Zinc is an important trace element having a definitive role in the metabolism, growth and development and reproduction. During pregnancy the requirements for zinc increase. This study was designed to evaluate the zinc status of normal women, normal pregnant women and their new-born babies.
Forty normal adult females, 40 normal pregnant women and their newborn babies were randomly selected and their serum and hair zinc levels were analysed using atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
The mean serum and hair zinc levels in normal women were 69.47 ±1.4 μg/dl and 147.45 ± 6.12 μg/g respectively. The mean serum and hair zinc levels in normal pregnant women were 69.0 ± 3.22 μg/dl and 142.83 ± 4.39 μg/g respectively while the mean serum (cord blood) and hair levels in normal new born babies were 72.77 ±5.14 μg/dl and 188.36 ±4.12 μg/g respectively. There was a significant (p < 0.001) decrease in hair zinc levels during pregnancy. There was a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in zinc levels in new born babies when the time interval between the previous delivery and the present delivery was less than 3.4 years.
The results of the present study reinforce the need for zinc supplementation during pregnancy especially if the interval between pregnancies is short.