Document Type: Review Article
Mashhad University of medical science, Mashhad, Iran.
Zinc is one of the essential elements of body which has an important role in natural growth, development, and many biological performances. Zinc deficiency is a major health problem and pregnant women are at high risk. 82% of pregnant women worldwide suffer from zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency during pregnancy has dangerous and irreparable effects such as growth impairment, spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), low birth weight (LBW), preeclampsia, premature labor, prolonged labor, postpartum bleeding, delayed neurobehavioral development, delayed immune system development, and leads to increase of mortality rate. Therefore, the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy and fetal period, because of lasting effects of these periods are far more than other parts of life.
Data gathered from human studies indicate that using zinc supplements have contradictory effects on pregnancy period and growth, survival and neurobehavioral development of the embryo, but the supplements can also have beneficial effects on neonatal immune system and decrease of infants morbidity rate resulted from infectious diseases. Hence, focus on functional outcomes of using supplements such as rates of survival, congenital malformations, embryo growth, pregnancy duration, neurobehavioral development, and also considerations on the micronutrients interferences are suggested for further research.