For some women, pregnancy is simple and mostly enjoyable, but for others, it’s a constant struggle to maintain an even keel. Eating is difficult to balance, supplements need to be taken, and overall health is a little precarious. It can be a scary time. Unfortunately, scientists at the University of Granada have found that a low plasma level of copper and zinc could be associated with spontaneous miscarriage.

For the study, 265 pregnant women participated in the conducted tests. Out of these 265 women, 132 had experienced a spontaneous miscarriage during that year. The other 133 women in the study had evolutionary pregnancies and were selected among pregnant women who were attending a scheduled birth control appointment. All of the women went through an ultrasound examination, and had a blood sample for laboratory tests. In addition to this, all of the women who participated were asked to answer a questionnaire where 131 variables were assessed from each participant.

The research from the study showed that women who had experienced a miscarriage had differences in maternal plasma concentrations of copper and zinc. These finding suggests that maternal deficiency of zinc, copper, or both elements could be associated with the occurrence of spontaneous miscarriage.

However, other factors may also have influenced the miscarriage as well. UGR scientists found out that 64% of the pregnancies in the study that ended in abortion in the study were planned, although only 12% of patients had used the recommended supplements of iodine and folate before attempting pregnancy. Also, a third of the women who miscarried were regular smokers and 16.6% regularly consumed caffeine in quantities that exceeded the abortifacient and teratogenic threshold. Past research and studies so show that consumption of tobacco and caffeine in certain doses has been strongly tied with spontaneous miscarriage. 

Jesús Joaquín Hijona Elósegui, a researcher at the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Granada and lead researcher for the study said that, "despite the significant progress made in reproductive medicine, spontaneous abortion is still the most frequent complication during pregnancy. It is estimated to affect 15 percent of pregnant women, mainly during the first trimester. Although most of the time it is not recurring, there is a recurrence of two to five percent among women who have already suffered a miscarriage."

A healthy diet and moderate exercise is recommended by all doctors for women during pregnancy. However, before making any dietary decisions, check with your doctor so you can develop the right plan and nutritional needs to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.

Source: University of Granada (2011, September 28). Low zinc and copper levels might cause spontaneous abortion, study suggests. Science Daily.