The importance of iodine in pregnancy

According to the most recent research, pregnant women who are deficient in iodine are more likely to give birth to children with lower IQs and reading abilities. Iodine is necessary for optimal thyroid function. It is an essential element in the production of thyroid hormones, which are needed for normal brain growth and development in the foetus. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with increased incidence of miscarriage, stillbirth, and may cause neuro-developmental problems. In extreme cases of iodine deficiency, the congenital condition cretinism can occur, which results in irreversible learning disability.

“The iodine content of most foods depends on the iodine content of the soil,” said Lara Monaghan (MSc ) from the College of Naturopathic Medicine. “As such, no standard measurements of iodine in foods exist because iodine concentrations vary worldwide. The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers need 250 and 290 micrograms of iodine per day respectively. Dietary sources of iodine include dairy such as yoghurt, meat, in particular turkey, fish to include cod and haddock, and eggs. Himalayan salt is also an excellent source of naturally-occurring iodine, and should be substituted for regular table salt which although iodine enriched is chemically processed. Given the importance of sufficient iodine during foetal development and infancy, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consider taking it as a supplement that provides 150 micrograms per day. However a rich source of iodine it is not advisable to supplement with is seaweed, as they contain too much iodine.”

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