The growth and development of the human body depend primarily on the food we eat. Our body requires a vast variety of micronutrients to carry out all the biological functions. Some of the nutrients are found in the diet and some of these are to be consumed via pregnancy vitamin supplements. When it comes to pregnancy, the requirement of these nutrients largely increases as the mother-to-be must support a new life growing inside her womb. This is the situation where the body requires a dual approach of micronutrients as well as a balanced diet to support a healthy pregnancy, outcomes of which impact the life of the baby and the mother in a long term.

Indian diet is full of carbohydrates, but it lacks micronutrients including proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. Thus, it is very important for the pregnant woman to get these micronutrients through a balanced diet as well as in the form of pregnancy supplements. One of the most important micronutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy is Zinc which plays a crucial role in maintaining the immune system.

Zinc is commonly found in many foods and plays a vital role in the construction of your baby’s cells and DNA during pregnancy. It is required for tissue growth and cell division and supports normal development as your baby grows. A healthy and adequate intake of Zinc is essential when the baby is growing from a single cell into a little human being comprising innumerable cells.

A generous supply of Zinc during pregnancy has numerous benefits for your baby, too. It is found in dense concentrations in the brain and is vital for normal brain functions that contribute to the baby’s learning and development. Additionally, it facilitates a healthy immune system with a healthy number of antibodies.

What are the advantages of consuming Zinc during pregnancy?

The human body requires Zinc from outside in the form of food or pregnancy vitamin supplements since the body does not produce it. One of the most essential minerals, Zinc is a major nutritional component of maternal diet. This mineral is so essential that it supports several biological functions. Also known as ‘gatekeeper of immune function’, Zinc plays important role in:

✓ Gene expression
✓ Protein synthesis
✓ Wound healing
✓ DNA synthesis
✓ Enzymatic reactions
✓ Growth & development

It is said that over 300 enzymes depend on Zinc to carry out several biological functions in the body. Zinc is also associated with preventing low birth weight and preterm birth, which are among the common pregnancy conditions pregnant women suffer due to deficiency. This pregnancy micronutrient is essential for the health of both the mother-to-be and her growing child. Zinc is also essential for the formation of the placenta through which the baby receives nutrition from the mother. As it is found in the brain in high concentration, it is essential for the normal functioning of the brain. This continues till the later stages of life including development and learning outcomes.

Importance of Zinc for pregnant women

As the body requires this trace element for a variety of functions including immunity, a pregnant woman must consume Zinc on regular basis in order to avoid Zinc deficiency that not only impacts her health but her baby’s too.

✓ Zinc is essential for maintaining the immune system.
✓ Zinc can prevent intrauterine infection.
✓ Zinc is essential in balancing the hormones during pregnancy.
✓ Zinc plays a role in the formation of the placenta.

Importance of Zinc for babies

The importance of Zinc can be derived from the fact that it is essential for the growth and development taking place in embryogenesis, embryonic and neonatal phases. All the growth and development from DNA, cell to tissue level that is taking place in the foetus, largely depends on an adequate amount of Zinc supply through the pregnant woman. Zinc may cure ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), impulsiveness, and hyperactivity in children in later stages of life.

✓ Zinc serves as structural support to the proteins which are essential for cell formation.
✓ Zinc is essential for the production and functioning of DNA.
✓ Zinc is essentially required for cell growth.

What if a pregnant woman has Zinc deficiency in pregnancy?

Zinc deficiency directly affects immunity. It is a well-known fact that Zinc supports the production of proteins, cells, etc. The body fails to produce new, healthy cells when a person is Zinc-deficient. If a pregnant woman experiences Zinc deficiency, the growth and development of her baby ceases and that leads to several short-term and long-term defects. Thus, Zinc is essential for the proper development of the foetus.

Zinc deficiency is not common. It mostly occurs due to certain genetic mutations and the babies who breastfeed the mothers who lack enough Zinc to support healthy development. People who consume alcohol and people who are on some immune-suppressant treatments also lack Zinc. There are several symptoms associated with Zinc deficiency. Some of them include:

  • Behavioural issues
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Skin rashes
  • Impaired growth and development
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Delayed sexual maturity

Zinc deficiency in mild form can be found in developing countries (like India) where the routine diet lacks important micronutrients and other minerals which are essential for supporting a healthy pregnancy. In the case of mild Zinc deficiency, some common symptoms are fertility issues, mood disturbances, appetite loss, impaired immunity, thinning hair, etc. Genetic mutation, inadequate dietary consumption of Zinc, impaired absorption, etc. are some common factors due to which Zinc deficiency arises.

Supplementation of Zinc in pregnancy is highly crucial because general dietary practices lack in the adequate amount of the nutrient required for normal growth and development of the foetus. Also, nutritional demand increases during pregnancy thus it becomes very important to consume enough amount of Zinc.

It is believed that people who are vegetarians often have Zinc deficiency because of fact that the body can easily and efficiently break down Zinc which is found in non-vegetarian sources such as meat. People who consume alcohol excessively fail to absorb Zinc to the amount the body requires. Low Zinc absorption is also associated with several long-term illnesses such as kidney diseases.

