Unit 21: Nutrition for Health & Social Care - the needs of pregnant women and the elderly

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        Unit 21: Nutrition for Health & Social Care


Discusses nutritional and energy requirements, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between the two groups for each nutrient, and for energy.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding women...

It is important for pregnant women to understand what kind of food is best for them and their baby as it will fully protect the health of the mother and provide optimal growth and development of her unborn baby. In the first half of pregnancy, nutrition requirements mainly concern quality, while in the second half; quantity is also an issue to ensure fetal growth. Proper nutritional habits should already be established at the start of this second life – if possible even before conception. The pregnant mother's body is subject to greater demands to ensure fetal development as well as the growth, health and functioning of the uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid.  A daily increase of 150 calories in food consumption is recommended at the start of pregnancy, which will eventually reach an extra 250 calories a day by the end of pregnancy. The average weight gained is between 9 and 12 kg (20 to 26 lbs) although there is a natural variation between individuals. With overweight women, it may be less, while thinner women may gain more. However, Pregnant women require more energy (or calories) during the last trimester of pregnancy and more protein, vitamins A, C, D, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid throughout pregnancy and when breast-feeding, requirements for Vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorous and zinc are also increased.

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Calcium is very important for the mother and the fetus throughout the pregnancy, allowing the baby’s bone and teeth formation. When its skeletal growth reaches its peak in the last three months, the fetus draws on the mother’s store. This is when the consumption of high calcium-containing foods such as milk and milk products must be increased, since a calcium deficiency will damage the mother's teeth and make her bones brittle.


The demand for iron, essential for blood formation is also increased during pregnancy because the mother’s blood volume increases and the fetal red blood cells have to ...

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A very good essay that shows research has been carried out into nutritional requirements of two life stages.The writer could expand by adding a little more detail of disease that can arise in older people if they have a deficiency in their diet.