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Nutr Rev. 2006 Jan;64(1):15-30.

Zinc deficiency in pregnancy and fetal outcome.

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Department of Pediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences, and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India.


Maternal zinc deficiency during pregnancy has been related to adverse effects on progeny, and there are data showing that mild to moderate zinc deficiency (as assessed by available indicators) is quite common in the developing world. Observational data relating zinc deficiency to adverse fetal outcome have produced conflicting results, mainly because of the lack of a valid indicator of zinc deficiency in pregnancy. Studies of human pregnancy and zinc supplementation, including those from developing countries, have failed to document a consistent beneficial effect on fetal growth, duration of gestation, and early neonatal survival. Preliminary results from unpublished studies in developing countries have also proven to be discouraging. However, recent data and some preliminary findings indicate a beneficial effect of maternal zinc supplementation on neonatal immune status and infant morbidity from infectious diseases, and there is also preliminary evidence that, zinc supplementation may prevent congenital malformations (cleft lip/palate). With respect to neurobehavioral development, the evidence is conflicting, with only one study reporting a positive outcome. More research is required to assess the benefits of the large-scale introduction of zinc supplementation during pregnancy on congenital malformations, immune functions, neurobehavior, and overall neonatal survival in countries where zinc deficiency is a problem. Currently available information does not support the routine use of zinc supplementation to improve pregnancy outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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