Once you become pregnant, you begin to pay a lot more attention to your diet than ever before. Mom and baby need a broad range of nutrients for health and proper development. One important and often overlooked nutrient in the prenatal diet is zinc.
Zinc is important for every stage along the road to parenthood, including conception. Zinc is an essential nutrient for sperm production in the man and healthy and regular ovulation in the woman. Once pregnancy is achieved, zinc is important throughout the development of the baby for cell growth and for the immune system of mom and baby.
Zinc is important throughout pregnancy because this mineral plays an important role in cell growth and replication. Because the baby is experiencing rapid cell growth in all stages of pregnancy, this nutrient is important for the entire nine months.
The recommendation for zinc during pregnancy is between 12 and 15 milligrams, which is the amount contained in most prenatal vitamins. So, if you are taking a daily prenatal vitamin and eating a fairly balanced diet, zinc deficiency should not be a problem.
A deficiency of zinc in the diet can contribute to serious complications during the pregnancy. In early pregnancy, a deficiency of zinc can cause miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, a deficiency of zinc can contribute to toxemia and problems during labor. Fortunately, zinc deficiency is rare in the United States and most developed nations.
In addition to prenatal vitamins, you are likely getting zinc from food sources, if you have a balanced diet. Zinc is present in beef, lamb and crab meat. Non meat sources of zinc include canned pork and beans, nuts and fortified cereal.
When people learn of the many benefits of zinc and dangers of deficiency, there is the danger they will take too many supplements in an effort to gain the many benefits of zinc. This is a terrible idea because too much zinc is actually really bad for you. It can suppress the immune system and interfere with the absorption of other nutrients in high doses.
Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, particularly zinc. Chances are, the doctor will advise against it. Taking a prenatal vitamin and including food sources of zinc in the diet is plenty to ensure the health of your baby.