Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Maternal leucocyte zinc deficiency at start of third trimester as a predictor of fetal growth retardation.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 25 April 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:1054

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. J L Wells,
  2. D K James,
  3. R Luxton,
  4. C A Pennock


    Leucocyte zinc concentrations were measured in 70 mothers at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy and compared with the weight centiles of their subsequently delivered babies. The median maternal leucocyte zinc concentrations rose progressively with weight centile. Thus the median leucocyte zinc concentration of the mothers delivering babies weighing below the 10th centile was 112 nmol/10(9) leucocytes and that of the mothers with babies weighing above the 90th centile was 229.5 nmol/10(9) leucocytes. A maternal leucocyte zinc concentration less than 120 nmol/10(9) leucocytes strongly predicted a baby weighing below the 10th centile (positive predictive value = 71.9%, negative predictive value = 91.5%, sensitivity = 64.3%, specificity = 81.8%). These findings suggest that maternal zinc concentration might have a role in antenatal screening, but larger studies are required.