To evaluate the relationship between folate and zinc, and its effect on pregnancy outcome, maternal serum folate and zinc concentrations were determined at 18 and 30 wk gestation in a defined population of 285 pregnant women as part of a large-scale study to identify risk factors for fetal growth retardation (FGR). These results were correlated with birth weight and Apgar scores of newborn infants and with maternal infections during the perinatal period. A weak linear relationship was observed between maternal serum folate and zinc concentrations at 30 wk gestation. Folic acid supplementation had favorable effects on birth weight and Apgar scores of newborns, and reduced prevalence of FGR and maternal infections. No significant correlation was found between serum zinc concentration and birth weight of infants. The concept that folic acid supplementation has an adverse effect on maternal zinc nutriture and pregnancy outcome was not supported.