Randomized controlled trial of prenatal zinc supplementation and the development of fetal heart rate

Mario Merialdi, Laura E. Caulfield, Nelly Zavaleta, Alberto Figueroa, Francesca Dominici, Janet A. Dipietro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study was undertaken to evaluate whether prenatal zinc supplementation affects maturation of fetal cardiac patterns. Study design: A randomized double-blind controlled trial among 242 low-income Peruvian women was performed. Beginning at 10 to 16 weeks' gestation, women received supplements containing 60 mg iron, 250 μg folic acid with or without 25 mg zinc. Fetal heart rate (mean FHR, variability [HRV], number of accelerations) and movements (number and amplitude of movement bouts, time spent moving) were electronically monitored monthly from 20 weeks' gestation. Developmental trends were evaluated by supplement type among 195 women who completed the trial and had no serious complications of pregnancy. Results: Zinc supplementation was associated with lower FHR, greater number of accelerations, and greater HRV. Supplementation effects on HRV and accelerations were more pronounced after 28 weeks' gestation. No differences in motor activity were observed. Conclusion: Prenatal supplementation of zinc-deficient mothers may be beneficial to fetal neurobehavioral development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1112
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Autonomie function
  • Cardiac development
  • Central nervous system
  • Fetal development
  • Peru
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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