Can You Take Zinc While Pregnant?

Zinc Is Found in Prenatal Vitamins and Is Safe to Take When Pregnant

Getting the right kinds and amounts of vitamins and minerals is important in helping ensure the healthy development and growth of your unborn baby. When morning sickness and hormonal pickiness make it hard to maintain proper nutrition levels through conscious eating alone, prenatal vitamins can help. Zinc is not only considered safe for pregnant women to take, it’s one of the supplements commonly found in prenatal vitamins.

Why You Need Zinc

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Your body needs zinc to build new cells and DNA, which carries all of your genetic information. Zinc helps to structurally support the proteins that are the building blocks of new cells. This is especially crucial during the accelerated cell growth that occurs in a developing fetus. It supports your immune system and helps heal wounds. Zinc also helps your body produce insulin, which, in addition to eating a healthy diet, exercising and not exceeding your recommended weight gain, can help lessen your risk for gestational diabetes. If you are already at risk for gestational diabetes, consult your doctor as to the best way to help lessen your chances of developing it.

Zinc Supplements

Zinc comes in at least three forms: a supplement, an ingredient in prenatal vitamins and a nasal spray. When you are pregnant, it’s best to take prenatal vitamins rather than trying to maintain and balance each individual vitamin in its correct dosage. Pregnant women under 18 require 13 mg of zinc daily, while pregnant women over 18 need 11 mg. It’s not recommended that pregnant women take intranasal zinc because it can cause you to lose your sense of smell, permanently, in some cases. One of the first indications that food has gone bad is the way it smells. Foodborne illnesses pose a greater risk to pregnant women because of their compromised immune system, so it’s best to keep all of your senses alert. It's also a good idea to ask your health care professional for a list of foods ranked from safest to riskiest so that you can make informed choices.

Dietary Sources of Zinc

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Zinc occurs naturally in many foods that are part of a healthy, balanced diet. It can be found in beans, beef, fortified cereals, cooked oysters, dairy, eggs, nuts, oatmeal, pork, turkey, wheat germ and yogurt. Always make sure that beef, pork and oysters are cooked to a safe temperature and that any dairy you consume is fully pasteurized. Consult your doctor if you have any reaction to food that includes vomiting, diarrhea or hives.


Take your prenatal vitamins with food if you can because they can sometimes cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach.


Vitamin C also helps strengthen your immune system, but it is not recommended that pregnant women take more than 1,800 mg of vitamin C per day, as this amount is associated with instances of preterm birth. If you are taking prenatal vitamins, do not also take a vitamin C supplement.