Nutritional intervention of adolescent pregnancies
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A study to investigate the difference in weight gain during pregnancy, infant birth weights, infant Apgar scores, and nutrition knowledge scores of pregnant adolescents who received nutritional counseling as compared to those that did not was undertaken at the Adolescent Family Center of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center. Twenty-one preimgravida adolescents, eighteen years old and younger, who received prenatal care at the Adolescent Family Center completed the study. These adolescents received nutrition intervention at a minimum of four prenatal visits. At the first session with the nutritionist, a nutrition pre-test was administered and a diet history was obtained. Subjects were instructed on the recommended weight gain for pregnancy and nutritional requirements utilizing the Basic Four Food Group concept. The subjects were asked to verbalize learned information and evaluate their own 24-hour food recalls. WIC appointments were scheduled and WIC forms were competed for eligible participants. Adequacy of weight gain, nutrient intake, and understanding of instructions was assessed. The subjects were followed-up monthly by the nutritionist for a minimum of three times prior to delivery. Twenty-five pregnant adolescents who delivered their infants at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center but who did not receive prenatal care at the Adolescent Family Center served as the control subjects. These adolescents were selected by screening medical records weekly during the same time period the experimental group subjects delivered their infants. Within one to two days after delivery, the post-test was administered and information regarding gestational age, weight at the time of delivery, infant birth weight, and Apgar scores were documented for both groups. No significant difference was found between the main weight gains during pregnancy, mean infant birth weights, or mean infant Apgar scores of the experimental and control group mothers. The nutrition knowledge test scores of the experimental group as compared to that of the control group was not found to be significantly higher. There was, however, a significant improvement in the experimental group nutrition knowledge pre-and post-test scores; and slight improvements in dietary intake were documented. Therefore, early and continuous nutrition intervention is required during adolescent pregnancy to improve understanding of the importance of nutrition and begin to change eating habits before improvements in outcome of pregnancy can be seen.