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Maternal Serum Zinc Levels and Fetal Malnutrition of Term Babies in Nigeria

O.B. Bolaji, V.O. Adebara, O.J. Adebami and J.A. Owa

Maternal zinc deficiency is associated with fetal growth retardation and fetal malnutrition (FM). FM is common in developing countries. The main aim of the current study was to determine the association between maternal serum zinc levels and FM. After receiving hospital ethics committee approval and informed consent from the mothers, consecutive pregnant women and their respective live, singleton, term babies delivered between August 2013 and January 2014 at the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido-Ekiti in south western Nigeria were included in our study. Pregnancy and antenatal records were obtained. Maternal serum zinc levels were assayed and babies were examined for FM within 24 h of birth. FM was diagnosed using the Clinical Assessment of Fetal Nutritional Status Score as adapted by Metcoff. Maternal serum zinc levels were stratified and compared among mothers who had babies with and without FM. A total number of 386 babies were studied, 90 (23.3%) had FM. The mean [±standard deviation (SD)] maternal serum zinc concentration was 9.0 (±6.1) μmol/L and 187 (48.4%) mothers had hypozincemia. The mean (±SD) serum zinc concentration of mothers of babies with FM was 7.4 (±5.3) μmol/L compared to 9.5 (±6.2) μmol/L for mothers of babies without FM (p = 0.003). Fifty-eight (64.4%) mothers of the 90 babies with FM and 129 (43.6%) of the 296 mothers of babies without FM had hypozincemia (p = 0.001). Although low maternal serum zinc levels were associated with FM, not all mothers with low serum zinc levels had babies with FM and not all babies with FM has mothers with low serum zinc levels. This attests to multifactorial etiology of FM. However, maternal hypozincemia may be a significant contributory factor and, therefore, mothers may benefit from zinc supplementation during pregnancy.

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  How to cite this article:

O.B. Bolaji, V.O. Adebara, O.J. Adebami and J.A. Owa, 2016. Maternal Serum Zinc Levels and Fetal Malnutrition of Term Babies in Nigeria. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 15: 673-679.

DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2016.673.679


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