Adding zinc to prenatal iron and folate tablets improves fetal neurobehavioral development

M. Merialdi, L. E. Caulfield, N. Zavaleta, A. Figueroa, J. A. DiPietro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to examine whether improvement in maternal zinc status during pregnancy is positively associated with fetal neurobehavioral development in a Peruvian population. STUDY DESIGN: We electronically monitored, at 32 and 36 weeks' gestation, 55 fetuses whose mothers were randomly assigned to receive, during pregnancy, a daily supplement containing 60 mg iron and 250 μg folate, with or without 15 mg zinc. Fetal heart rate and movement patterns were quantified in 55 and 34 fetuses, respectively, as indexes of neurobehavioral development. RESULTS: Fetuses of mothers who received zinc supplementation showed fewer episodes of minimal fetal heart rate variability, increased fetal heart rate range, an increased number of accelerations, an increased number of movement bouts, an increased amount of time spent moving, and an increased number of large movements. Differences by supplementation type increased with gestational age and were statistically significant at 36 weeks' gestation (P < .05). CONCLUSION: Improving maternal zinc status through prenatal supplementation may improve fetal neurobehavioral development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-490
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1999


  • Electronic fetal monitoring
  • Fetal development
  • Peru
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Adding zinc to prenatal iron and folate tablets improves fetal neurobehavioral development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this