This prospective study sought to investigate serum levels of trace elements (cobalt, copper, zinc, and selenium) and to assess their effects on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. Serum levels of trace elements in 245 Korean pregnant women (median gestational age at delivery was 39 + 4 weeks and interquartile range was 38 + 4–40 + 1 weeks) were compared with those of 527 general adults and those of previous studies in other ethnic groups. Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, neonatal birth weight, and congenital abnormalities were assessed. The median serum trace element concentrations of all pregnant women were: cobalt: 0.39 μg/L (interquartile range, IQR 0.29–0.53), copper: 165.0 μg/dL (IQR 144.0–187.0), zinc: 57.0 μg/dL (IQR 50.0–64.0), and selenium: 94.0 μg/L (IQR 87.0–101.0). Serum cobalt and copper concentrations were higher in pregnant women than in the general population, whereas zinc and selenium levels were lower (p
< 0.01). Concentrations of all four trace elements varied significantly during the three trimesters (p
< 0.05), and seasonal variation was found in copper, zinc, and selenium, but was not observed for cobalt. The prevalence of preeclampsia was significantly lower with high copper (p
= 0.03). Trace element levels varied by pregnancy trimester and season, and alteration in copper status during pregnancy might influence pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited