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Pregnant Women Urged To Take Iodine


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Pregnant women in Australia and New Zealand should take iodine supplements to reduce the risk of their children being born intellectually impaired, a researcher says.

Creswell Eastman, of Sydney's Westmead Hospital, said urgent action was needed because of evidence showing significant and increasing iodine deficiency in pregnant and lactating women in both countries.

"Several studies have shown the re-emergence of mild to moderate iodine deficiency in school children, healthy adults and pregnant women in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and New Zealand," he wrote in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Journal.

Prof Eastman, of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, said iodine deficiency during pregnancy was the most common worldwide cause of preventable intellectual impairment and was also associated with an increase in the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

"If the growing foetus doesn't get enough thyroid hormone - thyroxine - particularly in the first half of pregnancy, then the brain will suffer some damage," he said in an interview.

"The IQ is lower, there may be learning difficulties, reading difficulties, hearing difficulties and various other motor difficulties which may occur.

"In general, these adverse effects on the central nervous system are irreversible and are compounded by continuing iodine deficiency during infancy."

Prof Eastman advised pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and anyone contemplating a pregnancy to take iodine supplements of between 100 and 200 micrograms a day.

"The only exception to this recommendation for iodine supplementation is women with pre-existing thyroid disease who should be individually managed to ensure normal thyroid function during pregnancy," he said.

The average adult requires about 150 micrograms of iodine a day but pregnant women need twice as much.

Interesting, I know with my last baby I took a special pregnancy mix.