If the mother-to-be lacks Zinc, there are chances of several complications such as reduced birth weight, foetal loss, intrauterine growth retardation, prolonged labour, congenital malformations, preterm or post-term deliveries, etc. Women suffering from acrodermatitis enteropathica which is an inherited defect in the absorption of Zinc, experience unhealthy outcomes of pregnancy.

In countries like India most of the women consume Zinc-deficient diets. Since the demand for energy and nutrition increases during pregnancy, a Zinc-deficient diet can have several potential risks.

When should a pregnant woman take a Zinc supplement?

Since Zinc is highly important for healthy pregnancy, gynaecologists recommend daily Zinc intake in form of pregnancy multivitamin supplement all through the pregnancy to avoid Zinc deficiency.

Zinc supplementation is mandatory in all the trimesters of pregnancy as its presence is involved in several fundamental growth and developmental processes.

How much Zinc a pregnant woman is required to supplement?

As per the recommendations of ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), every woman who is pregnant or who has attained childbearing age should consume 12 mg of Zinc per day. This amount of Zinc should be consumed via a balanced diet.

A lower dose in any phase will certainly lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes, impacting the maternal as well as foetal health. Higher dose will lead to Zinc toxicity which itself is full of risks for both the mother-to-be and the growing baby.

Can a pregnant woman take an international prenatal pill during pregnancy? 

One of the most important things to remember regarding international prenatal supplements is that Indian nutritional requirements differ from foreign countries. The amount of Zinc a pregnant woman needs in India remarkably differs from the UK and the US. The amount which the regulatory bodies of these countries have set are based on certain factors and have no match with Indian standards. Many of the international prenatal pills contain 15 mg of Zinc which differs from the amount set by ICMR.

Therefore, consuming any international pregnancy multivitamins won’t supplement the nutritional requirements of an Indian pregnant woman. These international pregnancy tablets are inadequate for Indian pregnant women. They may have to consume an extra pill to meet out the recommended amount of nutrition. Taking an extra pill during pregnancy not only impacts the GI (gastro-intestinal) system but also reduces the patience adherence.

Are there any side effects of Zinc supplementation?

Excess intake of Zinc (more than the recommended amount as per ICMR) can lead to several adverse health effects. Excess Zinc leads to toxicity which may result in impaired immune functions, appetite loss, abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, decreased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, etc. Absorption of Iron and Copper can be hindered due to chronic high ingestion of Zinc. Less or poor absorption of Iron can lead to anaemia. Zinc in excess quantity is also said to have adverse effects on the heart and can increase the chances of heart attacks and angina.

How can a pregnant woman increase Zinc intake through diet? 

Our body doesn’t have any specific storage system for Zinc. Thus, it is necessary to get Zinc from the diet on regular basis. This nutrient is present in numerous foods. You should source your Zinc intake from a well-balanced, healthy diet. However, it is a good idea to eat healthy, anyway. It is advised to consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you’d like more advice.

 

  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pine nuts/cashews/almonds
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Lentils/kidney beans (dried)

Additionally, you can boost your intake with these Zinc-rich snacks and meals:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cottage cheese on oatcakes
  • Roasted chickpeas and almonds
  • Porridge with a handful of walnuts
  • Wholegrain rice with spiced prawns

Which is the best Zinc supplement available for Indian pregnant women?

Before choosing any Zinc supplement available online or in the market, a pregnant woman must ensure if that pregnancy supplement meets out the Zinc requirements as per the RDA set by ICRM and WHO. Neither excess nor dearth of this micronutrient is good for the maternal as well as the growing baby’s health.

TrimacareTM by PlusPlus Lifesciences is India’s most advanced prenatal supplement which is designed and formulated by a team of doctors, pharmacologists, and nutritionists following the guidelines of WHO and ICMR. TrimacareTM comes in 3 different packs for each trimester, as the pregnancy needs are unique in each trimester, and it provides all the 20+ nutrients required by a pregnant woman and her child holistically and to supplement the needs perfectly.

All the three TrimacareTM products i.e., TrimacareTM 1 (pregnancy multivitamins for first trimester of pregnancy), TrimacareTM 2 (pregnancy multivitamins for second trimester of pregnancy) and TrimacareTM 3 (pregnancy multivitamins for third trimester of pregnancy) contain 12 mg of Zinc which is recommended by the leading gynaecologists of India. Zinc is available in the form of Zinc sulphate monohydrate and provides 100% Required Daily Allowances (RDA) of Zinc in case there continues to remain any gaps in the diet.

TrimacareTM is good for the mother and good for the baby. It can be introduced at any stage of pregnancy. It is a one stop solution which supplements all the micronutrient needs of pregnancy. Hence, there is no need to take multiple pills every day for different nutrients. It is made with natural, plant-based ingredients thus it is safe and chemical-free.

TrimacareTM is recommended by leading doctors of India. This pregnancy supplement is available both online (Amazon1mgFlipkart) and offline at your nearest chemist. Ask your doctor for TrimacareTM today!