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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Iodine Deficiency Common in Pregnancy?

Iodine is a naturally occurring element that our body needs for our thyroid gland to work properly. Iodine can be found in foods, nutritional supplements, medications, and topical disinfectants. Women’s bodies need more iodine when they are pregnant.

Iodine & the Thyroid Gland:

Iodine plays a crucial role when it comes to metabolism and regulation of the thyroid gland. During pregnancy, iodine is an important nutrient needed for the development of baby’s growing brain and nervous system. Brain damage and other intellectual disabilities can be caused by iodine deficiency. Stillbirth, miscarriage and preterm delivery have also been linked to lack of iodine in pregnancy.

Iodine – Hormones for Regulation & Metabolism:

Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which are important for healthy metabolism, growth, and development. Iodine deficiency can cause thyroid hormone production to dip or dry up altogether. Mild iodine deficiency can also cause tiredness, weight gain, achy muscles, brittle nails and dry skin.

Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy

Iodine & Fetus Development:

Iodine is essential for building a healthy brain, skeleton, and metabolism. During the first 14-16 weeks of pregnancy, a fetus is entirely dependent on the mother for its supply of thyroid hormone. If she is deficient in iodine and thyroid hormone both during pregnancy and during pre-conception, the baby risks mental impairment. Severe iodine deficiency can lead to the extreme disability known as cretinism.

Iodine & Brain Development:

Pregnant mothers who were deficient in iodine were more likely to have children with learning difficulties. Not only was iodine deficiency found to be more common than thought – found in 62% of the mothers enlisted in the survey – but their eight-year-old children were more likely to have IQ scores in the bottom 25%.

The daily requirement of iodine male, nonpregnant women, for pregnancy and lactation are mentioned as under:

  • Adult female: The iodine requirement for adult female is 150- to 300 µg per day
  • Expectant women: They require a daily dose of 210-220 micrograms or mcg of iodine
  • Lactating or nursing mothers: They need around 290 micrograms of iodine per day

A maximum of 1100 mcg per day is considered safe. Though it is not required to consume the same amounts of iodine daily, yet the consumption should match the average over the course of months.