Zinc needs during pregnancy

N. W. Solomons, D. L. Helitzer-Allen, J. Villar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Zinc is an essential nutrient and is involved in many processes affecting cellular growth and development. Dietary requirements for this mineral are increased during pregnancy. Depending on the quality of the diet it may be difficult for a pregnant woman to meet intake needs. Consumption of large amounts of dietary iron may reduce the bioavailability of zinc. The processes of pregnancy itself - plasma volume expansion, placental hormone influences, and fetal uptake - have a profound influence on zinc metabolism. Zinc deficiency can produce severe birth defects in experimental animals. Human zinc deficiency - the condition known as acrodermatitis enteropathica - has been associated with early abortion and various teratologic abnormalities. Zinc status, or the pattern of change in zinc metabolism during pregnancy, has also been associated with the outcome of pregnancy. Amniotic fluid zinc levels are reduced in infections of the fetus or placenta. Whether this is a primary or secondary response has not been clarified for all situations. The clinical and laboratory assessment of zinc nutriture is not well developed for humans, and this is more compelling in the case of human pregnancy. Continued research will be required to determine the true magnitude of inadequate zinc status, its consequences for mother and fetus, and sound and sure public health measures to reduce the impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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