Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy – Part 6 – Zinc

Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother's Nutrition during Pregnancy - Part 6 - Zinc


The only other nutrient whose requirement increases by more than 30 percent is zinc. Zinc is found in almost every cell in the mother’s and the baby’s bodies. The baby needs zinc to support its burgeoning growth and to make each new copy of DNA. Zinc is vital for the newly awakened sense of taste and smell. It supports a healthy immune system and facilitates the body’s repair and remodeling work. Like vitamin B6, it is an active player in over 100 different critical biochemical processes in the body. Low zinc levels can lead to slowed fetal growth and to premature deliveries. Pregnancy  outcomes in general are measurably better when mothers have a healthy amount of zinc.

Most Americans get their zinc from red meat and from poultry. Other rich sources of zinc include beans (baked beans), nuts (cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds), seafood (oysters and flounder), whole grains (bran or oatmeal), and dairy products (yogurt and cheese). At least some of the naturally zinc-rich foods belong in a pregnant diet. When it comes to meats, choosing organic  is probably even more important than when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Pregnant women need at least 11 mg per day. Prenatal vitamins typically contain 15 mg. Zinc is also a common ingredient in fortified cereals.

Read More from: Eating for Two: A Guide to Mother’s Nutrition during Pregnancy

Eating for Two: Part 1 – Pregnancy A Special Time
Eating for Two: Part 2 – Folate and Iron
Eating for Two: Part 3 – How Much Folate Do You Need?
Eating for Two: Part 4 – The Gift of Iron
Eating for Two: Part 5 – Vitamin B6 and Iodine
Eating for Two Part 6 – Zinc
Eating for Two: Part 7 – Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pantothenic Acid, and Omega-3
Eating for Two: Part 8 – Not Found in Most Prenatal Vitamins!
Eating for Two: Part 9 – Calcium!?
Eating for Two: Part 10 – Calories
Eating for Two: Part 11 – Liver
Eating for Two: Part 12 – Chocolate
Eating for Two: Part 13 – Eating for the Future

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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