Nutrition during the lifecycle: pregnancy and lactation
The previous chapters addressed foundation concepts of nutrition from a biological perspective. They covered current understanding of nutrients, their actions in the body, our needs for these nutrients and the foods that deliver them. These chapters also raised the question of dietary patterns as the key factor in establishing nutritional balance for most people. In this chapter we begin to translate that knowledge by addressing the implications of various stages of growth and development of the human body on nutritional requirements. This chapter begins with the start of a new life, and even before that, with the nutritional needs of the parent. As it provides the environment in which new life begins, the mother's body in particular needs to be adequately nourished prior to conception. This needs to continue throughout the pregnancy and then through the period of lactation, with breast milk providing the primary food for the newborn and the early period of infancy. Understanding the nutritional needs of the mother requires an appreciation of the physiological changes that are occurring during these times and how this relates to the nutrient requirements and thereby food choices. This chapter outlines the details of these relationships .