NFS284 Chapter 14, 15, 16 – Lifecycle nutrition
Weight loss poses potential risk for nutritional deficiency, or may put the fetus at risk. If you
start your pregnancy at too high of a weight.
Folic acid is needed shortly after conception to ensure the normal development of the fetus. Iron
is important as well.
If too little weight gain during pregnancy, then higher risk of having a low birth weight baby. If
too much weight gain during pregnancy, then higher risk of having a large baby. The birth
weight of the baby is linked to what is happening to the mother. We will see later that this gets
translated into some genetic processes.
The bigger moms at the beginning of pregnancy, then the more likely she is to gain weight. The
bigger moms tend to gain more weight than is recommended. There is a correlation between pre-
pregnancy weight and weight gain during pregnancy. The weight gain during pregnancy can
increase risk to the fetus.
CPNP targets women who are at risk in the community. CPNP is a community-based program
where you try to get expecting mothers who are at risk to share and become involved in a
community so that they get some education about breastfeeding and prenatal health. This is a
good program that has been successful at capturing at least 50-60% of at risk mothers.
You are programmed to be very efficient at storing energy and very efficient in terms of not
expending more energy than is necessary. This is okay if the environment that you end up in is
an environment where food is scarce. However, if you end up in an environment where food is
plentiful (e.g., obesogenic environment), you are programmed to be efficient at storing fat and
efficient at not expending energy, which makes increasing body weight very easy to acquire.
The environment that you experience in utero will influence how you respond to the environment
that you start to grow up in. If a fetus is exposed to a poor fetal environment (e.g., mother has not
gained enough weight during pregnancy, and baby is born with low birth weight), this is believed
to cause the the thrifty genotype or epigenotype. Epigenetics are genetic factors that are
unrelated to the sequence of DNA. Our DNA sequence determines the amino acid structure of our protein. Mutation changes in the DNA sequence can affect protein function. If you existed in
utero in a poor fetal environment, you are programmed to expend less energy than the normal
infant when you are born.
Changes in the genotype will affect gene function, which is usually the result of mutations or
polymorphisms. Mutations are rare. Polymorphisms are common.
Changes related to early programming have to do with epigenetic effects, which is the silencing
of genes by methylation of DNA. The DNA molecule has either methyl groups