Zinc and Pregnancy

When we think about pregnancy and what vitamins are important, we tend to think about folate, iron and vitamin D. And although these are essential, one mineral that often isn’t mentioned to pregnant mums is Zinc


Googling Zinc will put you in the direction of the immune system but as it is necessary for many non-immune related functions including protein synthesis, cellular division and nucleic acid metabolism, making it essential in pregnancy where cells are constantly dividing and multiplying.

Low levels of zinc can negatively impact infant development and lead to poor birth outcomes by impacting the levels of many hormones required for the onset of labour. The two the main causes of premature birth are systemic and intra-uterine infections, both of which are negatively affected by low Zinc status. Zinc is also a vital component for immune regulation, and with the re-organsation of many cells in different places during pregnancy, ensuring that the immune system has the co-factors it requires to regulate where and when cells are changed is important for the health of the mum as well as the bub. Large population studies have showed a higher risk of low birth weight as a result of low zinc levels in the mother during pregnancy



So how much Zinc?

Guidelines currently suggest that pregnant woman require 9.6 mg zinc per day however worldwide, 80% of pregnant women do not consume enough zinc on a daily basis. Perhaps one of the reasons behind this is that pregnant women need to avoid cold/deli meats and soft cheeses, avoiding ham and turkey on sandwiches as well as pre-prepared meats such as sausages and roast chicken from the supermarket. So what are pregnancy friendly sources of Zinc for you and your little one?

Mum & Bub Friendly Sources of Zinc


Meat, Poultry & Fish


  • Ground beef, 75% lean (6.18mg/100 g)
  • Lamb shoulder (7.73mg/100 g
  • Turkey, chops dark meat (4.41mg/100 g)
  • Pork steaks (3.25mg/100 g)
  • Chicken, home cooked, dark meat (2.86mg/100 g)
  • Salmon, grilled (0.93mg/100 g)
  • Egg, hard boiled (0.53mg/each)

Beans & Legumes

  • White/Butter beans (2.93mg/cup)
  • Chickpeas (2.54mg/cup)
  • Lentils (2.51mg/cup)
  • Soybeans (1.98mg/cup)
  • Split peas (1.96mg/cup)
  • Black beans (1.93mg/cup)
  • Kidney beans (1.89mg/cup)
  • Navy beans (1.87mg/cup)
  • Lima beans (1.79mg/cup)
  • Pinto beans (1.68mg/cup)
  • Mung beans, raw sprouts (0.43mg/cup)
  • Alfalfa seeds, raw sprouts (0.30mg/cup)


Nuts & Seeds

  • Sesame seeds (2.80mg/2 tbsp)
  • Pumpkin seeds (2.57mg/2 tbsp)
  • Pine nuts (1.83mg/2 tbsp)
  • Pecans (1.28mg/20 halves)
  • Brazil nuts (1.15mg/8 nuts)
  • Peanuts, dry roasted (0.94mg/28 nuts)
  • Walnuts (0.88mg/14 halves)
  • Almonds (0.87mg/24 nuts)
  • Sunflower seeds (0.85/2 tbsp)
  • Hazelnuts (0.69mg/20 nuts)


  • Shiitake mushrooms, cooked (1.93mg/cup)
  • Green peas, boiled (1.90mg/cup)
  • Spinach, boiled (1.37mg/cup)
  • Cabbage, boiled (0.80mg/cup)
  • Asparagus, boiled (0.76mg/cup)
  • Okra, boiled (0.69mg/cup)
  • Broccoli, steamed (0.62mg/cup)
  • Beetroot, boiled (0.60mg/cup)
  • Silverbeet, boiled (0.58mg/cup)
  • Pumpkin, boiled (0.56mg/cup)
  • Brussel sprouts, boiled (0.51mg/cup)



  • Rice, wild (2.20mg/cup)
  • Rice, brown (1.23mg/cup)
  • Oat bran (1.16mg/cup) avoid if gluten sensitive
  • Buckwheat groats (1.02mg/cup)
  • Rice, white (0.77mg/cup)
  • Couscous (0.41mg/cup) avoid if gluten sensitive


  • Blackberries (0.76mg/cup)
  • Raspberries (0.52mg/cup)
  • Dates (0.52mg/cup)
  • Coconut (0.50mg/0.5 cup)
  • Raisins (0.32mg/cup)
  • Peach (0.29mg/cup)
  • Cantaloupe (0.29mg/cup)
  • Strawberries (0.23mg/cup)
  • Blueberries (0.23mg/cup)
  • Nectarines (0.23mg/cup)
  • Banana (0.23mg/cup)
  • Pineapple (0.19mg/cup)

For a custom nutritional plan that covers your particular taste and needs, visit Carly, the Naturopath Melbourne CBD.