find some interesting information regarding the young child’s feed.

      Thanks again Lena for visiting and for your participation. Much appreciated. Please come again.

  3. Thank you for caring the kids and expected womens.This article is advisable to my wife as she is expecting and the ideas given here are crucial.I will bookmark this article for easy access so that i will come show my wife and read this information.
    Wish you all the best


    1. Thanks for visiting. I am happy to know that you found the post informative and useful. I trust that you will come again. All the best to you and your wife.

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