Background: Pregnancy is a uniquely critical and sensitive period in a woman's life. The pregnancy conditions are determinants in the successful growth of the fetus and baby. Zinc is important in fetal bone growth (ossification) because zinc deficiency in pregnancy can interfere with fetal bone formation. Being short (stunted) at birth is associated with a high risk of shortness in childhood and adulthood. Several ultrasound parameters can assess the intrauterine growth and development of the fetus, one of which is the length of the femur: the measurement of the length of the femur can detect intrauterine stunting early. The objective of this study was to investigate the average length of fetal femurs in pregnant women given zinc tablets and assess differences in the percentile changes in fetal femoral length between pregnant women given zinc tablets and those not given zinc tablets.
Methods: This prospective design observational analytic study was conducted at Universitas Sumatera Utara Hospital and other hospitals from June to November 2019. Eligible subjects were pregnant women who met the inclusion criteria and were collected with consecutive sampling techniques.
Results: Fetal femur length was examined using ultrasonography on 31 subjects given zinc tablets and 31 who were not. The average fetal femur length prior to treatment was 61.97 mm (SD=8.13 mm) and 58.84 mm (SD=9.37 mm), respectively. There was no significant difference in the mean length of fetal femurs (p=0,110) prior to treatment. Fetal femur length increase in subjects given zinc tablets was 27.74 mm (SD=5.32 mm), whereas in subjects not given zinc tablets was 23.08 mm (SD=2.81 mm).
Conclusion: There were significant fetal femoral length percentile changes in pregnant women given zinc tablets.