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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-57

Anti-infective antioxidant minerals levels in uncomplicated pregnancy in some rural communities of South East Nigeria

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria
2 Department of Applied Biochemistry, Faculty of Biosciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
3 Department of Physiology/Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ogbodo Sylvester
Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-019X.105331

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Background: Pregnancy is characterized by generation of reactive species and reduction in immune functions of the woman, exposing her to oxidative stress and infections/infestations. In developing countries, pregnant women seldomly seek antenatal care early in their pregnancies, exposing them to pregnancy complications. Aim: The aim of this study is to measure the levels of anti-infective antioxidant minerals – selenium and zinc, in rural pregnant women who are on their first antenatal visits, to know their status before routine antenatal supplements are commenced. Materials and Methods: Serum selenium and zinc concentrations were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometer, in 181 apparently normal pregnant rural women aged between 18 and 40 years, who were on first antenatal visits. They were first grouped according to trimesters and later according to parity. Controls were 50 age-matched, non-pregnant women who were not in their menstrual periods at the time of the study. Results: Results showed that serum selenium and zinc in pregnant women were significantly lower (P < 0.001) than values obtained from non-pregnant women (controls). However, there was no significant difference between the values from the controls and first trimester in both elements (P = 0.964 and 0.974, respectively), but thereafter, the elements became significantly lower (P < 0.001) and remained so throughout gestation. Though both elements showed significantly lower value in each parity group when compared with the control (P < 0.001), selenium did not show significant difference (P = 0.066) between one parity group and another, while zinc showed significantly higher value (P < 0.001) in high multiparas over preceding parity group. Conclusion: Our results suggest that pregnant women in the rural areas are prone to oxidative stress and infections ever before they seek for antenatal care. Public health education should be organized regularly in these rural areas to highlight the dangers of late antenatal registration, while the need for consumption of local foods that contain these trace elements by pregnant women should be emphasized on antenatal days.

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