Importance of Zinc and Iron

Dr.Sandhya Shivkumar

In conversation with Dr. Sandhya Shivakumar
(MBBS, DGO, DNB – Obstetrics & Gynecology)


How does zinc and iron help during my pregnancy?

Iron and Zinc play specific and vital roles in the growth of the baby and in maintaining the health of the mother. Zinc is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes, which means it plays a role in a great number of bodily activities. Some of those activities are critical during pregnancy, because they involve embryo and fetal development as well as infant growth. Iron on the other hand increases maternal red blood cell mass. This supplies your growing baby enough Iron to last the first six months of his or her life. This will help your baby be healthy after birth and reduce his or her chance of an Iron deficiency.

How much Iron do I need?

Make sure you take a daily prenatal multivitamin that contains 16-20 mg of Iron along with Vitamin C can to help your body absorb the Iron it needs.

How much zinc do I need?

The daily requirement for zinc during pregnancy is 15 milligrams, but a higher dose may be needed because high intake of folic acid can interfere with absorption of zinc and thus create a deficiency of this mineral.

What can zinc deficiency lead to?

A zinc deficiency may also cause an increase in preterm births. According to the findings of a review of 17 trials that involved more than 9,000 women and their babies, zinc supplementation helped reduce preterm births.

What can Iron deficiency lead to?

If you do not get enough Iron when you are pregnant, you and your growing baby can both have health problems. It can lead to a number of issues such as maternal anemia, premature delivery, low birth weight and an increased risk of perinatal infant mortality.

What food is high in zinc?

Foods that are high in zinc are pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, garlic, chickpea, sesame seeds, blackberries and avocados.

What food is high in iron?

Foods that give you iron are red meat, seafood, beans, dark leafy vegetables, dried fruits, lentils, broccoli and strawberries. Make sure to get your levels checked before, during and after your pregnancy and keep supplying your body’s needs for a healthy pregnancy and baby.