Serum concentrations of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) were determined in 20 non-pregnant healthy menstruating women and in 20 pregnant women during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters and 5 weeks postpartum as a longitudinal study. Also a cross-sectional population of 106 women was studied. Further, Cu and Zn concentrations were measured in 13 pregnant women who gave birth to small-for-date (SFD) infants; this was done during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. The serum Cu concentration in nonpregnant women was 0.91 ± 0.19 mg/l. During pregnancy it was significantly higher (1.48 ± 0.31, 1.91 ± 0.25 and 2.20 ± 0.36 mg/l during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters, respectively) and 5 weeks postpartum it was still higher (1.09 ± 0.17 mg/l) than in the nonpregnant women. In the cross-sectional population, serum Cu and Zn values were of the same magnitude as in the longitudinal study. When longitudinal and cross-sectional values of serum Cu during the 3rd trimester were combined, the mean level (2.23 ± 0.40 mg/l) was significantly higher than that in the SFD group (2.06 ± 0.25 mg/l). Serum Zn in the SFD group (0.48 ± 0.12 mg/l) did not differ significantly from the normal pregnant values.

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