Deficient maternal zinc intake-but not folate-is associated with lower fetal heart rate variability.
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 20min 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.