Objective: Lack of trace elements during pregnancy is detrimental to maternal and fetal health. Our aim is to study the changes in trace element levels in Chinese pregnant women and their association with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Patients and methods: 1568 cases of Chinese pregnant women in remote areas were collected for a prospective cohort study. Serum copper, zinc, calcium and iron levels were measured at pre-pregnancy, 1st trimester (7w-12w), 2nd trimester (24w-28w) and 3rd trimester (35w-40w).
Results: (1) Serum copper levels was significantly higher after pregnancy than before, calcium and iron levels decreased, but zinc levels did not change significantly. (2) Copper and zinc deficiency in pregnant women was not a common finding, but lack of iron and calcium was frequently encountered; iron deficiency was especially common in the 3rd trimester (42.27%). (3) Serum zinc and iron levels in patients who either had a miscarriage or a preterm delivery were significantly lower than in the control group (p < 0.05). In patients with premature rupture of membranes, serum zinc levels were significantly lower (p < 0.05). In patients with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), serum copper, zinc, calcium and iron were significantly lower (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Trace elements is closely associated with fetal growth and development during pregnancy. Deficiency can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Therefore, we should have a reasonable diet, replenish trace elements, therefore reducing the occurrence of adverse pregnancy outcomes.