Deficient maternal zinc intake-but not folate-is associated with lower fetal heart rate variability

Marisa N. Spann, Jennifer Smerling, Hanna Gustafsson, Sophie Foss, Margaret Altemus, Catherine Monk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Few studies of maternal prenatal diet and child development examine micronutrient status in relation to fetal assessment. Methods: Twenty-four-hour dietary recall of zinc and folate and 20. min of fetal heart rate were collected from 3rd trimester pregnant adolescents. Results: Deficient zinc was associated with less fetal heart rate variability. Deficient folate had no associations with HRV. Neither deficient zinc nor deficient folate was related to fetal heart rate. Conclusions: These findings, from naturalistic observation, are consistent with emerging data on prenatal zinc supplementation using a randomized control design. Practical Implication: Taken together, the findings suggest that maternal prenatal zinc intake is an important and novel factor for understanding child ANS development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-172
Number of pages4
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal heart rate variability
  • Folate
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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