• mamasmaternalhealth

Zinc for Immunity From Pregnancy through Breastfeeding

Updated: Mar 24


Zinc is a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to immunity. Typically vitamin C takes a huge place in the spotlight and many forget how important zinc is and it's role to help keep you healthy!



Zinc is involved in cellular metabolism, specifically that of immune cell development. Without zinc, your immune cells wouldn't be there for you in the first place! It is also involved while activating enzymes that have a role in immune function, wound healing, DNA synthesis, cell division, as well as normal growth and development (hint-hint at you pregnant mamas!)


There is no storage place for zinc in the body, so you need a constant supply every day->>> make sure you are taking your prenatal even postpartum during breastfeeding!

Because of Zinc's major role, deficiencies cause major problems for both mom and baby during pregnancy and post partum.


These include increased risk for infection, slowed growth, loss of appetite, impaired immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy.


Okay, but what does that mean for you and your baby?


Avoid infections.


Newborns are at an increased risk for infections. Good News? breastfeeding protects them a TON!


How can you help? Make sure your baby is getting enough zinc via your milk to keep their immune systems strong! You also want to ensure enough zinc to promote growth both in the womb and after birth for your baby.


We could go on and on, but you get the point...



So how much zinc do YOU really need?


  • Females Normally- 8mg zinc

  • During Pregnancy- 11mg zinc

  • During Lactation- 12mg zinc


As you can see, zinc needs are a lot higher in pregnancy and even higher during breastfeeding. This is because you are supporting not only your baby's growth but your postpartum healing. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.


What are some good sources?


Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products are all great sources of zinc.


One 3oz serving of oysters is one of the best sources of zinc, it had almost 70mg of zinc. But we aren't going to tell you to go around eating oysters all day because they are typically eaten raw which is a no-go for pregnancy! Plus, 70mg is quite a bit over 600% of your daily needs, which just not necessary.


You can find a more reasonable serving through 3oz beef, which provides ~60% of your needs, or even 1oz of pumpkin seeds, which is 20%. Remember you don't have to get it all at once and again, there is no way to store zinc, so the excess will just be excreted out.



I hope this opened your eyes to the importance of zinc not only for immunity, but for you and your baby's health and wellness!


  1. Did you learn something new about zinc?

  2. What are some sources of zinc in your diet already?


Reply and send your answers to mamasmaternalhealth@gmail.com, we would love to hear from you!


Your health today is a LIFETIME of health for you AND your baby.

Until next time!

Coaches Cassie and Mikayla

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Reference:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

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New York, United States