Intro to Nutrition: MWF 10-10:50
December 3, 2012
I chose to do my project on Nutrition and Pregnancy. I feel I can really relate to this topic and be interested with the information considering the fact that I have a 4½ year old daughter, and helped multiple family members and friends throughout their pregnancies, even the birth of their children. Also this will be great research that can benefit me in the future due to the fact that I’m currently working hard to become an RN, where I would love to specialize in maternity. This is a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and explore the importance of the “mother to be’s” overall nutrition intake and dietary planning that is undertaken before, during, and after pregnancy. The conception and the subsequent weeks afterwards is the time when the embryo is most vulnerable, because it’s at this time when the organs and systems are developing within. The energy used to create these systems comes from the energy and nutrients in the mother’s circulation, and around the lining of the womb, hence why nutrient intake is so very important during pregnancy. This is basically the whole premise of my project. I would like to begin by briefly describing what’s actually happening inside your body during pregnancy. Your body is one of the most amazing things in the world! The first thing I would like to talk about is the actual conception, which gives us an understanding of the Slide 1 incredible process of how we develop from egg to embryo. This first slide here is showing what happens to females every month, ovulation. This is when a mature egg is released from the women’s ovary. This next slide (slide 2) then goes to show how the egg travels into the fallopian tubes where it will remain until a single sperm can penetrate it during fertilization. Slide 3 shows us the labor intensive journey of the sperm. When a male ejaculates an astounding 40-150 million sperm are discharged and begin to swim toward the fallopian tubes so they can fertilize the egg. The sperm can live from 48-72hrs. Because of all the hurdles and barriers that exist in the female reproductive track only a few hundred will even come close to the egg. We can now see in Slide 4 a sperm has penetrated the egg and will fertilize it. This process usually takes about 24 hours. When the fertilization happens, changes occur to the surface of the egg to prevent other sperm from penetrating it. And what’s so amazing about this is that the genetic makeup is complete, including the sex of the baby. In slide 5 it is showing us the cells beginning to divide. 3 to 4 days after this it leaves the fallopian tube and enters the uterus. If the fertilized egg does not leave the fallopian tube it is referred to as an ectopic pregnancy which is very dangerous to the mother. In slide 6 is our next step which is implantation. This process takes place in the uterus where the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining or endometrium. Here the cells continue to divide. Cells that develop in the placenta secrete the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This is hormone that is detected in a home pregnancy test or in blood work.
This then brings us to slide 7, after the implantation some cells become the placenta, while the others become the embryo. The embryonic stage of development lasts until the 8th week after fertilization. Breaking down the lining of the uterus is how the early embryo receives its nourishment. But as with time this soon proves to be inadequate for the growing embryo and after the 5th week the placenta is now the main source for nourishing the embryo. After the 9th week the embryo is now referred to as the fetus. The fetal period usually ends after 40 weeks with the birth of an infant. Now that we understand the events of embryonic development, I would like to give a brief description of the events in