Module code: BMSM006

Module Overview

A module summarising the state of the art and 'hot topics' in the field of nutritional management of pregnancy, infancy and  childhood. This module will equip students with the skills and knowledge to identify ‘at risk’ groups within the population of reproductive age and the paediatric population and develop evidence-based practical strategies to optimise their nutrition and health. As an optional module it is independent of others but could link with Module 4 (Obesity, Diabetes and Eating Disorders) and Module 9 (Dietary minerals in health and disease) where students wish to apply their learning in more specific population groups. 

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

HART Kath (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 7.5

Independent Learning Hours: 114.5

Lecture Hours: 15

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 3

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

As with other modules in this programme, this module gathers a range of internal and external speakers to provide specific insights into the role and application of nutrition in early life. The module is divided into three sections, broadly covering pregnancy, infancy and childhood.   

Students’ knowledge and appraisal of evidence is assessed by completing an in-class case study workshop and presentation and 4 evidence-based essays (summative assignment).  Students’ application of knowledge is developed using formative activities within the taught part of the modules, but also through undertaking a summative coursework assignment. 

Indicative content includes some or all of the following topics: 

  • Pre-conceptual nutrition and nutritional infertility 

  • Physiology and metabolic demands of pregnancy and lactation: body composition, weight gain, energy costs of pregnancy and lactation, specific ‘at risk’ nutrients, dietary and supplemental management. 

  • Implications and management of maternal obesity 

  • Nutritional aspects of pre-eclampsia 

  • Feeding the infant: human and substitute milks; complementary feeding 

  • Childhood: nutritional needs for normal growth and development; anthropometric assessment; the healthy diet; development of healthy eating habits, school nutrition, management of fussy eating 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework assignments collectively comprising a maximum of 5000 words, which may include a compulsory element. 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and application of early life nutrition. 

 The summative assessment for this module consists of the following components collectively accounting for 100% of the module mark: 

  • 1 x integrated essay/ activity – e.g. production of a GP fact sheet or drafting a research proposal (this encourages students to bring together material and ideas from across topics and think about how this could be translated to a specific audience or applied for a specific purpose, e.g. securing grant funding) 

  • 3 x short essays – these are brief evidence-based summaries on a specific topic area covered in the module (these encourage students to engage with the topics covered in the module, critiquing the available literature and writing succinctly and scientifically for a knowledgeable audience) 

Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline two months following the module. 

The formative assessment for this module consists of the following activities which provide students with the opportunity to assess and consolidate their knowledge and develop their skills: 

  • Working dinner where students are encouraged and facilitated to discuss contentious topics in relation to nutrition and reproductive health 

  • Case study workshop in class – an opportunity for students to work in small groups to research an ‘at risk’ population group, collate relevant data and devise a practical intervention strategy 

  • Optional in-class and at-home activities such as plotting and interpreting growth data and debating supplement requirements  

This module provides feedback in real-time for all in class activities, with students also encouraged to provide feedback to their peers for the case study session.  Detailed written feedback will be provided for the summative assignment, focused on what was done well and areas for improvement to allow student to apply this to their future assignments in other modules. 

Module aims

  • To examine the role of nutrition in optimal conception and pregnancy outcomes
  • To investigate how the nutritional requirements of infants may be met by milk feeding (human & formula) and differing approaches to complementary feeding
  • To explore the factors affecting children's food choices and eating behaviours and the strategies for promoting healthy food choices across a variety of settings, including in schools.
  • To examine the role of nutrition in supporting optimal growth and development across childhood and into adult life, including the identification and management of ¿at risk' nutrients and ¿at risk¿ groups or individuals.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically evaluate the role of nutrition in fertility KC
002 Describe the role of optimal nutritional status in successful conception, pregnancy, lactation and childhood growth including the roles for specific micronutrients and trace elements K
003 Discuss the recommended nutritional requirements for pregnant women and the challenges of meeting these in developed countries via food and supplementation. K
004 Describe the physiological process of lactation and its hormonal and nutritional regulation K
005 Critically examine theories of infant feeding and food preference development K
006 Discuss the promoters of and barriers to breastfeeding and evaluate the strategies available to support infant feeding choices K
007 Evaluate available strategies for the prevention and treatment of maternal obesity KC
008 Appraise the factors involved in the development of eating patterns and shaping of food choices and describe their impact in nutritionally ¿at risk' groups within the infant and child populations K
009 Evaluate strategies for promoting positive eating behaviours in the home and school settings KC
010 Analyse available health data to identify ¿at risk¿ populations and risky behaviours in early life KCPT
011 Undertake and cite further reading and research to support the formulation of written arguments and oral debate KCPT
012 Discuss the role of the nutrition professional across a range of early life settings. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to be aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to build on the understanding gained in previous modules and from students’ own backgrounds, expertise and experiences, equipping them with a key appreciation of the nutritional demands of early life and the challenges of meeting these. 

The module team employ a variety of teaching approaches from lectures, on-demand material, key reading activities and workshops (including a working dinner).    There will be a formative case study and presentation session to translate knowledge into practice via group discussion and ample opportunities for facilitated and non-facilitated discussion with peers and staff within and between sessions.  

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMSM006

Other information

Can be taken as a stand–alone module. 

Employability: In this module, students will be trained and encouraged to employ their knowledge of nutrition in early life to real-life situations across a variety of settings, e.g. home, school & clinical, and across a wide variety of healthy population groups (e.g. pregnant women, infants, school children) and clinical populations (e.g. pregnancies affected by obesity, fussy eaters).   Students will gain an appreciation of the barriers to health behavior change and the impact of a variety of individual, environmental and societal factors on diet and behaviours, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to apply their learning in real-life settings to promote practical and feasible behaviour change. Students will be exposed to speakers from a wide range of professional backgrounds, gaining an insight into potential fields of employment from clinical practice through to industry, public heath, consultancy and research. 

Sustainability: Students will be encouraged to discuss the environmental impact of formula milk and the potential cost savings (financial, social and environmental) associated with breastfeeding as part of the relevant lectures and pre-course reading.  The social and financial impact of obesity during pregnancy, and the strategies available to target this, will also be discussed. 

Global and cultural: Beyond a UK and European focus students are exposed to key aspects of global nutrition including protein malnutrition/ stunting and the different energy utilisation associated with reproduction where food is scarce.  The impact of poverty on dietary patterns in the UK is discussed across age and geographical sub-groups. 

Resilience and resourcefulness: Students are supported to analyse available health data to identify ‘at risk’ populations and risky behaviours in early life and to develop their skills in relation to literature searching and critical appraisal of evidence.  Students will be encouraged to give and receive feedback and to use feedback from previous modules and from in-class exercises in this module to self-assess their progress and direct their approach to the summative assessments. 

Digital capability: Students will be supported via the module staff and (where appropriate) the library team, to use online databases and interactive web tools to evidence areas of priority (classroom exercise) and to gather evidence for their assignment. 

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.