Authors : Nasraddin O. Bahakim, Amal Mahmoud Saeed, Towfik Albusaili
Background: Micronutrients are essential for health.Pregnancy is associated with increased demand for all micronutrients. Altered plasma levels of zinc during pregnancy are known to have profound effects on pregnant women and their newborns. The objective of the study is to assess serum zinc status of Yemeni pregnant women and their newborns and to examine its relations.
Methods:This is a descriptive cross sectional study that was carried at Al-Sabeen maternal referral hospital in Sana'a. It included 184 subjects, 92 Yemeni pregnant women coming for delivery and their newborns.A questionnaire was used to collect personal, socioeconomic data and dietetic history. Blood samples from mothers and umbilical cord were analyzed for serum zinc.
Results: Most of the mothers (91.3%) were housewives; 34.78% of them were illiterate. Carbohydrates were the predominant nutrients in the daily meals representing the main source of energy requirement. Proteins were the least abundant. Only 36.96%of mothers used vitamins and mineral supplements. The mean serum zinc for the mothers was 68.57 ± 21.81 μg/dL, while that of their newborns was 65.05 ± 20.04 μg/dL. The mean of the newborns' weight was 2.8 ±0.47 kg. It was significantly related to their mothers' serum zinc levels.
Conclusions: Zinc status of newborns was found to be significantly related their mothers'. Serum zinc was low in about 44% of newborns indicating inadequacy of zinc transfer during pregnancy to the rapidly growing fetus. Supplementation, nutritional education and counseling may improve dietary intake and habits which is crucial for maternal and newborn health.
Keywords: Zinc status, pregnant women,newborns,micronutrients.