Health Promotion Guidelines Across Lifespan


  • To meet the fetal demands for oxygen, the pregnant mother gradually increases her normal blood flow by about one-third, peaking at about 8 months.
  • Respiratory rate and cardiac output increase significantly during this period.
  • Feta circulation travels from the placenta through umbilical arteries, which caries deoxygenated blood away from the fetus.
Nutrition and Fluids
  • The fetus obtains nourishment from the placental circulation and by swallowing amniotic fluid.
  • Nutritional needs are met when the mother eats a well-balanced diet containing sufficient calories and nutrients to meet both her needs and those of the fetus.
  • Adequate folic acid, one of the B vitamins, is important in order to prevent neural tube defects
  • Folic rich foods are green leafy vegetables, oranges, dried beans and suggest she take a vitamin supplement that contain folic acid.
Rest and Activity
  • The fetus sleeps most of the time and develops a pattern of sleep and wakefulness that usually persist after birth.
  • Fetal activity can be felt by the mother at about the fifth lunar month of pregnancy
  • Fetal feces are formed in the intestines from swallowed amniotic fluid throughout the pregnancy, but are normally not excreted until after birth.
  • Urine normally is excreted into the amniotic fluid when the kidneys mature (16 to 20 weeks).
Temperature Maintenance
  • Amniotic fluid usually provides a safe and comfortable temperature for the fetus.
  • Significant changes in the maternal temperature can alter the temperature of the amniotic fluid and the fetus.
  • Significant alter in temperature increases due to illness, hot whirlpool baths, or saunas may result in birth defects.
  • In the last weeks of gestation, the fetus develops subcutaneous fatty tissue stores that will help maintain body temperature at birth.
  • The body systems form during the embryonic period. As a result, the embryo is particularly vulnerable to damage from teratogen, which is anything that adversely affects normal cellular development in the embryo or fetus.
  • It is important for the nurse to inquire about possible pregnancy when giving medications that are known teratogens and also ask when the woman is scheduled for tests that involve radiography (x-ray).
  • Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can affect the environment for the fetus. Smoking has been associated with preterm labor, spontaneous abortion, low-birth weight infants, and sudden infant death syndrome and learning disorders.
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a result of impaired mitochondrial development, leads to microcephaly, mental retardation, learning disorders, and other central nervous system defects.
Health Examinations
  • Screening of newborns for hearing loss; follow-up at 3 months and early intervention by 6 months if appropriate
  • At 2 weeks and at 2,4,6, and 12 months
Protective Measures
  • Immunizations: diptheria,tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP), inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IVP), pneumococcal, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB), hepatitis B (HepB), varicella and influenza vaccines as recommended
  • Fluoride supplements if there is adequate water fluoridation (less than 0.7 part per million)
  • Screening for tuberculosis
  • Screening for phenylketonuria (PKU) and other metabolic conditions
  • Prompt attention for illnesses
  • Appropriate skin hygiene and clothing