Zinc in the fetus and newborn

Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl. 1985;319:158-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1985.tb10126.x.


The growing fetus and infant are at risk of becoming deficient of zinc, an adequate supply of which is essential for normal growth and development. Mild maternal zinc depletion was strongly associated with intrauterine growth retardation. Low levels of zinc in maternal plasma and poor placental perfusion reduced the materno-fetal transfer of zinc. Mean maternal dietary intake of zinc was 60% recommended daily allowance and mothers of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) babies consumed significantly less zinc than mothers of appropriate-for-gestational-age babies. In addition, iron/folate supplements, which are often routinely prescribed during pregnancy, despite dietary intakes of iron and folate being adequate, significantly decreased the oral bio-availability of zinc in pregnant women. Zinc supplementation may be beneficial to women at risk of delivering SGA babies. Zinc requirements and interactions are also important to consider when designing mineral supplements for preterm babies, infant formulae and food fortification in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / deficiency*


  • Zinc