Diet of pregnant adolescents

A systematic review of dietary assessments of pregnant adolescents in industrialised countries
Victoria Hall Moran
British Journal Nutrition 2007, 97, 411-425
‘In the world’s rich nations, more than three quarter of a million teenagers will became mothers each year Adolescent pregnancy is a major public health challenge for many industrialised countries. In the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey of adolescent birth rates in the industrial­ised world, it was reported in 1998 that the USA had the highest adolescent birth rate, whilst the UK had the highest adolescent birth rate in Europe. Rates of adolescent births (the number of births per 1000 adolescents aged 15-19 years) in the USA were 52-1 per HHK) births – about four times the European Union average. Adolescent birth rates in the UK were 30-8per 1000 births – approximately five times those of The Netherlands, three times those of France and twice those of Germany –
Adolescent pregnancy is associated with significant medical, nutritional, social and economic risk for mothers and their infants. There is evidence lo suggest that the medical risk is particularly severe for young adolescents. Infants born to young adolescents (Rates of spontaneous miscarriage, very preterm birth (Poor pregnancies may result from these mothers being with being young, and with poor socio-economic status, lifestyle and adequacy of prenatal care
Relatively little is known about the nutrient intakes of adolescents during pregnancy. This reviewed dietary assessments of pregnant adolescents living in industrialised countries. Seven of which were conducted in the USA.
The nutrient intakes of pregnant adolescents were below the DRI for energy, iron, folate. calcium, vitamin E and magnesium, nutrients important for foetal growth and development during pregnancy.
The research was limited by sampling and measurement bias, and research is urgently required to address these limitations. These are young girls who have already in a sense defied conventional practice by becoming pregnant, Socio economic conditions and cultural practices are important. Extremely important is that the young girls are growing and physically maturing themselves.
In many ways, whatever is the role of the professional services the intelligent support of the girls family is of paramount import. Not always easy.

Martin Eastwood
Back to top